Chris Owens hosts 36th annual Easter parade despite her recent loss

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NEW ORLEANS - Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, international dancer and French Quarter fixture Chris Owens led her 36th annual Chris Owens Easter Parade.

The impressive holiday event started at the corner of St. Louis and Royal Streets and ended at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel.

In January, Owens lost her sister, Burnelle Schmitz. This past Saturday, the entertainer lost her long-time partner, Mark Davison.

Owens says she dedicated this year's celebration to her two loved ones.

Mark accompanied Owens to her parade for 25 years.

"It's hard because I lost the sweetheart of my life," Owens said. "But my beautiful, handsome nephew decided to step in for me in Mark's place-- this is Steven Shaw, from Dallas."

Both Shaw and his wife stood by their Aunt's side while she greeted her guests and rewarded the annual hat winners. The trio even waltzed into the event, second line style.

Owens' publicist Kitsy Adams also comforted the star throughout the day

"I am extremely proud!" Adams said. "This has probably been one of the hardest years in the 36 years."

While the event was bittersweet because of the recent losses, the community showed endless support as thousands of people joined in on the fun.

"I think the turnouts been awesome-- very excited! It gets bigger every year," Owens said.

The event was so big, Owens' posse had to maneuver through loads of people to get to her float-- but they made it.

In honor for her late sister and partner, 14 doves were set free at the beginning of the parade.

Kitsy says, the money raised at the event funds the Kitsy Adams parade. Anything leftover goes to a foundation of her choice.

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