Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
“I don’t know if high society is different in other cities, but in Hollywood, important people can’t stand to be invited someplace that isn’t full of other important people. They don’t mind a few unfamous people being present because they make good listeners.”
“I have no sense of being famous—you’re just working. And then you’ll have a random day in London when you’ll do some press and it creeps into your awareness that this goes out—that what you do every day goes out to televisions right across the country.”
“When you become famous, being famous becomes your profession.”
There are people in this world that, by dint of birth, possessions, talent, luck or knowing who to blow, have risen above the “unwashed masses.” Those with influence over high society are able to control and direct the energy and actions of mortals who move amongst society and in the entertainment sector. Contact and Allies affected by High Society influence include: dilettantes and debutantes, the old rich and the nouveau riche, movie stars, rock stars, artists, dancers of all sorts, fashion models, trendsetters, and critics.
High Society Influence •••••
Family: The Devillers
French philanthropist who helped with Katrina relief efforts and mother to the seven Devillers girls. She jokingly claims that men don’t run in her family’s genes.
Deceased: 2016 (age 58)
Family: The Malveauxes
The picture of a trophy wife, Claire is a beautiful if aging woman who is socially witty and publicly loyal to her powerful husband, Senator Nathaniel Malveaux. Her own family was wealthy, but nouveau riche, and it is whispered she married far above her station—though only behind her back. Claire lives in Baton Rouge, but regularly travels between Washington and New Orleans, attending to her husband and children respectively. Very protective of her children, and combines high expectations for them with excuses for their every mistake to others. She died prematurely in 2016 from a fatal combination of improperly prescribed medications.
The owner of the Evergreen Plantation, New Orleans’ premier VIP jazz club, Leon Gressau might be the city’s most influential playboy. Born to wealth and raised in Miami, he has family roots in the New Orleans that go back many years, but didn’t move to the city until after Hurricane Katrina. He purchased the Evergreen Plantation from its previous owner (who moved on to greener pastures after the hurricane) and has masterfully maintained the Evergreen’s status as the place to be (and to be seen) for socialites, celebrities, politicians, and other VIPs. The Evergreen offers only the finest in music, food, and companionship, but Leon’s purpose seems to be less making the Evergreen a successful club than making it a comfortable venue to conduct business with him. He has his fingers in a variety of enterprises ranging from the commercial to the charitable to the criminal, and is just as likely to receive city councilpeople and business leaders at the Evergreen as he is mob bosses and drug barons. Many people owe him favors, even more owe him money, and there are few endeavors in the French Quarter he doesn’t seem to have some kind of stake in. Leon is unmarried, claiming to prefer the life of a carefree bachelor, but is believed to be in a long-term (and possibly open) relationship with Chanelle Riqueti.
Family: The Dyers, the Malveauxes
The Dyer family was old money in the state of Louisiana even before their oldest daughter married Mathew Malveaux, now CEO of the family’s multi-billion dollar oil company. Today Vera is an icon of high society and well-known patron of the arts who spends lavishly on herself and her five daughters. Less well-known is her dependency on opiate painkillers since the attack she suffered a decade ago (wrongfully believed to have been at Hippolyte “Big Mon” Broussard’s hands) that left her face scarred. She allegedly needs painkillers because of a severed nerve. The prolific mother of six children, five of them girls, her husband has never forgiven her for not giving him a second son. She in turn has never forgiven him for Adam’s entry into the clergy. She rarely speaks to her son these days and has drifted away from her faith. Her relations with her brother-in-law Orson remain extremely cold.
High Society Influence ••••
Arabella “Bella” Roberts
Family: The Jamesons
The First Lady of Louisiana and wife of current Governor Bill Roberts, Arabella is the daughter of former Governor Jim Jameson and couldn’t be more pleased to be back in the governor’s mansion with her husband. She was a tomboy and “wild spirit” in her youth who worked as a horse jockey and state trooper before settling on a career as a nurse. Like most first ladies, she promotes issues that more or less everyone can agree are good things, or at least aren’t especially contentious. Her pet initiative is encouraging fitness among children and reducing childhood obesity rates, though she’s said she hopes to do more while her husband is in office than “getting some tykes to lay off the O’Tolley’s.” Close partner to her husband and involved in many of his political decisions, and has cultivated a positive media image through her irreverent sense of humor. She’s also on good terms with her father and regards the “stepmother” who’s almost 30 years her junior with dry amusement.
