Hallelujah, Thanks Mayor Holden

Well, last night was the Krewe of Apollo’s Bal Masque XXX, and oh what a gala it was! And while most people were having fun in a sort of oblivious way, as is normal at such events, I was investigating other things. I’ll get to the mayor in a minute, for he did something grand last night – he spoke to us.

Anyway, I asked a young man, Harvey he said his name was, who was a waiter, bringing ice and glasses and other things to our table, if he knew it was a gay event before he worked it.

“Yes, they told us.”


“Our bosses.”

“And so…?”
“Well, they let us know it was a gay event and that if someone couldn’t handle that, no problem, they just wouldn’t work that night.”

“And so you decided to work?”



“The money is too good.”

Yes, I bet it it. I’d say a good $250,000 or more was spent by the Krewe. I don’t know, of course, and I don’t care. And some of that was in tips to the nice young man, who also joked that more than a few gentlemen thought he was just a fine fellow, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink.

Another interesting thing was that the police presence was typical for such events, one or two officers lounging around just in case something happened, or an ambulance was needed, and to handle some parking issues or such. Yes, as is often said about the dangerous of gay men — it was so brutally dangerous, this concoction of a few thousand of us, that all of two or three officers were required to quell the crowd from whatever it might do. Ahem.

And then there’s the corporate sponsors – oh, my, the biggest Chevy dealer in town. No, not because it’s GM and government owned or something. But, as the personal message from the owners of the dealership said: “We love our Apollo Boyfriends!” And I bet they do. And there were fine pictures of Cadillacs and Chevy’s just waiting to be purchased. Though Walmart also had a supporting role, with their logo delicately placed at the bottom center of the back cover of the four-color glossy program, which was published “by courtesy of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana as a community service.” Much thanks is to be given to Blue for including us in the community, which is right where we are indeed.

And Dow Federal Credit Union – and Dow is big here in town, what with one of their largest chemical-refinery thingies or whatever they make down the bayou, employing thousands. And the ad used the picture of a football champion, presumably a Saint, I don’t know. But he’s a saint for allowing his picture to be used, and perhaps they asked him like they asked young Harvey if it was OK, which also I don’t know. But there he was, all smiles and letting us know that gay money might be guarded as well as straight money. Or is it just American money? I don’t know, for when I hear we’re against the nation or something … well, what am I to think?

Our Lady of the Lake, OLOL as we refer to it here, also was a sponsor of some note – for they’re the Catholic hospital in town. Though you don’t have to be Catholic, obviously, to use it, it is still, a religious based organization. And oddly, the Catholic Church is wonderful when it comes to gay men and health, and then, well, then there’s the other message given out from the pulpit. So the two clash; I hope they figure it out one day. I truly do. It’d be nice to hear the Pope say something nice about us once in a while. At least he’s up to “Well, they’re people, too, maybe…”

There were plenty of smaller local companies, and yes, even a funeral parlor. But not because we’re dying at the age of 41, as the Iowa Family group, and FRC, and the whole panoply of the NO GAYS movement would have it. No, just because, well, we die too, at divers ages for divers reasons. We’re not exempt from being called home at any moment. Which is why the Metropolitan Community Church took an ad too. Though I wish that organization, nationwide as it is, would begin to point out publicly and vocally that gay men and women and our church are denied basic religious liberty through the denial of the recognition of our unions by the state on behalf of other religious organizations who don’t like the way we worship God and how we believe, nay, Know, that God is on our side.

Then, when I was waltzing around greeting this guy or that guy that I knew, or wanted to know, I noticed that the vast majority of attendees were over 41. Many like I, well over 41, well over 50, and over 60 and into their 70s and low 80s my heavens. For it’s an expensive thing, this Mardi Gras ball stuff. The tickets themselves are $75, if one must pay. Then there’s the food, the booze, the tux, the what-have-you required for a gala event. And I guess, with Obama’s economy a lot of gay youth don’t have the bucks, and many of them might even have been working their regular jobs.

