Belles of the ball, y’all: Straight guys to don drag for a good cause

Published 12:01 am Friday, October 25, 2019

NATCHEZ — Y’all Means All Natchez, a group of LGBT+ members and supporters who advocate suicide prevention and mental health, is showcasing a group of perhaps the most unorthodox Southern belles in this Saturday during a weekend drag race event.

Organizer Troy Bickford said Nina West, as seen on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” would host the main show starting at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Natchez City Auditorium with live music from country music artist Ty Herndon.

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Upper level tickets are $50 each, lower level tickets are $75, or a table for six with two bottles of wine and a sandwich tray is $750. Bickford said individual table seats would also be sold at the door for $125 each.

Guests with tickets to the event will also have the opportunity to tour historic homes in Natchez starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, including The Burn and The Keyhole house among others.

Bickford said a shuttle to the houses would take off at 11 a.m. Saturday from the Nest at 505 Franklin Street.

Starting at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, “Louisiana Eats” author and chef Poppy Tooker will also be signing copies of her book “Drag Queen Brunch” at the Nest, Bickford said.

Saturday evening’s contestants include Joseph Mardini as “Miss Greenleaves,” Bubba McCabe as “Miss The Burn,” Devin Arnold as “Miss Longwood” and Jim Smith as “Miss Magnolia Hall” — all straight men from Natchez and will be competing for the title of “Miss Fableau,” Bickford said.

“It’s the least I can do to support such a great cause and a great organization,” McCabe said of being a “Belle” in the show. “I have had a family member and a few friends commit suicide and if I can help raise $1 that could possibly save someone’s life then I’m all in.”

Arnold said dolling up for Y’all Means All Natchez was an easy “yes” for him, too — adding as a father of two girls he’s not new to the dress-up game.

“Having two daughters, like any dad I know what it is like to sit at a little table and sip imaginary tea in a wig from the toy box while in the company of Barbies and stuffed animals,” Arnold said. “I have had to be the back up dancer on many of the

‘Mom I got a dance to show you’ — I have paid my dues, swallowed my pride, and my daughters have conditioned me well over the years to throw my shame out the door.”

Bickford said attendees are invited to an after-party featuring Josalyn Royale and other drag performers at The Birdcage Saturday night.

A welcome reception will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at Choctaw Hall — tickets to which are $35 each — followed by an after-party at the Natchez Brewing Company.

Tickets may be purchased at

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