Three’s never a crowd when it comes to resurrecting Mrs. Roper, the iconic TV personality from ABC sitcoms Three’s Company and The Ropers.
This Saturday, organizers of Lafayette’s first Mrs. Roper Romp expect 100 impersonators of the curly-haired and caftan-wearing landlady who lived life on her terms. They’ll strut in gaudy style down from stop to stop on Jefferson, raising money for a good cause.
And while the television show was credited with heightening the careers of Suzanne Somers and John Ritter, it looks like decades later, it is the character Helen Roper who has become so endearing to fans.
According to organizer Tiffany De Leon Steward, there are more than 50 cities that host events like the Mrs. Roper Romp. This means across the country, fans are donning curly wigs and caftans or muumuus.
“She had her own sense of styling, whether trendy or not,” Steward says. And for some, that is what made her so beloved. “I followed in her footsteps,” she adds.
Check-in for the Aug. 5 Downtown festivities is 3-5 p.m. at The Bougie Bar. There’s a $20 fee to participate. Other official stops along the romp include The Green Room, Legend’s, Sunday’s, Wild Child Wines and The Hideaway on Lee Avenue, where the crawl culminates with a performance by The Magnalites.
Also slated during the event stops are trivia from the popular television program, a style show, and a best dressed competition.
What would Mrs. Roper think? “I think she would think it was fabulous,” says Steward.
Not only would Mrs. Roper be pleased with the turnout, Steward says she would love people imitating what might be considered gaudy fashion.
According to Steward, Mrs. Roper was a relatable character who lived as she pleased and was forward-thinking despite being saddled with “a grouchy husband.”
However, that is definitely not the case when it comes to Steward’s better half Jeremy who has supported her Mrs. Roper Romp plans from the beginning.
“I’m pretty lucky,” she says. “My husband is always a good sport when it comes to parties and get-togethers.”
He plans to become Mrs. Roper Saturday, too. And he’s not the only one. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of males wanting to do it,” Steward says “They might be getting into it more than the women.”
What Steward also likes about starting a Mrs. Roper Romp, which she hopes will become a social club where fans can hang out together, is that it offers something to do in the heat of the summer.
And while it’s a first for Lafayette, it’s not a first for the state. According to Tiffany Steward, becoming Mrs. Roper started in New Orleans nearly a decade ago but it was held during the Decadence celebration. Since then, she says it has spread across the country.
Proceeds from the event will be given to The Period Purse Project, which along with Zonta of Lafayette, has provided more than 10,000 menstrual supply items for Lafayette Parish’s middle and high school students.
As the countdown to the event continues, there’s one thing Tiffany Steward wants the public to know: It’s not too late for women and men to sign up.
“Life is too short not to have fun in a costume,” she says.