QUICK LINK to the first BuddyD gallery. Explanation below and more to come.
Last weekend, during the run-up to the Saints’ first appearance in the Superbowl, a long-standing wager was settled in a uniquely New Orleans way.
The wager involved a couple thousand die-hard male Saints fans dressing up in outrageous drag, gathering at the Superdome, and dancing down the street to celebrate their team and a beloved sportscaster.
Buddy Diliberto (known locally as “Buddy D”) was a local newsman and Saints fan who suffered the indignities of losing season after losing season — and vowed to do two things if the team ever made it to the Superbowl — put on a dress and dance through the streets.
Word spread around town that on the Sunday before the Superbowl, a buncha guys would meet at the SuperDome and make good on the promise (though Buddy died in 2005).
Now, as far as humor goes, drag has never really appealed to me. Think of every “guys in dresses” flick that’s ever been made — and the jokes always go back to a pretty lame premise: “They’re Guys! IN DRESSES!” Put a guy in female garb, and the rest writes itself — largely because there’s not that much to write.
I’ve been photographing a lot of second line parades as of late and decided to zip down to the Dome on that fateful Sunday. I’d see a couple hundred “queens for a day” flouncing about, get a few portraits, and be home within the hour. Initially, I thought about resisting (“They’re GUYS! In DRESSES! Get it?”) but decided to head over and treat it as documentary work — this is something that’s never happened before. Might as well go have a look-see.
When I arrived at the Dome, I was flat out amazed.
THOUSANDS of newly-minted NFL Trannies were milling around the base of the stadium. There was a wee bit of drinking (sure) but mostly the attendant shemales were high on their team, their city and their own personal sports history. THOUSANDS.
Of course, there were plenty of guys who looked like they’ve been waiting their whole life to put on a dress and prance down Poydras Street in broad daylight. There were also plenty who adapted their usual ensemble to the sanctioned “black and gold” color scheme. After all — get the little black dress, accessorize a bit on the gaudy side, and BOOM– Bob’s your uncle and/or aunt.
I spent the better part of the day down there, snapping shots of the season’s end insanity thinking how joyous the whole thing was. Also, I thought of the children — kids of fans who braved the chaos to watch daddy put on his stockings — and how they might consider this “normal” as thy grow. (ADVICE: Judging from the expressions on the wee ones’ faces, you fellas might want to sock a few bucks away for pediatric therapy down the line. You know, just to be safe…)
I’m posting the first gallery today (a few hours before the SuperBowl) and will keep them coming in the aftermath of the game and New Orleans’ inevitable celebration.
To all my friends who watch the OTHER football — i never understood your collective World Cup excitement until now. And it only took a couple thousand ugly/beautiful drag queens to show me the light.
WHO DAT, GODDAMMIT!!!