Social aid and pleasure clubs across New Orleans have been leaning heavily into the “aid” portion of their mottos. Groups like the Sirens, the Merry Antoinettes, the Muffalottas and more have collected money to provide meals to healthcare workers. Additionally, many have been sewing masks and headbands for nurses, doctors, friends and family members.

I belong to the Dames de Perlage. We love to cut up and have a good time like no other. Our “thing” is that we create hand sewn, elaborate, creative corsets for each parade season; the art of “perlage.” We are forever inspired by the city of New Orleans, the magical Mardi Gras Indians and the spirit of our fellow members. In our group we have business-women, artists, designers, educators, healthcare workers and more. Our talents are many, wide and varied, but we all come together to celebrate, create works of art and have fun.

When one of our members, a healthcare worker on the front lines, put out a call for a small gesture, our members responded. Dame Leah recently wrote on Facebook: “When [the Dames] learned of the reduced visitation for dying patients and what that meant for their New Orleans community they responded with donations of beadwork that could be safely gifted to patients and later their families who could not be present until the end. In the midst of this historic tragedy I count no act of kindness or love as small.”

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I have pulled out my own embroidery hoop and an assortment of beads and am crafting my own beaded and embellished hearts, which will be picked up later to gift to patients and family members of those who have lost their fight with the virus.

It’s a small thing, and it’s frustrating to feel like you can’t do more, but it’s something. At least it keeps our hands busy.

Again from Dame Leah: “One of the lessons I’ve learned working in the ICU is that the way someone dies is just as important as the way someone lives.”

We are hopeful that we all can live our lives in service to others and embrace our city until the time comes to march together again. And we shall march, sashay and dance together again.


What to listen to: “Here Come the Girls,” by Ernie K Doe

Drink pairing: watermelon daiquiri



The Corona Diaries is a joint project of the Renaissance Publishing Staff. Each week during the series, a different member of our staff will share their day-to-day experiences with working from home, social distancing and the other ups and downs of living through the pandemic.