Student rings the “Belles”


Shadera Moore

Loyola alumna Jessica Mixon (left) and Musical Theatre senior Haley Taylor (right) visit campus dressed in full costume on Sept. 5, 2019. The duo perform at the National WWII Museum as Victory Belles.

Ver Lumod and Cody Downey

Transporting themselves between the era of the Second World War and the modern era, two young women must juggle their lives between 70 years.

The National World War II Museum, located in New Orleans, takes its visitors back to the 1940s through the Victory Belles. The Belles are a vocal trio serenading attendees with their renditions of music from that era. Among them are musical theatre senior Haley Nicole Taylor and Jessica Mixon, A’14. They make it their mission to appreciate the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation through the power of music, entertaining the general public and World War II veterans alike.

“Doing the show for just a specific audience, like World War II veterans, is a completely different show in itself because you have all these people that are the reason why you’re performing,” Mixon said.

Taylor became a part of the Belles after participating in a 1940s-style auditioning process despite not being the required age of 21.

“The entertainment director at the time saw me and she was like, ‘You need to be a Victory Belle! But, you’re only 19,” Taylor said. “But, a few months later, she contacted me and said she wanted me to audition.”

Mixon joining the Belles came more as a shock as she originally applied to be a singing server at BB’s Stage Door Canteen, the WWII Museum’s musical dinner.

“So, I tried out for that and the same entertainment director, I guess, really loved my talents and wanted me to be a Victory Belle instead, which is basically not what I was expecting,” she said. “I was completely happy and overjoyed and excited about it. So yeah, I became a Victory Belle instead and the rest is history.”

In being a Victory Belle, the two women said that the most important part is managing time and being available.

“They only hired certain Belles if they had availability for a certain time,” Mixon said. “Even if you are auditioning to be a Victory Belle, one thing is for sure: it doesn’t mean that you’re bad, it’s just that you don’t have the time.”

For both, the best part of being Victory Belles are the veterans themselves. Taylor enjoys being able to transport these men back into the past with their performances.

“We’d go out into the audience of veterans, sit in their laps, serenade them and plant these big red kisses on their cheeks,” she said. “They light up again like they’re 18 years old. It’s really funny and it’s a great experience.”

Mixon said that these heroes make the experience of working there not feel like a job.

“Performing for them and knowing what they did for us is the reason why I’m doing my job for them,” she said. “It’s like a full circle moment and it’s very humbling for me.”

Despite the two being in different phases of life, the Belles want to continue with their jobs for as long as possible.

“As long as I’m able, I do see myself working as a Victory Belle in the foreseeable future,” Mixon said. “It’s a rewarding job with timeless memories. I’ve grown so much from this career over the past three years and I am excited for the future of our troop.”