As part of a new collaboration with The Historic New Orleans Collection, WWNO brings you NOLA Life Stories: an oral history project documenting the people, places and things that shape New Orleans. This week historian Mark Cave interviews Chris Owens, a Bourbon Street entertainer and nightclub owner.
When you could still go to Havana without any red tape, Chris Owens would visit Cuba to listen to mambo and learn cha-cha. Throughout the 1960s & 70s, Owens used her “natural rhythm” to become one of the French Quarter’s most famous performers, which connected her to the city’s “crème de la crème.”
Then, in the early 80s, this native Texan became the Grand Duchess of an Easter Sunday parade originally started by Sheriff Harry Lee. It’s now become an annual French Quarter custom, and perhaps more importantly to Owens, a place for families to gather.