Bhuvaneshwari “Shwari” Pavaghi
Family: The Pavaghis
The wife of Rich Pavaghi, Bhuvaneshwari (Shwari outside her family) married her husband in India when she was 12 and he was 14 as part of a traditional child marriage. She followed him to the United States and has been the picture of a dutiful trophy wife, giving him many sons and retaining her good looks well into her 60s (with the help of frequent botox treatments and weekly spa visits). The Pavaghis have long since become rich and what Shwari now craves more than anything else is respect. When her son Fred became governor, Shwari couldn’t have been happier. She moved in with him to the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge and inserted herself into as many social, political, and media functions as possible while hemming out her daughter-in-law, to the point that many people joked she was Louisiana’s real first lady. Shwari fought tooth and nail to get her son reelected in 2012 despite the embezzlement allegations and was bitterly disappointed by his loss. She’s since moved back to her husband’s home in Kenner and remains active in high society circles. She has a prominent if unofficial hand in the family’s business empire and constantly pushes her children and grandchildren towards more respectable-seeming real estate transactions than being slum lords. Formerly a devout believer in homeopathy, astrology, and assorted forms of Eastern woo, she turned against them after coming to the United States and now dislikes them intensely, but practices regular yoga.
Family: The Bellamys
One of the biggest names in contemporary horror fiction, Carol Bellamy and her sister Ruth were the bestselling authors of Lives of the Damned, a horror novel series published from the 1970s through the 1990s that is credited with almost single-handedly redefining the vampire genre. Before Lives of the Damned, vampires were monsters and villains: Lives, however, recast them as sensual and sympathetic antiheroes struggling to reconcile their consciences with their predatory natures. As one critic for a major newspaper described, “The Bellamy sisters turn vampire conventions inside out. Because they identify with the vampire instead of the victim (reversing the usual focus), the horror for the reader springs from the realization of the monster within the self. Moreover, the Bellamys’ vampires are loquacious philosophers who spend much of eternity debating the nature of good and evil.” Generations of authors owe a creative debt to the Bellamys for recasting vampires from adversaries into protagonists. Although Lives of the Damned and its debut novel The Vampire’s Confession (featuring a vampire who confesses an eternity of misdeeds to a priest) sold poorly during the ‘70s, the books exploded into popularity during the ’80s, saw several TV and movie adaptations, and made the Bellamy sisters millionaires. They wrote additional horror, historical fiction, and erotica novels, only for their career to be cut short by Ruth’s early death from cancer in the 1990s. Carol thereafter lost much of her motivation to continue writing and today she’s largely retired. She usually spends her springs and summers in Hawaii, describing the weather as “heavenly” next to New Orleans’ dismal hottest months.
A madam who runs an escort agency out of the Evergreen Plantation, Chanelle makes sure that any man who comes to the French Quarter’s premier club never lacks an attractive, cultured, and intelligent date on his arm—or an unforgettable time in more private surroundings upstairs. Channelle doesn’t openly advertise that guests at the Evergreen can pay to have sex there, but word gets around. Police have yet to raid the premises or arrest any of her girls, and it’s a testament to her discretion that she can run what’s essentially a brothel out of the Leon Gressau’s upstairs without compromising his or his club’s reputation—though that’s in part because clients who engage her girls’ services at the Evergreen do so by invitation or referral only. Channelle is believed to be in a relationship with the Evergreen’s owner, Leon Gressau. Whether it’s a romantic one, a purchased one, or some mixture of both is unclear. Outside of her “job,” she’s known to greatly enjoy race car driving, and to be an excellent hand herself behind the wheel.
The madam who quietly runs one of the city’s highest-class call girl services, Christina has dirt on most of the men (and a few of the women) in high society. She’s an information broker, gossip, and flirt who somehow gets invites to most major events in town despite the disdain in which many high-class women hold her. She moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, prior to which she was a disbarred attorney run down on ethics charges. She remains very good at keeping records and managing her clients and “girls” outside of the eye of the law. Samantha Watts was previously in her employ, and the two maintain a cordial relationship and are frequently seen together.
