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History Of The Big Easy Entertainment Awards 

A BRIEF HISTORY

This is New Orleans’ premier event honoring the musical and theatrical talent of a city world renowned for its outstanding performing arts. A combination of the “Grammys” and the “Tonys” in style, 45+ awards are presented to local talent by national and regional celebrities for accomplishments in both music and theater. Harry Shearer, John Goodman, Vance and Ellen DeGeneres have served as Master of Ceremonies and presenters have included: Taylor Hackford, Harry Anderson, Eric Roberts, Lily Tartikoff, Jonathan Frakes, Adrienne Barbeau, Paul Shaffer, Rhonda Shear, Arthel Neville, Rita Coolidge, Jay Thomas, Justin Wilson, Jimmy Buffet, Quint Davis, and Isaac Tigrett.

The first Big Easy Entertainment Awards was held in the Blue Room of the Fairmont Hotel in 1988, produced by Margo DuBos, Publisher of Gambit Weekly. The event was small in scope, with attendance limited to 400. The need for an awards show to pay tribute to the city’s performing talent was obvious from the overwhelming positive response from the entertainment community. After one more year in the Blue Room (1989), the show moved to larger venues.
The demand for more tickets and more awards resulted in the show moving to New Orleans’ Municipal Auditorium in 1991. When that venue was leased as a temporary casino site in 1994, the event returned to the Fairmont Hotel but this time to the Imperial Ballroom. In 1995 the event expanded to the opulent Orpheum Theatre, where up to 1800 people attended the awards ceremonies followed by a Celebration Bash supper dance for a thousand people in the Fairmont’s Imperial Ballroom. In 1998, the event moved to the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, and the 13th event in 2000 moved to one of the largest ballrooms in the city at The Hilton Hotel, where the SRO show continued until 2005 when the event returned to the Municipal Auditorium.

Event sponsors include: Gambit Weekly, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, Coleman E.Adler & Sons jewelers, John Jay, Mardi Gras Productions, and Abita Beer. Community radio stations WWNO 89.9 fm and WWOZ 90.7 fm also supports the event.

The show’s high quality production standards have earned acclaim and loyalty from the entertainment community. George Porter, Jr (2005), The Pfister sisters (2004), Kidd Jordan (2002), Frankie Ford (2001),Wanda Rouzan (2000), Deacon John (1999), The Neville Brothers (1998), Cosimo Matassa (1997), Pete Fountain (1996), Harold Batiste (1995), Quint Davis (1994), Irma Thomas (1992) and Quincy Jones (1991) have served as Honorary Chairpersons.

Gambit Publisher Margo DuBos continues as Executive Producer, Gloria Powers is Executive Director.
A separate awards event for classical music, opera and dance was begun in 1994. The Tribute to the Classical Arts luncheon February 2, 2007 at the Hotel Monteleone is sponsored by Gambit Weekly, WWNO fm, Hall Piano Company, Uptown Costume & Dancewear, and Coleman E. Adler & Sons jewelers.

The awards events are produced annually to benefit the Foundation for Entertainment Development

Credit of the Gambit New Orleans

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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