"got to be real"

Grand Marshals XVII
Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain
October 5 & 6, 1996


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from the Pride Fest '96 Program

Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain met and began their life together some 22 years ago on August 17, 1974 in Baton Rouge. They were heavily involved in the gay beauty pageant business and Louisiana Imperial Court system for many years.

The couple began entertaining with several parties each year, the two largest being the Magnolia Cotillion celebrating their anniversary and their annual Christmas bash. These events brought diverse segments of the community together establishing a strong bond for the lesbian and gay community, which at that particular time in history was very closeted.

Their first publication was the Zipper which lasted about one year. It was followed by The Alternative which became the first Louisiana lesbian/gay publication reaching and covering all major cities except New Orleans for some 5 years.

During this period, Rip and Marsha joined others in the Baton Rouge area organizing BRAGPAC {Baton Rouge Area Gay Political Action Caucus}, a chapter of LAGPAC {Louisiana Lesbian & Gay Political Action Caucus}. Rip was also elected as a representative to the State Board of LAGPAC. Grand Marshals

In 1982, the couple began AMbush Magazine, with the hopes of developing a publication with statewide outreach appeal in glossy magazine format. The first three years Rip and Marsha ran this statewide venture from their home in Baton Rouge at somewhat of a financial loss.

Seeking expansion, the couple moved their business operation and home to New Orleans in 1985. AMbush was transformed to newsprint/tabloid form, making the business venture financially stable for the first time. The couple had also moved to the Crescent City to accept a job offer at Petunias with Rip as manager/waiter and Marsha as a cook. Between the restaurant and the paper, Rip and Marsha managed to earn a comfortable living affording them the chance to make the move to 828 Bourbon Street so that they might entertain. Parties and friends have always been the highlight of their lives.

In 1988, Rip and Marsha established the AMgrant Program donating advertising space and money to various organizations and causes in favor with the couple through AMbush Magazine. Some $10,000 was given away in AMgrants and cash this first year. In 1995, $37,644 was donated with $26,499 in AMgrants and $11,145 in cash.

The couple, with the help of decorators, create elaborate balcony holiday displays gaining them more notoriety winning several awards over the years including Pride, Mardi Gras, and practically every other year for Christmas.

Rip and Marsha hosted a re-election party for Mayor Sidney Barthelemy in January 1990. It was the first time a seated mayor was entertained by an openly gay and somewhat flamboyant couple. The Mayor was greeted by some 400 guests including reigning Miss Gay America Brandy Alexander. Receiving the gay vote and endorsement of AMbush, Barthelemy was re-elected.

Rip was appointed in August 1990 to the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues by Barthelemy. With a host of other lesbian/gay leaders on this committee, "Exposing Hatred" was published in conjunction with LAGPAC, chronicling hate crimes for the first time against lesbians and gays in the City of New Orleans.

In 1992, Ambush was recognized by the New Orleans Water Volleyball League for outstanding support of the games that year. Also in 1992, Rip was recognized at the "We're Here Awards" in the Business category by the Louisiana Council for Equal Rights. In 1994, Rip and Marsha won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gay Appreciation Awards. Rip, Marsha and AMbush received the Blue Angel Award at the Petronius Ball in 1995 for outstanding support.Rip & Marsha

On September 1, 1993, Rip and Marsha dashed down to City Hall at 6:30am, being the first in line to register as Domestic Partners under the new City ordinance. A flurry of press activity went out on the wire and Rip and Marsha's names and in many cases photographs were plastered from the front pages of The Times Picayune to the New York Times and even made it on a CNN broadcast.

Beginning with their August 17, 1991 anniversary, the couple asked that in lieu of gifts friends make pledges to the NO/AIDS Walk in Rip's name at Magnolia Cotillion each year. Since 1993, Rip has had the highest individual total raising over $41,000 from 1991-1996.

The couple also hosted a campaign fund-raiser garnering some $10,000 for Larry Bageneris' unsuccessful run for State Representative District 93 in Nov. 1995.

AMbush was one of the founders and continues to be a patron of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center since 1992. Rip served on the board from 1992-1996. Rip was elected co-chair in July 1995. He and Marsha joined many other community and business leaders establishing a building fund which now has more than $30,000 in its coffers.

In January, 1996, AMBUSH OnLINE was launched bringing over 2,000,000 hits in 8 1/2 months from 85 countries to Gay New Orleans. The 4 interactive sites including www.gayneworleans.com, www.ambushmag.com, www.gaymardigras.com and www.southerndecadence.com have delivered the World to Gay New Orleans via the Internet.

Rip, Marsha and/or AMbush support, sponsor and in many cases, are patrons of Art Against AIDS, Belle Reve/Belle Esprit, Buzzy's Boys and Girls, Charity High Heel Pool Tournament, Contemporary Arts Center, Food For Friends, Human Rights Campaign, International Gay Travel Association, LAGPAC, New Orleans Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, NO/AIDS Walk, New Orleans Museum of Art and its Odyssey Ball, P-Flag Scholarship Fund and Project Lazarus.

Rip and Marsha have been featured in numerous articles, both in the society pages and the political pages of many straight and gay publications this year. The couples legacy is their uncanny ability to fit into any social, political or business occasion, whether it in the gay or straight world, whether they go as two men or as a man and a female impersonator.

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