Status: New Orleans Opera Association ••••
The lead singer of the New Orleans Opera, Judith has the most extraordinary voice anyone’s seen in a generation. She’s also a diva and prima donna in both senses of the word and considered hell to work with. Bossy and imperious, she orders other performers about like she’s the stage manager, and regularly tells the actual manger how to do his job. For the most part, he just takes it, and centers productions around her. The fact she’s married to the president of the opera association probably has something to with it. The fact that her family are some of the association’s biggest donors probably has something else to do with it, too. Between her talent and connections, it doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere, no matter how overbearing other performers find her. Those who stick around accept it’s Judith’s world and they’re just living in it.
Julia Lansdale is a prominent figure in several of New Orleans’ most popular and politically active charitable foundations. From the Association for a United New Orleans (a Catholic faith-based initiative that seeks an end to racism and religious persecution) to Save Our City (which boasts the slogan “Our buildings may be our past, but our children are our future”), Lansdale is a major mover and shaker in the field. Her organizations are supported by New Orleans’ rich and working-class alike, and in turn have supported numerous popular grassroots political campaigns aimed at booting the city’s current municipal leaders out of office. Several long-time politicians lost their jobs the city’s 2014 elections, and more could be next if Lansdale’s movements keep growing.
A B-list (formerly A-list) Hollywood actor with credits in dozens of movies, Towers is widely considered one of the strangest actors of his generation, with intentionally extreme performances that he describes as “mega-acting.” Towers is not from New Orleans and has absolutely no ties to the city, but says it “speaks to his soul.” He made a splash purchasing the LaLaurie Mansion in 2007, but lost it amidst a series of legal and financial problems in 2009 following years of reckless spending and living beyond his means. Towers spends most of his time in California but remains a sometime presence in the Big Easy, where he intends to inter his remains and has purchased an Egyptian-style pyramid in St. Louis Cemetery. It has already become a local custom to plant lipstick kisses on the not-yet-deceased movie star’s grave.
Ronald “Ron” Landreneau
Family: The Landreneaus
Philandering movie director and owner of Zodiac Productions, the city’s biggest film company.
Warren Whitney III
Family: The Whitneys
Indolent financial magnate and son of Lyman Whitney. Raised to be the presumptive chairman and CEO, he was ousted by John Harston who led a merger with its now-parent company, Hancock Holding Company in 2010. Although Warren holds a major portion of the bank’s shares and remains absurdly wealthy, he has little say in its governance and rarely attends board meetings. Instead, he whiles away his time as one of NOLA’s notorious playboys hosting decadent soirees aboard his ludicrously large pleasure yacht, the Saturnalia. Less well-known is his private passion and peccadillo of directing and producing faux snuff films.
High Society Influence •••
Family: The Devillers
Third-oldest daughter of Abélia Devillers. Adeline is less socially active than her older sister Cécilia and has focused more on academia than involving herself in the family’s philanthropic endeavors, though Abélia likes to say her daughter’s interests are but part of their family’s “greater whole”—education has long been one of the foremost charitable causes in which she’s involved herself. Adeline recently completed her master’s degree in anthropology at Yale (she skipped a grade in high school) and is thinking of going back to graduate school in Paris to pursue a PhD. Weighing against those plans, or at least prompting her to consider delaying them, is the recent relationship she’s entered into with Nolan Moreno.
Status: New Orleans Ballet Association •••
Artistic director and board member at the New Orleans Ballet Association since 2002. Born in Massachusetts and lived in France and the Netherlands for a decade. He’s a self-admitted Europhile who never gets tired of extolling the cultural superiority of all things European, and likes to joke that New Orleans is the only American city he could stand to live in after having his “eyes opened” abroad. Ballet dancer in his youth who’s long since transitioned to a managerial role. Married to a Korean woman who’s the company’s associate artistic director and happily child-free.
Family: The Downs
President of Lakeview’s Southern Yacht Club. He and his wealthy circle of friends, also yachters, sit on the neighborhood’s NA council.
Family: The Devillers
The second-oldest daughter of the Devillers family , Cécilia is everything one would expect of such a well-bred scion. Her beauty, Ivy League education, social graces, and gentle character combine to make her a choice prize for the city’s wealthy young heirs. Rumors linked her to Luke Malveaux for a while, though she demurred when asked about it, insisting in charming French fashion that “youth is a time for love and lust, not romance.” The two made a splash announcing their engagement in late 2015 several months after his brother Westley’s death.
