Updated: May 17
Everyone has "their" very own version of their personal Chris Owens' "her-story" Some are pretty colorful. Some claim she's a trans woman, some that she is a former stripper/b-drinker and some that "she married her husband Sol, who was older, and that he took care of her." I think Sol Owens was the love of her life, and together, they blew a fuse off the lights when they entered a room together. The lady will go down in history as the performer with the longest-running career on Bourbon Street and probably one of the longest/most successful businesswomen or even men on Bourbon Street.
Every year for Halloween, Chris throws a show and a party in the club and her home the Saturday night before or if the Saturday falls on Halloween. The "Chris groupies" who attend are colorful characters in their own right. This year with Covid, she didn't get to have her show but threw a party last Sunday night instead. My dream is to be one of the crowd invited to her private parties at her home, which is adjacent to her club below her three-floor apartment building that takes up most of the corner of St. Louis and Bourbon Street next to Antoine's.
When I first moved to New Orleans and started doing drag, I wanted to learn how to do makeup. A class was given on Oak Street at the Academy of Scientific Hair Design and Makeup, provided by skincare legend Letti Lynn. Letti has a mesmerizing personality and was an intriguing teacher who taught theatrical makeup, traditional makeup, and esthetics. She had a personalized autograph from Liza Minnelli that hung on the wall in her classroom from meeting her. Letti Lynn has the most flawless skin of any woman I've ever met.
Chris' house has all her memorabilia as the entertainer, with photographs of some people she has met. There are photos of her and Elizabeth Taylor and other legends of the showbiz world-most have already gone, but Chris, like Cher, has outlived them all.
Her house is decorated in the mid-70s 80's chic. A vinyl upholstered bar with matching stools with a lighted-up glass liquor shelf behind it is the first thing you walk up to from the photograph museum hallway; two oversized chaise lounge chairs face a big flats screen tv and a white baby grand in the corner. The adjacent formal dining room has a lovely chandelier above the table with bookshelves with more photos. The kitchen set off from the dining room is gorgeous with white cabinets and a refrigerator that looks like it's from the set of That 70's Show. It has a white bar with white barstools and a traditional wallpaper mural of a classic Venetian scene. The private courtyard from the kitchen has a beautiful flower garden box with mood lighting.
One of the most disappointing things in my photographic life is that I haven't been given a chance to have a sit-down interview or a private photo shoot with the legend Chris Owens. Chris's story should be told in her own words. Even though I have been turned down, I still dream of taking her portrait before the white baby grand piano. One thing is for sure some stories will be taken to her eternity because she knows where all the bodies are buried.
I will forever be grateful to Lesa and Patrick for making my dream come true.