In a city that lacks celebrities and diversity, someone like Peaches stands out. She’s best known for singing and dancing all over La Crosse in incredibly bright outfits.
WPR’s Maureen McCollum spent a morning walking around with Peaches, and although she’s surrounded in mystique and rumors, she shakes off the negativity by just being herself.
If you live in La Crosse, you probably know who Peaches is. People talk about her everywhere — over happy hour drinks and even in city hall meetings. Popular topics include seeing her hula hooping in a cowgirl outfit or how she was gardening in a leopard print outfit with rainbow colored hair. Peaches has even been crowned “La Crosse’s Favorite Celebrity” multiple times by readers of the city’s alternative newspaper, Second Supper.
When I met up with Peaches, we decided to walk around near downtown La Crosse. I learned that she’s gone through her fair share of pain and she can be tough. But when you tell her that her dancing brightens up your day, she softens up and it puts the biggest smile on her face.
“What person you know, dance up and down the street but Peaches?” said Brenda Jackson, better known as Peaches. “Things bother me, trouble me. So I dance and I could dance on my bike.”
At this point, she’s dancing what she calls ‘the worm.’ We walk around a corner and two construction workers on scaffolding turn to us, smiling as Peaches pretends she’s dancing with her beloved hula hoop. They wave and she smiles and dances for them.
“You see how they all love me?” said Peaches as she crosses the street.
So many people recognize Peaches in La Crosse because she walks miles upon miles every day.
“Why do I like walking around? Because it clears my mindset. And I’m at peace and at ease with myself. Man, I must travel the seven seas. I mean, I walk like how many miles? I can’t even put it in words,” said Peaches. “You know, sometimes I’m walking until 12:30 AM, walking around writing lyrics. Music’s just constantly…. I’m just singing in general, ‘Look at that sexy car, ooo look a sexy man.'”
Peaches made up a handful of songs on our walk based on things we observed. Songs about firemen and a song about roses. She also writes about love, heartbreak, and her past experiences.
“I got so many songs that I need a hit. I just want one hit,” she said.
In a way, Peaches has scored a couple of hits. Her YouTube music videos have racked up tens of thousands of views. Her songs are catchy and can easily get stuck in your head. People around La Crosse sing them.
As we finish up our walk, Peaches reflects on her celebrity status in La Crosse. She says she doesn’t necessarily like the attention she gets walking across town.
“I don’t understand. Why am I the local celebrity? I mean, what possessed these people who are putting me here this way? You know, I don’t understand,” asked Peaches, who then dives into a song. “But here I’m beautiful. You know that I’m beautiful. Plain gorgeous to you. Ooooo I’m beautiful you might see baby, yeah yeah, baby.”
“People be stopping (sounds of camera flashing) and taking pictures of me. I’m like, I don’t know. What’s it all for? I’m just Peaches!”