Status: New Orleans Opera Association •••
The president of the New Orleans Opera Association, Clifford is a former hedge fund manager from New York who moved to New Orleans after meeting his wife Judith, the opera’s lead singer. He’s the model of the henpecked husband around her and even took his wife’s name for his own after they got married. His most frequent words to her in public are, “Yes, dear.”
Status: Gallery Seyrès •••
Cordelia is the owner of Gallery Seyrès, one of the city’s oldest still-extant art galleries along Magazine Street. She has many connections to the Garden District’s old money families and her patronage can make or break a newcomer to the art world, but she’s notoriously difficult to impress—and even more notorious for her scathing tongue. More than one artist has fled Gallery Seyrès in actual tears. They call her an ice queen, a stuck-up cunt, a heartless bitch, and many other names. Cordelia could care less. An arch-conservative with firmly neoclassical tastes, she’d rather let her gallery’s walls hang empty than compromise its aesthetic standards. Married to real estate developer Cedric B. McGinn.
Family: The Malveauxes
Currently attending Stanford (following in the footsteps of her sister Savannah) and slated for graduation in 2016, Elaine has lived a privileged life, even among the Malveauxes. She’s embraced her role as a socialite and heiress to an even greater degree than her siblings and cousins, sliding easily from social function to social function, showing the flag as it were as a Malveaux and retreating to her private interests without attracting scandal. Young, beautiful, manipulative, and social, she loves to be the center of attention, and maintains a large circle of friends and contacts. It’s a rare night that she isn’t out on the town, or at some party. She isn’t really sure what she wants to do after she graduates, though she typically defaults to vague answers about communications or media relations when pressed on the topic by her family. Arguably the most attractive of the Malveaux heiresses, if the most dainty, she’s considered quite a catch and has been aggressively pursued in the past when in New Orleans. She plays her suitors just as often, juggling three or four at a time.
Family: The Borges
Martin Borges went through several wives before finding one who could stick. Janessa is everything he’s wanted from a spouse and mayoral first lady. Poised but demure, articulate but soft-spoken, comely into her middle years and never without a smile, there’s been several jokes that he must have ordered her from a barbie doll catalog. Although knowledge of her husband’s sexual history is commonplace, Janessa acts completely oblivious to it. Most people think there’s no way she doesn’t know, but her act is so good they wonder if it’s even an act. She has several children by Martin, but is equally warm to ones from prior marriages (and from outside his marriages) who’ve obtained his favor. Exceptionally God-fearing, she’s frequently seen quietly praying and is never without a rosary.
Robert Argabrite III
Inherited something on the order of three hundred million dollars when he was twenty years old after the tragic deaths of his wealthy parents. Subsequently lost half of that fortune when he was seduced by Samantha Watts. Along with the money went much of his social capital, with the love-struck young man viewed as a joke and a failure by many, but a few old allies of his family hung around. He has quietly invested much of that fortune in the city while also living in recent months as the consummate playboy and player, running through a different model, escort, or heiress every night in a flurry of promiscuous and tabloid-fueling liaisons. Formerly employed Sarah Anne Widney, who reportedly stole from him before her firing. Other rumors claim that the two shared something deeper.
One of the city’s most talented and popular jazz singers, Sabrina has a voice like a nightingale and a body built for bedrooms. She flits from band to band as the whim strikes her, sometimes a year, sometimes a week, and almost invariably sleeps with her bandmates. Between her talent and connections, she’s usually able to raise their profiles and hook them up with great-paying gigs, often at Calvin Berthelot’s clubs in Faubourg Marigny or Leon Gressau’s Evergreen Plantation. She’s also a magnet for trouble. Interpersonal drama, substance abuse, infidelity, and police arrests are only the start of the problems she’s caused bands she’s joined. Many of them implode after she inevitably gets bored and leaves, with some former members swearing off music forever. At least one has killed himself. Sabrina, though, always seems to land on her feet. Everyone in the music scene knows she’s a mistake to get involved with. That doesn’t stop them from making mistakes.
