Fans and friends of Lady Chablis will celebrate the life of the legendary drag performer during a day of events that includes a memorial service, drag shows and screening of the film that made her famous.
The Lady Chablis Memorial Service is scheduled for Oct. 8 at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts in Savannah. The two-hour event will include speakers, photos of the performer and videos of her performances over the years, including her last one at Club One on Aug. 6, according to Cale Hall, a co-owner of Club One in Savannah. Lady Chablis died Sept. 8 at age 59.
A reception follows the memorial service and then Lucas Theatre will host a screening of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” the Clint Eastwood-directed film adaptation of John Berendt's best-selling book that propelled Lady Chablis into the national spotlight. Club One will carry on the celebration with two drag show tributes.
“Her legacy is basically live and celebrate who you are and don't conform – be yourself,” said Hall, who also owns Creative Approach, a printing services company with offices in Atlanta and Savannah.
“She would be proud to see the outpouring of love and admiration. It's all about celebrating the good part,” he added.
Family members and relatives of Lady Chablis will travel from Florida to take part in the memorial service, Hall said. The events on Oct. 8 will come a month after she died at St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital, which should allow enough time for grieving so fans can focus on “celebrating the life” of Lady Chablis, Hall said.
“It's hard to wrap your mind around a fixture that's been there. This is someone that has driven tourism and the direction of the club for years and years. There is a big hole there. Love her or hate her, there is a big hole there,” he added.
Hall – a friend of Lady Chablis for three decades who watched as she was Club One's first performer for its grand opening in 1988 – said he's had little time to grieve over her death. He's been flooded with media requests from around the country and the details of planning the Oct. 8 memorial service and other events.
But he returned to Savannah on Sept. 5 and stayed overnight with Lady Chablis in the hospital. She suffered from chronic lung disease and died from pneumonia, Hall said.
“That's the last time I saw her alive and coherent. I would have been devastated if I hadn't had that chance. I am thankful for that,” Hall said.