In the early hours of Mardi Gras Day, Antoinette K-Doe, widow of the legendary Ernie and proprietor of the Mother-in-Law Lounge, passed away. Last Mardi Gras Day, Mrs. K-Doe had entered the hospital for heart failure, but recovered and was quickly back behind the bar.
Mrs. K-Doe was a local legend and as proprietor of the Lounge and steward of K-Doe’s memory, an international icon.
EDIT: Yesterday, along with dozens of other friends of Ernie and Antoinette, I spent Mardi Gras Day helping to serve beer at the Lounge. The Northside Skull and Bones showed up early to pay tribute to Miss Antoinette. Later, her friend Guitar Lightnin’ Lee played in the garden, and the Black Eagles Mardi Gras Indians sang “Indian Red” to her memory.
Antoinette was a friend of mine and a very dear friend of my boyfriend, Lefty Parker. She considered herself his adoptive mother, and she was taking a fairly strong hand in planning our April wedding, which was to be held at the Mother-in-Law. One of the last things she ever told me was that our dog would need a special outfit for the ceremony, and that to offset the wedding’s cost, we should get sponsors. Antoinette used to baby-sit the dog when Lefty was out of town and he adored her, probably because she would feed him whole hamburgers, one after another.
Antoinette was motherly to a whole host of downtown artists and musicians, including organist and puppeteer Quintron and Panacea, who she had painted on one wall of the Lounge. She, her cousin Tee-Eva and their friend Jeannie often bartended at Q and P’s underground parties at their home, the Spellcaster Lodge. Recently, she had made them a gift of her old limousine. After the hurricane, Quintron, Lefty, MC Trachiotomy and Generic Art Solutions’ Matt Vis took time out from repairing their own flood-damaged homes to work on the Lounge, until the Hands On organization took over in November ‘06 and finished the job. Just this past weekend, the new mural on the Lounge’s outer walls was finished. Antoinette loved publicity, and I was glad she got to see the mural written up in the Times-Picayune before she passed.
After her heart attack last Mardi Gras, we visited her in the hospital a few times. It was frightening to see her looking so frail. The last time we saw her together was about two weeks ago, to discuss the wedding - she showed off her new trim figure and discussed the heart-healthy diet she’d been following. It still seems impossible that she’s gone. I can’t imagine having my wedding there without her, but I can’t imagine having it anywhere else.