Samantha “Sami” Watts
Family: The Watts
Near-infamous honeypot who took Robert Argabrite III for half of his fortune in 2012 when she convinced him to marry her and then divorced him after the honeymoon. She now lives the high life in a downtown penthouse. Regarded as a usurper by most of the city’s elite, but money talks, and she’s had significant success integrating herself into social circles. For her part, Samantha lives for the thrill of the seduction, the chase, the game. She’s a near-irresistible flirt and few would guess she grew up in a middle-class suburban home in Metairie. Particular taste for Mezzo-American art, and has strong ties to the Latin arts community in New Orleans.
Talal al-Faisal al-Saud
A young Saudi prince worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars, Talal grew enchanted with New Orleans eight months ago during a visit and never left, instead setting up shop in the top floor of the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans with his private security and entourage. Talal is a frequent sight out in the city after sunset, partying until the sun rises almost nightly. He is utterly self-indulgent and vastly prefers the liberal values of the city—especially with regard to drugs and alcohol—to the position of his own homeland, and shows no signs of planning to depart. Several complaints have been leveled against him, including claims of assault, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and intimidation, but the NOPD seems uninterested in creating a diplomatic incident.
High Society Influence ••
A street magician who performs around Jackson Square, Elias is always one of the tourists’ favorites and has a popular MeVid channel where he posts many of his performances. Something of a lady’s man, Elias is very popular with teenage and 20something female tourists and it’s the rare night that he’s not sleeping with an out-of-town white girl who he’s dazzled with his magic tricks.
An art student dropout at Loyola University, Josua likes to laugh that college couldn’t have taught him anything he wasn’t born with. Ravishingly handsome and an incorrigible flirt, he’ll sleep with anything that moves, male or female, and has long since lost count of how many partners he’s had. “Somewhere in the triple digits,” he laughs. He’s known to extol at great length how much he “loves women” on an aesthetic as well as sexual level. To hear him tell it, sex is a transcendent sensory experience that’s more than just sex, though he loves “that aspect” of it as well. Frequent guest at the Alystra casino and suspected of having found a sugar daddy there. He’s also a painter of no small skill who specializes in portraits. Since 2013, his work has taken a decidedly dark and surreal turn. That’s around when he was publicly humiliated by Cordelia Seyrès-McGinn, the owner of Gallery Seyrès, who trashed one of his early pieces so badly that he was reduced to tears. Unsurprisingly, he has no interest in exhibiting his work there ever again. In fact, he rarely exhibits his art in galleries at all: usually he just sells it to people he sleeps with. By his account, business is booming. Former escort for Chanelle Riqueti during his college days.
Former long-time principal dancer at the New Orleans Ballet Association, having held the position since 2003. She retired in 2016 following a hip surgery caused by a work-related injury and now teaches ballet at a local dance academy. She and her husband were childless for years, but they’re thinking of adopting now that her career as a ballerina is over. Has a niece and nephew she’s close to. Long-time friends with Diana Flores, who was principal dancer at NOBA before her.
Second-generation Salvadoran immigrant born and raised in New Orleans. A painter known for his use of bold colors and striking cityscapes, Reyes grew up in poverty and only came to prominence after Katrina during the city’s revival. The scenes he paints are often idealized versions of decrepit, run-down, poverty-stricken areas that the city’s elite would never visit, but which they shower him with praise for bringing to the attention of others. Vocal advocate for social change and avowed socialist himself, Reyes was dubbed “the city’s conscience” by one of his critics. He lives and works in his studio in one of the worst slums in the city, and many expect he’ll soon turn up dead in a gutter near his home.
Family: The Batifoles
A once highly respected local art dealer and talent scout amongst New Orleans’ artistic circles and their nouveau riche patrons, Sterling’s profits and prestige took an abrupt dip in the early 2000s when his wife Mariángel cuckolded him with a busker and was later gang-raped and hospitalized by that same busker’s criminal friends. Sterling attempted to salvage his reputation by divorcing his wife, only for their inebriated college-age son Francis to drive his car off the Chef Menteur Bridge during a rainstorm several years later. Consequently, Sterling’s hair has since turned to his namesake’s silver—at least in the patches he hasn’t torn out from chronic stress and sleepless nights searching for increasingly rare clientele. Such labors and tangible desperation have only worsened his repute, and rumors suggest he has turned to specious investments, illicit dealings, and unsavory partners to maintain the resources necessary to maintain his dwindling art studio, gallery sales, and talent agency office on Julia Street.
