New Orleans all-female motorcycle club ‘The Caramel Curves’ empowers their community: 'The respect is in the ride'

"For me, New Orleans is everything."

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is unlike anything else. Even in the midst of the music, dancing and bead tossing, there’s a special group of women who stand out and have become a fixture in the Big Easy.

They’re "The Caramel Curves" – an all-female motorcycle club with big bikes, and even bigger personalities.

Coco, Karma, Tru, Hoodpriss, Quiet Storm, First Lady Foxy and the rest of their crew are a sisterhood to be reckoned with, landing them a spread in "O" magazine, appearances in music videos like "Ball" by T.I. and Lil Wayne, in segments on "The Steve Harvey Show" and "Ride with Norman Reedus," the motorcycle bad boy on "The Walking Dead."

For Karma, she said she feels "freedom" when she gets on her bike.

"She’s right," Tru said. "It’s a release. It’s a time for me to think. I’m able to gather all of my thoughts. It’s a stress reliever."

For Coco, "it’s a time to stunt" -- to be "seen and look good and do what the guys don’t think I can do... I like the attention."

She said they formed "The Caramel Curves" "to have a bunch of females be together on bikes looking good in heels, look sexy – like why ride with the stinky boys?"

Carving out a space in the notoriously male-dominated motorcycle world is a big part of who the Curves are.

Tru said men "respect us because we ride our motorcycles."

"The respect is in the ride," she added.

"One thing I heard even today from a lot of men was 'Keep doing what y’all doing, I love it. I love what y’all doing the movement is great,'" Coco said.

But Tru said she believes their "number one fans" are women. Karma said the group inspires by showing "we can do anything and we look good doing it."

That message of empowerment is an expression of a kind of modern day feminism – on a motorcycle.

Tru said she "definitely" considers herself a feminist: "What we represent is girl power."

"It’s all about women, it’s all about empowerment," Coco agreed. "It’s about showing women that you can do things that you never thought you could do."

The women are known for breaking stereotypes on and off their bikes – Tru is a pharmacist by trade, Hoodpriss is a nurse, Karma, Coco and Quiet Storm are all small business owners – each a career woman with a motorcycle hobby.

Coco’s owned her own salon for 19 years now.

"I like being the boss. I like running stuff, you know?" Coco said. "It’s a great feeling to be able to go to work and do something that you really love… I just try to share what we do and make other people happy."

The Curves didn’t set out to be pillars in their communities, but they take their jobs as role models seriously. One of the requirements to join the Curves is organizing a community service event.

Coco said "one of the best things" about the success of the Curves is that "We get to give back so much."

“We help in any way that we can in our community… And we get so many people to help us give back," she said.

The attitude of giving back has cemented the Curves into New Orleans culture. The women are true hometown heroes – bonafide Big Easy celebrities.

"To me, New Orleans is so important because I’m born and raised here," Coco said. "After Katrina, being displaced, I lived in Baton Rouge and Houston, Texas and I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get back home. So for me, New Orleans is everything and New Orleans is also what put Caramel Curves on the map."

So what if you want to be a part of the Curves? First, you have to be a woman and you have to have a motorcycle.

"Once you have those two things you come in you come hang out with us for 90 days you have to do three rides," Coco explained. "You do some parties, and you mesh well with us that's pretty much it. Oh, and you have to do a community service event. That's very important."

"If you can handle setting up an event on your own, we know you'll flow right in with us," she said.

It’s been 11 years since the Curves took to the streets. Tru is one of the founders, now with several businesses and properties around the city.

She never in her "wildest dreams" thought Oprah would be calling her. "I always thought that what we were doing was cool, but I never thought it would be this big," she said.

One of her businesses is a T-shirt shop, which started with Tru customizing all of the Curve’s clothing.

"I got so good at it, that I started a T-shirt shop," she said. "How it started for me [was] helping my sisters out."

Coco said there’s "definitely more chapters" ahead for the Curves: "People all over the world... want to start Caramel Curves in their own city."

"They don’t want to start their own name, their own club – they want to be Caramel Curves," she continued. "So before you know it, there are gonna be Caramel Curves in every city near you."