- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte LGBTQ+ oral histories
- Ricky Carter oral history interview, 2015 November 6
Ricky Carter oral history interview, 2015 November 6
Ricky Carter illuminates his life as a gay man and as a prominent drag queen known as Boom Boom Latour. As a young Charlotte North Carolina native Mr. Carter worked alongside his family in their barbecue restaurant, Hickory House, studied design at Gardner-Webb College and Central Piedmont Community College, and worked as a window designer for Belk and Ivey's department stores. He and his sister Christy Carter speak extensively about the importance of work within the tight-knit Carter family. Mr. Carter also describes in detail how he came to reinvent himself as drag queen Boom Boom Latour. On Halloween night in 1969 he was enthralled to see his first drag performance at a Charlotte bar. He reflects that this performance inspired his forty-year long career as Boom Boom Latour, who made her stage debut the following year at Oleens, a bar on South Boulevard that became famous for drag performance. He recalls that his comedic performance as Latour made him immediately popular, and that as Latour became profitable he was able to expand his female wardrobe with the help of Christy and a network of women and gay male admirers. As Latour's fan base blossomed, Mr. Carter's drag family also expanded. In 1991, a vital member of Mr. Carter's drag family named Tony Lenoir committed suicide after receiving an AIDS diagnosis. Mr. Carter emphasizes the isolation that AIDS sufferers experienced not only with heterosexuals and medical professionals, but also within Charlotte's gay communities. Mr. Carter and his sister explain that even during the height of LaTour's success, they remained in Charlotte to take care of their aging parents and Hickory House.