Chocolate-skinned, lithe, and standing only 5’8", Stephen is nonetheless impossible to miss in a room—he’s the loudest voice by far. An incurably flirt with both men and women, he’s at least as well known for his array of flings with other artists, performers, and professionals of both genders in the city as he is for his modern art sculptures involving maimed everyday objects and (especially) appliances. Insists on being the center of attention.
Anastasia looks like the girl you want to bring home to Mom and Dad, but you’re worried she’s going to wear thigh-high boots and fuck your parents in front of you. You’re pretty sure that Custom wrote “Hey Mister” about her: it’s not she’s a tramp, it’s not she’s not pure, she just likes getting her fuck on and it’s a good one of that I’m sure. “Maneater,” they say, and they point to the string of broken hearts (and worse) left in her wake. Heiress to Escoffier Holdings out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Anastasia bills her services as a “consultant” and provides all sorts of sinful entertainment for her clients. It’s unclear whether she’s an escort, a dominatrix, or just a girl with the money and determination to get what she wants. The only thing people can say for sure is that she’s trouble.
Some of the more colorful rumors surrounding her include: Escoffier Holdings doesn’t exist. Anastasia had two older sisters taken out to become heiress. She was a supermodel in Italy. She donates half of her yearly income to charity. Off Bourbon is the best place to catch her, but you’ll never get in to the VIP section. She has a pet tiger, like Jasmine. Her hair is insured for $10,000,000. She was created in a test tube with DNA taken from the Gar®y’s Oldman and Kasparov.
Katherine is a personal assistant to Vera Malveaux whose job consists of maintaining her social calendar, making reservations, running errands, and generally seeing to the scarred matron’s varied and frequent needs. Vera is rarely seen at public events without her PA at least somewhere nearby. Katherine is increasingly frustrated by her needy employer’s incessant demands and her own highly limited time off, but she is reluctant to give up what is still an influential job with excellent pay and many fringe benefits. She replaced her predecessor (who quit in spectacular fashion after a nervous breakdown, the third such failure in the last ten years) approximately two years ago, and has finally gotten a good feel for what her boss wants. Katherine works long hours and usually gets up at 4 AM to meet Vera (Mrs. Malveaux) at her Lakeview home with her morning coffee. She only leaves late into the evening when Mrs. Malveaux has been settled into her home or hotel room for the right. Katherine’s own social calendar is extremely limited as a result, and typically limited to a half-day on Sundays.
Leslie “Kristina Winters” St. George
Family: The St. Georges
The red-haired, fair-skinned, long-legged St. George. Leslie went to college for marketing, but found on her return to New Orleans that she had a far more marketable option: her looks. Though she’d never let her family find out, her “marketing” career over the last four years has mostly consisted of working for Christina Roberts as a high-class escort. Of course, employees of Ms. Roberts have to be intelligent enough to carry a conversation, sophisticated enough to conduct themselves at high society functions, and discrete enough to keep themselves and their clients out of the tabloids, and in these categories Leslie has excelled. A straight-A student in college fluent in three languages, including French and Spanish, she has adapted well to working among society’s upper crust and become one of Roberts’ more trusted employees. Close to her mother and still visits her on Sundays for brunch, usually spending the afternoon volunteering with her at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church before the family’s regular Sunday night meal. Works in her job under the name “Kristina Winters”, with only her boss and a handful of others knowing her real name.
Sarah Anne Widney
Professional personal assistant does not quite cover all that Sarah brings to the table. She’s a life manager, a majordomo educated in the nearly extinct European tradition, capable of running almost every aspect of her employer’s life as needed and desired. After graduating with an MBA and getting her start looking after a series of socialites, heirs, and heiresses she had her break through working for Robert Argabrite III in the aftermath of his disastrous marriage to Samantha Watts, working to salvage his fortune and future. Though she eventually left his employment when he confessed feelings for her, she made an impression on many in high society with her social graces and management of Argabrite’s finances. Originally from Kansas she was orphaned when she was 11 and ended up living with her now-deceased grandmother. Intensely serious woman now approaching 30, career-driven, with a great many professional contacts but relatively few actual friends or personal relationships. She was briefly disgraced after a claim surfaced that she’d stolen from Argabrite, but recently found long-term employment with Caroline Malveaux-Devillers.
