Here at Ambush, the Official Southern Decadence Guide, and at, the Official Southern Decadence Website, we join enthusiastically in support each year of the choice or choices of grand marshal or marshals. The tradition of the previous year’s grand marshal(s) choosing their successor(s) is now in its third decade, and is the right of every Southern Decadence Grand Marshal(s).

2017 will be the 46th anniversary of Southern Decadence. This will actually be the 43rd year with a grand marshal [the grand marshal selection did not begin until the third year] and will be led by Southern Decadence Grand Marshal(s) 43 [the two in 1978 were counted as grand marshals 5 & 6, the two in 2005 reigned for two years, as well as the two in 2008 due to the cancellation of the 2005 and 2008 parades due to hurricanes].

However, this is actually the 43rd parade [there was no parade the first year or in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina, or in 2008 due to Hurricane Gustav]. (There is no fee or registration form to enter the parade. All walkers are welcome. Just join the parade following the grand marshals.)

It all began in 1972 with a mixed going away party for Michael Evers (photo below right) consisting of gays, straights, blacks and whites, at Belle Reve, 2110 Barracks St. There was no parade. [The first invitation on the left reads: “Ya’ll Come to the Dress Up As Your Favorite Southern Decadent Party at Belle Reve, 2110 Barracks, late afternoon, Sunday, September 3rd.” (1972)]

According to Southern Decadence historian and SDGM IV Robert Laurent, “Cheers to Southern Decadence! What began in 1972 as an end-of-summer party among a small group of friends has transformed itself into a Quarter-wide weekend celebration. The first costume party was a farewell to Michael Evers [right], who was leaving New Orleans. Now, 41 years later, his spirit, wit and sense of frivolity continue, transformed into a celebration of Laissez les bon temps rouler.”

In 1973, an informal march began from Matassa’s bar to 2110 Barracks.
There was no grand marshal yet.
The grand marshal selection began in 1974. Grand Marshals include:

SDGM I Frederick Wright 1974 [deceased]

SDGM II Jerome Williams 1975 [deceased]

SDGM III Preston Hemmings 1976

SDGM IV Robert Laurent 1977

SDGM V Robert King [deceased] and SDGM VI Kathleen Kavanaugh 1978

SDGM VII Bruce Harris 1979

SDGM VIII Tom Tippin 1980

SDGM IX Tommy Stephan 1981

SDGM X Don Ezell 1982 [deceased]

SDGM XI Danny Wilson 1983 [deceased]

SDGM XII Mumbo 1984

SDGM XIII Michael “Fish” Hickerson 1985

SDGM XIV Kathleen Conlon 1986

SDGM XV Olive 1987
THEME: Southern Decadence

SDGM XVI Jerome Lebo 1988 [deceased]

SDGM XVII George Goode 1989 [deceased]

SDGM XVIII Ruby 1990 [deceased]
THEME: Circus Came To Town

SDGM XIX Jamie Temple 1991
THEME: Shirley Temple Black Leather
COLOR: Black

SDGM XX Rhee 1992 [deceased]
THEME: Casino CasiNOT
COLOR: White

SDGM XXI Ms. Fly 1993 [deceased]
THEME: Drag-ON-Fly
COLOR: Yellow
Southern Decadence Guide: AMBUSH Mag 2000

SDGM XXII Alain 1994 [deceased]
THEME: Voodoo That You Do
COLOR: White & Gold
Southern Decadence Guide: AMBUSH Mag 2000

SDGM XXIII Blanche 1995 [deceased]
THEME: The Cocktail Tour

SDGM XXIV Wayne White 1996

THEME: Tour of da’NILE
COLORS: Royal Blue & Gold
REVELERS: Over 35,000

SDGM XXV Miss Love 1997

THEME: The Love Tour: A Wedding To Remember
COLORS: Silver, White & Teal
REVELERS: Over 50,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $25 Million

SDGM XXVI Robin Malta 1998 [deceased]

THEME: Deliriously Decadent Divas: A Salute To Sitcom Reruns
COLOR: Color TV Optional
REVELERS: Over 60,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $30 Million

SDGM XXVII Errol Rizzuto 1999

THEME: Dark Lady Tour: Dissidents of Decadence
COLOR: Silver & Black
REVELERS: 70,000

SDGMs XXVIII Tony Langlinais & Thom “Smurf” Murphy [deceased] 2000

THEME: Taboo X 2: The Forbidden Pleasures Tour
COLORS: Red, Silver & Black
SONG: Man I Feel Like A Woman
REVELERS: 91,000

SDGMs XXIX Bianca Del Rio, Pat “Estelle” Ritter  [deceased] & Rick Thomas, 2001

THEME: “Menage a trois”
COLORS: Purple, Pink & Red
SONG: Lady Marmalade
REVELERS: 100,000

