Chris Owens, an entertainer who has been flashing and singing for audiences in New Orleans for more than six decades, died of a heart attack Tuesday morning at his St. Louis Street apartment, his longtime manager Kidsey Adams said.
French Quarter Heart of New Orleans, Bourbon Street Heart of the French Quarter, Chris Owens has been the heart of Bourbon Street since 1956. He was also one of the signature stars of the street in the era of Al Hirt and Pete Fountain.
Generations have seen what he has done over the years, and his performances have been the classic cornerstone of one of the best entertainment venues in the world.
Owens ‘age was one of New Orleans’ most perplexing mysteries. Adams refused to disclose it, saying Owens was “old enough to know what she wanted, young enough to do it, and her number was not listed.” For those who want more determination, according to a long-standing newspaper account, he was 23 in 1956, which would be 88 for him.
WWL-TV news anchor Eric Paulsen was on his way to New Orleans from his hometown of St. Louis when he was 13 when he saw photos of the star, Shaggy Hared, being released outside his club. “I saw a picture of her on Bourbon Street and said, ‘Wow, wow,'” Paulson recalled with a smile.
Later, as the 20th New Orleans TV presenter, Paulson interviewed Owens from time to time, and the two became friends. She asked him to accompany her on the 2022 Easter parade.
Owens’ interest in entertainment amazed him, he said. “She’s an Energizer Bunny,” he said. Until Kovit cut short most of the live shows, “She was dancing in a storm.”
Growing up in Texas
Christine Shaw was born and raised on her father’s ranch in West Texas. After high school, she attended nursing school, but at age 20 she picked up her bags and moved in with her sister, who had already moved to Crescent City. Prior to meeting Soul Owens, she worked as a medical receptionist and her husband was the future King of New Orleans Automobile.
The couple usually changed their heads, especially at Chris, The Blue Room and other nightclubs. Soul set her up on the corner of Bourbon and St. Louis streets as the couple’s then president of the new French quarterly dance club, Club 809. Eisenhower was in the White House. Chris is 23. The world immediately noticed.
Club 809 did not open for a whole year when The Times-Picayoon Entertainment columnist Howard Jacobs described Owen’s appeal with a sigh: “She is a regal, clear and passionate beauty, undeniable beauty and grace. Yes, it translates to harsh Latin rhythms, warming the pulse of the DC-6 to depart. “
As he said in an interview with The Times-Picayone in 1974, he quickly pointed out that while he remained “the only legitimate act of not taking off all my clothes” he had become the brightest star of steam throughout his life. .
Latin dance was the craze of the early Cold War. “It was very popular at the time,” Owens said in a 2017 interview, “especially with some dances like samba, cha sa, mambo.”
Chris and Sol are architectural marvels who, during regular trips to the Tropicana Club in Havana, perform great time-honored activities from Carmen Miranda to Tito Bouvende. Chris’ konga-inspired performances and his fancy outfits can be found at Tropicana.
This is the era of the TV show “I Love Lucy”, which brought Desi Arnas, the leader of the Cuban band, into American families everywhere. Chris Vokes Carey entertained the audience as he and Sol danced to the 45-year-old they collected on their travels.
The couple’s plan to buy a condo in Havana came to an end with Castro’s successful uprising in 1959. In 2017, Owens said in an interview that it was worrying that armed government soldiers were walking down the street “dressed for nine” for an evening party.
Styles have changed in the French quarter from the hippiedom of the 1960s to the disco era to the present. But Owens was stubborn and welcomed his refuge naughtiness for generations. Over the years, she has become an icon in a world where the word icon is overused.
In 1979, Seoul died, and Chris took over as owner of the club and the apartment above, becoming a role model French quarterback entrepreneur.
The march will continue
In 1983, the timeless slogan became the perennial queen of the Easter parade, which draws thousands to the French quarter each year.
Chris Owens’ last French quarterly Easter parade, in 2019, was overshadowed by tragedy. Owens’ longtime comrade Mark Davison and his sister Burnell L. Shortly after Schmidts’ death, the annual procession took place. According to his manager Adams, Owens planned to ride in the parade this year, despite falling in July.
After the crash, Adams said Owens had no plans to return to the show. But, according to Owens, Adams said the parade will take place on April 17 as usual.
Owens was a regular at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Maracas in hand, his life-size bronze statue is in New Orleans Musical Legends Park, nowhere else, on Bourbon Street.
Upon learning of Owens’ death, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell issued a statement: “Today we mourn the passing of Chris Owens, one of the brightest lights in the French quarter. Absolute entertainment and the star of her own Bourbon Street nightclub, Mrs. Owens is attractive, beautiful and iconic. The news is even sadder because we are just a few weeks away from the Easter parade, which has become his most famous stage. May she rest in the perfect peace of God.
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