Violet is one of the Big Easy’s idle rich. She says she’s a trust fund baby taking time off to enjoy her youth before she goes back to school to finish her PhD—she claims a degree from UCLA—and that New Orleans is just another stop on her trip around the world. She’s a new face to the city but already she knows the best sights, has a handful of admirers, and is often seen on the arm of rich or important men. Networking, she says, for her future career in politics or journalism or law. She does it well. She’s smart enough to hold her own on a variety of topics and wise enough to know when to keep her mouth shut and let the men do their thing. She’s a classic beauty, with light skin and dark hair, petite enough to not be threatening but not so small that she’s diminutive, with a heart-shaped face and prominent cupids bow. The kind of girl that men want on their arm for the evening to make their coworkers or their recently separated wife jealous, but not so stunning that other women hate her on principle. What most people don’t know is that her real name is Jasmine, her daddy was an abusive piece of shit and her mom was an alcoholic, and she’s one of the highest paid escorts in the city and has been working for Chanelle Riqueti since she moved here. Rumor is that she’ll do the sort of kinky shit most other girls won’t do, which means that she’s highly sought after and almost always booked. She really does have plans to do something with her life eventually, but right now she’s content to coast by on her looks and make bank on her back. Or her knees, whatever they prefer.
High Society Influence •
Annabelle was a budding music student when Andi Brooks found her at a club in New York. Apparently she plays a handful of instruments and has the voice of an angel, but her real interest lies in producing. Andi moved her to New Orleans to manage a record label, 25 to Life. The girl has been content to handle other local artists, though she knows who butters her bread and always has time for Andromeda’s band.
Douglas “Dougy Two-Toes” Brown
Family: The Browns
Young local rapper of marginal talent with a small following. Claims to have lost three of the toes on his right foot in gang-related violence, though in truth they were lost in a yard accident when he was seven. Wannabe tough guy who attended private schools and came from a stable home. Son of Hubert Brown, though he wants little to do with his father, other than a steady supply of money to spend on his plush lifestyle and crappy beats.
Louisa “Blue Lu” Dufresne
Born William Louis Pietsch, the transgender, licensed interior decorator grew up in West Fargo, North Dakota and graduated from the regionally prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA, but left her fast track internship in Atlanta due to “personality conflicts.” She decided to resettle in New Orleans in 2006, wisely capitalizing on the myriad post-Katrina revitalizations, construction projects, and associated need for interior decorating. In the past decade, she’s carved a temporary niche as working solely for men, whom she says “are born without a lick of fashion sense and have to be trained, unlike women who all endowed with a natural understanding of style.” Still, she does occasionally do “consulting” with female clients, and will gladly take on a contract if it entails redesigning a bachelor or married man’s shared bedroom, office, apartment, or business to add a more “refined touch.” Despite or perhaps because of these ironically strict gender rules, Louisa’s interior designs tend to blend effeminate and masculine aspects, which is best reflected in her ardent love of the Transitional Style. This ‘transitioning’ is reflected in her own personal fashion, as she keeps her hair in a razored, deconstructed ‘pixie’; uses pink lip gloss next to perpetual stubble; and dresses in structured, buttoned-up shirts and flowing skirts. Her favorite accruement, however, is a pair of blue-tinted teashades, which has earned her the local sobriquet of Blue Lu.
Family: The Batifoles
A once-avante garde Honduran painter in the 1980s who has become a traumatized recluse following her husband’s divorce and son’s death.
Penelope “Penny” Freeman-Crawford
Family: The Crawfords
Artist and recent Tulane graduate who sells her work at Frenchmen Art Market. Waitresses part-time at Commander’s Palace. One-time romantic interest of Alice Guillot. She uses her self-given nickaname of Penny ironically: as in, she knows her own value, and chooses to use the name Penny as a statement to the world about labels.
Former burlesque dancer (“Zorita Deluxe” being her stage name) at the AllWays Theater in Faubourg Marigny. Fired by her employers “for being ‘too curvy’” as she angrily describes the circumstances.
Family: The Downs
Alec Down’s daughter. Bored college graduate and perennial daddy’s girl who still lives with her father. She recently decided it would be “fun” to try being a talent agent, which her father has indulged and paid the licensing fee for.
