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Art of the Tease: Burlesque in New Orleans

Burlesque performer Trixie Minx gives us a glimpse at one of the city’s most alluring artforms.

A performer at New Orleans Burlesque Festival. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Minimal costumes are a hallmark of burlesque, but the seduction can happen in even the most innocuous movements, says performer Trixie Minx. “You take off a glove and show your hand, and people are screaming and clapping. They love it,” she says. “You are celebrating every inch of you.”

Burlesque wasn’t invented in New Orleans, but the city has shaped burlesque culture, particularly during its heyday in the ’40s and ’50s within the clubs of Bourbon Street. And today, there’s something of a comeback — one that Minx attributes to a sense of welcomeness and acceptance. “You want this idea of enjoying the feminine form in all its many shapes and sizes,” she says. “I think that’s truly what’s fueling the resurgence of burlesque today.”

Watch the video below, and keep scrolling for a list of places that offer live burlesque.

Places to See Burlesque in New Orleans

  • Trixie Minx’s Fleur de Tease: monthly variety burlesque review at One Eyed Jacks
  • Trixie Minx’s Burgundy Burlesqueweekly show that runs every Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Saint Hotel (931 Canal St.) featuring authentic New Orleans Burlesque with a live jazz band and magician emcee

  • Legs and Eggs at SoBouweekly Sunday brunch from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. with live jazz and burlesque from Bella Blue
  • Bella Blue’s The Dirty Dime Peepshow: monthly, boundary-pushing burlesque at The Allways Lounge featuring Vinsantos and others; doors at 11 p.m. with show to start at midnight
  • New Orleans Burlesque Festival: This year’s fest runs from Sept. 15-18.

    The courtyard at the Catahoula Hotel features a larger-than-life mural of local burlesque artist Trixie Minx. (Courtesy photo)

Burlesque Video Transcript

Trixie Minx: “The female form married with music, covered with sparkles and feathers. Going back to the idea of tease. Going back to the idea of flirting, playfulness. You want this idea of enjoying the feminine form in all its many shapes and sizes. I think that’s truly what’s fueling the resurgence of burlesque today.”

Minx: “So when you go to a burlesque show, you’ll meet a performer or a dancer. And probably they’ll have names like ‘Trixie Minx.’ You see a character that is more than just a girl in pretty lingerie, or a girl that can do beautiful kicks or splits or whatever. You see a concept: a fully formed work of art. Burlesque is the art of tease. And what it is is it’s a combination of a performer working with both the music, the clothes, and the audience to do a striptease. But throughout the whole experience, it’s a very interactive … almost game. Like, you take off a glove and show your hand, and people are screaming and clapping. They love it. And so you are celebrating every inch of you.”

Minx: “When somebody comes to our show, especially for the first time, they’re a little bit nervous. They’re not quite sure what to do, maybe a little hesitant. And that’s actually how we introduce each show, is with a little burlesque 101. We want you to scream, we want you to shout, we want you to be an active participant in the performance. The more love you give the ladies, the more they give you.”

Minx: “New Orleans is a wonderful place to see burlesque because it is unique in that it’s a part of our culture. The music, the laissez-faire attitude, the energy that is so specific to New Orleans. That magic that you can’t really capture or recreate anywhere else. And that’s to me why New Orleans Burlesque is magical.”

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