Still, Governor Jindal, who did not attend, because perhaps he was busy reading the misinformation package provided to him when he signed on to the FRC letter for NO GAYS, to “protect the family” from it’s own gay members, came across the “41 year life expectancy” promulgated with great sincerity, he either believed it, or said balderdash. Had he come to the gala event, where he would have been most welcomed, 10 blocks from his office he might well have seen the lie and canard exposed as the mush it is. Or did he believe it because those fine folks seeking to rid the nation of gay folks just say so? I don’t know.

And then there was the mayor. Oh Mayor Holden! He did something I have never heard before. He was an actual politician who spoke to us. Not just sit at his table and watch. Not just come in to be seen and leave. Not just appearing as some politicians do at a gay pride march, where they never say anything. I met the mayor of Phoenix once at the gay pride festival there. Just happened upon him and said hello, and shook his hand, and said, “You know, sir, we’re not all that bad, as you can see.” And he had to agree for he saw a fine festival with nary anything weirder than a kissing booth with a fine young man, instead of the buxom babes set up at other festivals. Still, that mayor did not speak to us as mayor to citizens. He only spoke to one or two of us as he couldn’t avoid it, I guess.

But Mayor Holden put on a Mardi Gras themed costume, and got up on the stage, and took the microphone and said, to all of us — more or less, “You guys are part of this city too.” And he went on for about four or five minutes, and said “You are fine people. And do good things. And you’re going to remain a vibrant part of this community of which you are part.” And that folks is not something you hear American mayors say too often. And he was not listed on the program, so somehow I think it was all of a moment’s notice and his remarks extemporaneous to some degree. He just got up and did it. Wow.

And it struck me then, that with all those sponsors, and all those people, and the mayor himself, that there’s no way that Bobby Jindal is going to get his Christmas gift of a Louisiana with no gay people. Yet, there he is, a signatory of a NO GAYS letter. Oh, it makes no difference what the sly words are that the Family Research Council uses for their public letter. At www.goodasyou.org you can see daily the mush and bile and NO GAYS spilled from the inner bowels of the NO GAYS movement that my own governor seems to agree with. It’s like peeling back an onion. A rotten one at that; though still makes one cry. Sure, on the outside, it all seems so innocuous. You know, research the family, and preserve it. But that’s not their goal. Their goal is NO GAYS. None, zip, nada, never again, not one, stop ’em in their tracks and achieve NO GAYS for the glory and for God. That’s their goal.

And Governor Jindal, otherwise a smart man, still hasn’t seen, perhaps, the true intent of the Family Research Council, the Iowa Family Coalition, the American for Values groups, oh, so many names, so many groups, like the oddly named NO ON Marriage – oh that’s right, it’s the National Organization for Marriage – which they will bring about by working to, well, ban marriage, or any recognition of any kind by any name at any time for a tiny percentage of the population that they so despise they’re willing to just make up mush and spread misinformation in the vain hope that their true policy prescription will work. Good luck folks!

Later, after the mayor spoke to us all, and I happened upon him strolling through the crowd, and I said to him — “Thank you Mr. Mayor, I know you’re on our side somehow.” And he looked at me odd, for I don’t think he realized what major import he just had.

And I went home feeling a lot better, that all will be well with the world. And my friend the executive director of HAART who invited the mayor called me up at 1 AM to ask me what I thought of the surprise the mayor gave us all. And I marveled, as did the director, who had no clue, he said, that the mayor would do anymore than just sit there and observe. Apparently the mayor did it on his own, for good people, as we are. And thus I think we might do better Rights for Gays wise to get all the mayors as our friends, and thus when some crazed national or federal politician goes anti-gay on us, or even a governor or two, then the mayors can say “Whoa, not going to happen in my city.”

Which is a fine thought for a Sunday. And Hallelujah and Amen to that!


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