The son of two black doctors, one of whom made a fortune for pioneering a new technique in heart valve replacement, Brayson grew up the yuppie upstart among the moneyed families of the Big Easy. Mocked, mistreated, and ostracized at every turn, Brayson eventually fell deeply down the rabbit hole into drug use and partying, culminating in a night of absolute debauchery with Westley Malveaux that landed them both in the spotlight, and very nearly in prison. Unlike Westley, rumors still swirl around Brayson. Of the two, Brayson’s loss is the greater tragedy, as he inherited his parents’ brains, and was a second-year resident in trauma medicine when his life imploded. He’s a common fixture these days at the Corner Club, and little else, drawing a stipend from his wealthy parents and floating adrift through his late 20s.
Family: The Malveauxes
The elderly matron of the Malveaux family, Camillia rarely makes it out of the family mansion in Baton Rouge these days, or even out of the house after three hip surgeries in the last decade. Mother to the Malveaux brothers, she married into the family from a very stiff, formal, old family. Very firm traditional views on etiquette and social position, and in particularly hateful of yuppies and those that fail to show the proper respect to their elders. Occasionally chases servants around the family manor with a broom from a wheelchair when they aren’t respectful or diligent enough. A powerful figure in the family until the last decade, she’s now a shadow of what she once was—the schemer behind the scenes for the family that offered guidance to her sons and shelter from her domineering and abusive husband. Still, despite her deteriorating mental condition and increasing physical frailness, many secrets may yet be locked within her aging mind. Lives with and is close to Gabriel Malveaux, who carves out time to spend with her despite his many other obligations, but largely avoided by the rest of the family, especially her sons who remember the steadfast woman made of iron that she was, not the broken shell has limped into the modern era that refuses to let her die a dignified death.
Family: The Jamesons
Jim Jameson’s latest wife and recent college graduate nearly 60 years her husband’s junior. Pregnant with his latest child. Evelyn is amply aware of her husband’s past and doesn’t mind; the two have a more or less open marriage. Briefly had a starring role in his one-season reality TV series, whose cancellation she remains disappointed by.
Family: The Kellys
By the time she was a teenager Gabriella was a self-identified bulldyke who went by “Gabe” instead of one of the more feminine versions of her name. She grew up in a conservative household and spent her teenage and young adult years raging against the machine and the patriarchy and everything that her grandfather and her parents stood for. She liked loud music, punk bands, and had more color on her skin and metal in her face than a modern art exhibit. At least until she turned nineteen. After that she settled down; she found Jesus, let her hair grow beyond the buzz cut, underwent expensive laser treatments to remove the tattoos, and took all the piercings out. There’s a rumor she had gastric bypass—how else could she have lost the weight so quickly?—but Gabriella hasn’t bothered to confirm or deny. She’s been busy with her husband and children since they married in 2013 and appears to be content as his trophy wife, leaving her days of hard drugs and loud parties behind her. She can often be found strolling through the park with her children in their stroller, and everyone agrees that she keeps one of the prettiest gardens in New Orleans.
Family: The Borges
Daughter of Mayor Martin Borges who’s attending Tulane studying fashion design, but is better known as a budding influencer who reviews clothes and makeup. Highly active on Instagram, MeVid, and TikTok. Somewhat lazy and wants a bigger following than she has, but doesn’t want to put in the work and would rather go clubbing in the Quarter. Her father uses interns on his mayoral staff to edit her videos and write many of her social media posts (so that she doesn’t have to). She got into Tulane through his connections and after he bribed/threatened an exam proctor to let her cheat on the SAT.
Family: The Malveauxes
The black sheep of the Malveaux family, Westley has a storied tabloid history that only his father Nathan’s influence has kept from spreading beyond the state. He was publicly painted as a redeemed young man during Nathan’s 2012 Senate campaign, but rumors still swirl around him in private circles. In truth, Westley is an addict, and will likely always be an addict. He’s experimented with every drug from ecstasy to heroin, forgoing only crack and preferring cocaine. These days his “acceptable” drug of choice is alcohol. Though he remains coherent at social functions, his family’s handlers are never far. Deceased of 2015 following an intoxicated yachting accident that resulted in his drowning.