SDGM XXX “Irish” Mike Sheehan, 2002

THEME: “Fairy Tails”
COLORS: Any & All
SONG: Remix of “Over the Rainbow” into “Never Ending Story”
REVELERS: 110,000

SDGM XXXI Rusty LaRoux, 2003

THEME: “Carnaval Decadence”
COLORS: Vibrant Colors of the Rainbow
SONG: La Vida est Un carnaval by the late Queen of Salsa ~ Celia Cruz
REVELERS: 121,000

SDGM XXXII Donald “Donnie ‘Jager’ Jay” James, 2004 [deceased]

COLORS: Electric Blue, Silver & Black
SONG: Welcome To My Harem by Sara Brightman · Dance Mix
REVELERS: 125,000ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $100 Million

SDGM XXXIII Lisa Beaumann & Regina Adams, 2005

THEME: Jazz & Jezebels
COLORS: Red & Purple
SONG:All That Southern Decadence 2005
CANCELLED: Due to Hurricane Katrina

SDGM XXXIII Lisa Beaumann & Regina Adams, 2006

THEME: Southern Decadence 2006: Rebirth
COLORS: Green & Pink
SONG: I Just Want To F**king Dance
REVELERS: 75,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $60 Million

SDGMs XXXIV: Guadalupe (Mark Thomas III), Marcus Martinez & Electra City, 2007

THEME: Ancient Truth’s Lies & SACRAFICE
COLORS: Crimson, Teal & Gold
SONG: Beautiful Liar by Beyonce & Shakira
REVELERS: 100,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $125 Million

SDGMs XXXV: Tittie Toulouse & Paloma, 2008

THEME: Decadence Does Disco
COLORS: Silver, Black & White
SONG: Bad Girls in September
CANCELLED: Due to Hurricane Gustav

SDGMs XXXV: Tittie Toulouse & Paloma, 2009

THEME: Hurricane: This Year, They BLOW Back!
COLORS: Black, Silver & Red
SONG: Stormy Weather by Viola Wills, DJ Jayskee Remix
REVELERS: Over 100,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $150 Million

SDGMs XXXVI: Julien Artressia & Toby Lefort, 2010

THEME: Leather & Feathers
COLORS: Powder Blue, Black & Purple
SONG: Tu Es Foutu” You Promised Me! by InGrid, English/French version
REVELERS: 125,000-135,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over 160 Million

SDGMs XXXVII: Misael Rubio & Tiffany Alexander, 2011
THEME: Viva New Orleans: What Happens In New Orleans Stays in New Orleans
COLORS: Fuchia Pink, Silver & Black
SONG: Fireworks by Katy Perry
REVELERS: Over 80,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $96 Million

SDGM XXXVIII: Pat McArdle, 2012
THEME: Peace, Love & Hope = Monkey Dance
COLORS: White, Purple & Silver
SONG: Starships by Nicki Minaj
CHARITY: Belle Reve
REVELERS: 25-30,000 due to Hurricane Issac
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $30 Million

SDGMs XXXIX: Tami Tarmac & Venus Santiago, 2013
THEME: Live, Laugh & Love
COLORS: Fuschia Pink, Tangerine Orange & Gold
SONG: Feel The Moment
CHARITY: Belle Reve
REVELERS: Over 150,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $180 Million

SDGMs XL: Chad Boutte, Reba Douglas & Aubrey Synclaire, 2014
THEME: Under The Big Top: Welcome to the Gayest Show on Earth
COLORS: Canary Yellow, Turquoise Blue & Pearl White
SONG:  “Work: Bitch” by Britney Spears
REVELERS: 160,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $192 Million

SDGMs XLI: Steven Mora, Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain, Misti Ates and Frankie Fierce
THEME: Swimmin’ with the Gods and Goddesses
COLORS:  Lavender, Lime Green & Silver Lame
SONG:  “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, DJ JRB’s Southern Decadence Pumped Remix
CHARITY: LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana, Louisiana Equality Foundation, PFLAG New Orleans (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Scholarship Fund receiving $39,347.49
REVELERS: 180,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $216 Million

SDGMs XLII: Tony Leggio, Felicia Phillips, Derek Penton-Robicheaux & Jeffrey Palmquist
THEME: Decadence Takes The World
COLORS:  Amethyst (purple), Ruby (red), Sapphire (blue) & Pearl (white)
SONG: Ariana Grande’s “Break Free”,  a creative mix by DJ of the Year JRB
CHARITIES: New Orleans Advocates for GLBT Elders (NOAGE) & Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) receiving $27,345.23
REVELERS: 216,000
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Over $259 Million

SDGMs XLIII: Persana Shoulders, Princesse Stephaney & Coca J Mesa
THEME: ???
COLORS:  ???
SONG: ???