Laveau Contraire, New Orleans-based drag extraordinaire, began her illustrious career in drag performance from the comfort of her own bedroom. Now known for her sheer tenacity, magic, and prolific performances, Contraire began performing on stage after winning the 7th cycle of Tumblr’s online Drag Race.
When Laveau Contraire began performing in person, she would finish at around 2 in the morning. Only hours later, she would wake up at 7 and drive over an hour to her full-time teaching job in Baton Rouge. That routine wasn’t sustainable, and Contraire knew it.
Like countless other artists and performers, Laveau Contraire then faced a difficult decision; she had to choose between the financial security of her full-time job or the joy and passion of her art. For Contraire, the choice was clear: she found a part-time teaching position in New Orleans and committed to drag full-time.
For Laveau Contraire, drag is a lifestyle. Living and working in New Orleans––a city with drag brunches, workshops, festivals, and multiple daily shows––gives Contraire access to a large and growing network of queens who have any number of specialties. While one queen may specialize in makeup, others––who Laveau Contraire calls “wig witches”––may specialize in customizing, styling, and creating wigs. For Contraire, this network is crucial for building a drag community and bettering her craft.
“There’s no other place to live. [New Orleans is] such an accepting place for all types of drag, where you can really do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be,” Contraire said. “Being in drag has shown me that I can be free, that I can say whatever is on my mind, and not have to shy away from that.”
Doing drag also allows Laveau Contraire to question why she ever followed society’s rules to begin with. As she says, if she wants to wear a feather boa outside of drag, then she probably should! So, in spite of the financial risks and challenges of being a full-time creator, Laveau Contraire and her love for drag are making it work by any means possible.
“I am one of the most tenacious queens in the city. I am known for working every gig, and there are people who are not convinced that I exist outside of drag because I am always in drag,” Contraire said, laughing. “Obviously, this is super important to me. The least you can do is sit back and let me tell my story.”
For however long Laveau Contraire is glittered and performing, she is a spectacle; she has something to say, and her audiences need to hear it. However, while Contraire’s intention is––first and foremost––to entertain, she is always aware that drag queens serve as a beacon of radical queerness and light in the face of a world that wishes only to put people into boxes.