Chris Owens (burlesque performer)
Chris Owens is a performer, club owner and entrepreneur who bases her act out of the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States. She has been a French Quarter fixture and celebrity from the start of the 1960s through the early 21st century. Owens is well known in Louisiana and throughout the South. Tourists visiting the Bourbon Street cannot miss huge posters of her wearing costumes as they walk by her nightclub.
Life and work
Details about Owens' past and career are sketchy at best. She was born Christine Joetta Shaw on October 5, 1932, in rural Texas, the daughter of Fred Moore Shaw Sr. and Thelma Leona Martin who married in 1925 in Haskell, Texas. Chris grew up on a farm and went to Texas Wesleyan College to be a nurse. She married car dealer Sol R. Owens in 1956 and opened a nightclub on St. Louis Street in the French Quarter; it was originally intended to be a low-key sideline establishment, but business exploded. Realizing that Owens' performance numbers were a huge draw, they sold their home in 1977 and purchased the building on the corner of St. Louis and Bourbon. Soon the "Chris Owens Review" became a noted act in town. In 1979 Sol had a heart attack and died; Chris Owens took over management of the club and of the 30 apartments and four shops located within the building. As of 2016 the club and Owens' act continue to be a draw.
She hosts a yearly "Patriotic Easter Parade" that rolls down Bourbon Street.
She can be seen in the 1962 film The Wacky World of Doctor Morgus (see Morgus the Magnificent). Owens began production in 2003 of her first feature film, Let's Ballroom. Owens stars as a wealthy widow who falls in love with her dance instructor.
On April 22, 2006, Chris was inducted into the New Orleans Musical Legends Park with a statue created in her likeness. Her image stands next to other musical greats including Fats Domino.