Saturday was a day of drag with the Festigals and Gay Pride parades . Ladies first. Last year, Festigals’ Stiletto Stroll was my first ever parade as a Pussyfooter. It’s a sassy woman-centric second line through the French Quarter during the Festigals’ weekend getaway of yoga, empowerment and success panels, shopping, cooking demonstrations and networking events. This year, they added a new fundraiser, the Stiletto Sprint, benefitting the Breast Center at Ochsner Baptist. It’s a 2 block race on Royal Street in minimum 3″ heels – costumes encouraged. The supremely leggy Tammy McCormick Broussard won the race, passing superwoman and other superheroes in her sky-high red heels.
Walking to the parade’s start at the Hotel Monteleone, I realized this was my first time doing anything for the second time with the Pussyfooters. It was all so new last year – I remember being a little freaked out by not knowing anyone’s names, not recognizing anyone in their wigs and makeup, not having a uniform yet and not knowing what to expect. Being eye-to eye with the crowds was jarring as well. But it was the first step down a pink-glittered path through Mardi Gras and to my wedding last month where about 25 Pussyfooters showed up to celebrate. I’m so glad I said yes to this adventure.
The parade rolled down Canal Street this year before heading to Bourbon. The beaded women of Persephone’s Dragonflies and the Prima Donnas, Guardians of Haute Couture, sashayed between dance troupes like the Cherry Bombs, Organ Grinders, Disco Amigos, Oui Dats and The Chorus Girls Project. DancingMan504 managed to surround himself with beautiful women and there were even pirates with the New Orleans Krewe of Pirate Wenches. Pin Stripe Brass Band and Big Easy Brass Band provided music.
Then it was time for the Gay Pride parade. There were floats and beads and costumes, but the thing I didn’t expect were the churches – I counted 7! My church taught me to judge not, to love one another and the “golden rule” of loving my brother as myself. I was delighted to see so many churches throwing their doors open to people who want to worship, no matter their orientation. I believe that equality has no meaning as a word or a concept if it’s not for everyone. Though, I will admit it was funny seeing the men of Mystic Krewe Lords of Leather followed by members of the Metropolitan Community Church of New Orleans, “Forty Years of Faith, hope & love!” and Unity of Metairie, “A loving, fun, inclusive spiritual family.”
Other churches included New Covenant NOLA “The spirit of God is spilled out on ALL people,” The Reconciling Ministries Network of Louisiana United Methodist Churches, “Open hearts, open minds, open doors,” Saint Anna’s Church “God is love. Love yourself,” Touro Synagogue, “A Community that Cares” and First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans “A Welcoming Congregation.” The folks from Dannon also delivered armloads of Oikos yogurt to all of us parade-goers.
Highlights included the darling divas of Lucky Pierre’s, Sandy Anderson as Dolly Parton and a couple holding a sign that read, “Proud of our Grandma!” With so many festivities, it’s hard to believe this is the “off season.”