The Krewe of Apollo

Cover Story: Krewe of Apollo

For many of the early balls after the Krewe of Apollo was founded in 1980, members wore masks to protect their identities. That’s because the gay lifestyle was not widely accepted at that time, says krewe president John Deshotel Jr. “This organization provided a way for gay men to socialize without fear of problems,” he says. The annual party, still known as a “Bal Masque,” has a philanthropic focus through its AIDS/Crisis Fund. Assistance ranges from helping to pay for medicine to providing funds for day-to-day expenses to improve quality of life. At each ball, which features elaborate backdrops and costumes, the krewe sets out to promote awareness and education of LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS issues. This year’s event, with a “Viva Las Vegas” theme, is set for January 21. “There are so many lives we have touched, and we still have many more to go,” Deshotel says. “As long as HIV continues to be a threat, we will be here to do our best to make a difference.”