Antoinette K-Doe, one of the first ladies of New Orleans died this morning on Mardis Gras Day. Her Mother-in-Law Lounge on North Claiborne is one the city’s most colorful establishments and a living shrine to her deceased husband the legendary musician Ernie K-Doe. She died on a couch in the Lounge early this morning under the every watchful eye of a mannequin made in the exact replica of the deceased Ernie K.
I first learned of the Mother-in Law from Quintron and Miss Pussycat and when I saw the mannequin of Ernie perched upon a corner throne in the bar, I knew no visit to New Orleans would ever again be complete without a visit to Antoinette’s establishment. With complete sincerity, she and Ernie had continued to make personnel appearances together, as mannequin and wife, long after his death in 2001. She was a totally nutty, yet loveable old gal and New Orleans’ star is dimmed a bit by her passing. Rest assured the fun loving circles that define old New Orleans will be drinking deep to her memory tonight, Fat Tuesday, the biggest party night of the year.
She was an honorary queen of the wonderfully named Cameltoe Ladysteppers marching organization and just last Thursday rode in the Muses parade with the Ernie mannequin in tow. Today, she’d planned to don the traditional Baby Doll costume and parade through the streets of Treme before returning to the Mother-in-Law for what is always a busy day. But I guess other plans were in order so she’s back with Ernie writing the final chapter of a love story that could only have happened in the Big Easy. Hopefully, the love affair will live on between Ernie K and a soon to be designed lady mannequin in the image of Antoinette K-Doe.
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