Rebuilding our city: the gay and lesbian survivors of Hurricane Katrina are vowing to return to New Orleans and make it more fabulous than ever.Someone forgot to tell C.W. Stambaugh the party was over: The owner of the New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded gay bar Starlight by the Park kept his doors open as Hurricane Katrina Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. thrashed the Crescent City Crescent City is the name of the following places:
Despite the deplorable conditions, he and a group of about 40 others held their own gay parade, featuring outlandish costumes, on September 4. The party flowed around the corner from the French Quarter bar to Stambaugh's home. "We had Southern Decadence Southern Decadence is a week-long, predominantly gay-male event held in New Orleans, Louisiana and its environs by the gay and lesbian community in early September, climaxing with a parade through the French Quarter on the Sunday before Labor Day. , and it felt good," he says, referring to the city's traditional gay Labor Day Labor Day, holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada on the first Monday in September to honor the laborer. It was inaugurated by the Knights of Labor in 1882 and made a national holiday by the U.S. Congress in 1894. bash, founded in 1972, that usually attracts more than 100,000 revelers. "It seemed to lift the spirits of a lot of people." Stambaugh was eventually forced to evacuate, but once the city is again inhabitable he will return. "We will rebuild the city better than it's ever been before," he vows. "We'll be back."
Thousands of other gay men and lesbians say they owe it to the city to return. It's not an easy choice. Many New Orleans residents, especially those in lower income brackets, will likely never come back. During the past weeks some evacuees Resident or transient persons who have been ordered or authorized to move by competent authorities, and whose movement and accommodation are planned, organized and controlled by such authorities. have found new jobs and new lives in other cities, including Baton Rouge, La.; Houston; and more distant locales. Gay men and lesbians were also displaced to neighboring states--their lives, careers, education, real estate deals, and health care interrupted. They face the daunting daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin task of rebuilding. But most say they will.
For more than a century this has been their town. Since the early 1800s New Orleans welcomed those with same-sex attractions into a sea of fabulous architecture, boozy decadent affairs, outrageous parades, fabulous costumes, and gender-bending. The city inspired gay poet Walt Whitman to write that Louisiana's "rude, unbending, lusty lust·y
adj. lust·i·er, lust·i·est
1. Full of vigor or vitality; robust.
2. Powerful; strong: a lusty cry.
4. Merry; joyous. " live oak trees made him "think of manly love."
Years later a husky man named Miss Big Nelly ran a brothel and boardinghouse for gays, a hotbed hotbed, low, glass-covered frame structure for starting tender plants. It differs from a cold frame only in that the soil is heated—either artificially as by underground electric wiring or steampipes, or naturally with partially fermented stable manure, which of same-sex interracial in·ter·ra·cial
Relating to, involving, or representing different races: interracial fellowship; an interracial neighborhood. parties that lasted into the night, according to historians. Then the famed writers came, including Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote [see page 50]. In the 1940s and 1950s the city even had a transvestite trans·ves·tite
One who practices transvestism.
transvestite Sexology A person with a compulsion to dress as a member of the other sex, which may be essential to maintaining an erection and achieving orgasm. See Transsexual. bar called My-O-My near the lakefront.
"I will be seeking a way to help the city come back," says novelist Martin Pousson, 39. Before the deluge he had been setting up his new office as writer in residence at Loyola University New Orleans History
Loyola’s history dates back to the early 18th century when the Jesuits first arrived among the earliest settlers in New Orleans and Louisiana. . He knows he is one of the lucky ones: Not only was he able to escape the city for the comfort of his parents' home in Lafayette, La., but Columbia University offered him a position while Loyola is closed. Pousson, a graduate of Loyola, turned down the Ivy League offer. "I want to take part in New Orleans's resurgence," he says. "Ultimately the city will open its doors, and it will need all the hands and minds it can get."
Pousson says New Orleans may seem vulnerable and weak at the moment, but he compares it to a phoenix rising from the ashes--again and again: "It's a 300-year-old city. It's been burned to the ground and has survived numerous plagues, floods, and hurricanes. It's a crazy quilt of architecture built up over centuries with different styles at different moments. This will be yet another troubled, complicated, but ultimately beautiful layer of the city."
Ron Marlow, a member of the New Orleans Gay Men's Chorus, is already planning the group's Christmas show. This year it will be held in Baton Rouge, but the chorus will return to its roots. "The gay community has flourished because it is a close gay community," says Marlow, who has lived in New Orleans for eight years with his partner, Michael Knight. "The younger gay men take care of the older gay men. You can carry drinks from bar to bar. The gay community is one of the friendliest gay communities I've ever lived in."
Marlow and Knight were able to escape the city unscathed. They headed to Houston, where Knight's company secured them corporate housing. The couple believe their third-floor condominium in the warehouse district is intact. "Every gay person I've talked to will go home," says Marlow, 44. "Everyone is ready to go back. It's an incredible level of friendship, walking around a community where everyone knows you and has been your friend for a long time. It will be just as good as it was."
Jean Burke and her girlfriend, university professor J.E. Cowden, are also trying to look ahead after absorbing the shock of Katrina. "It's been absolutely awful in some ways--the idea that this has happened to the city I grew up in--but we feel very blessed in other ways," says Burke. Cowden's house is for sale, and escrow was supposed to have closed on September 20. She had planned to move into a townhome in a part of the city severely damaged by the hurricane. Burke's house also sustained damage. A hospital social worker, she is on paid administrative leave from her job until September 30 and is waiting to take her next step. "There's a part of me that says, I'm taking early retirement and moving somewhere else," Burke admits. "But it's an accepting city where my friends and my support system are."
Even before the hurricane, 49-year-old Robyn Brown--a leader of the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans--was embroiled em·broil
tr.v. em·broiled, em·broil·ing, em·broils
1. To involve in argument, contention, or hostile actions: "Avoid . . . in controversy that attracted national headlines. The MCC (The Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation, Austin, TX) The first high-tech research and development consortium in the U.S., created in 1982 by leading companies within the electronics industry. was being kicked out of its new home at a Catholic HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome facility because the Catholic archdiocese did not want to give the impression that it supported same-sex marriage, according to news reports. "That was some of what we were going through, and now we have this on top of it," says Brown, living temporarily in Baton Rouge. "It gives you perspective on what is really important. We moved to New Orleans two years ago from St. Louis, and we did so by choice. There are some people saying they never go back, but we will definitely go back and rebuild."
Jamie Temple was starting a new chapter in his life when Katrina changed everything. He had just sold his popular leather bar near the French Quarter after 23 years in business and was in the process of buying a bed-and-breakfast on North Rampart Street. Temple is now staying with a friend in Florida. He is one of the lucky ones who can afford to return to New Orleans, but he is more worried about his former longtime employees. "I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. how they will get jobs in other cities," he says. "In New Orleans, when you get a job in a gay bar, you can have it for 20 or 25 years." A New Jersey native, Temple says New Orleans has been good to him. He arrived while with the U.S. Coast Guard, and he stayed. "In almost 30 years that I've lived there--I'm 48 years old--I've maybe been called 'faggot' once," he says. "The Phoenix was a leather bar, and it was perfectly accepted in our neighborhood." Temple became an active volunteer, leading tours of the French Quarter for the Louisiana State Museum The Louisiana State Museum is a system of museums run by the government of the U.S. state of Louisiana, with various buildings and historic sites around the state. In New Orleans
In the week after the tragedy, as evacuees fought to flee the city from their rooftops, the convention center, and the Superdome, LGBT LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender survivors had their own specific concerns. For one, how would those with HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. or AIDS get their medications when all they had left were the shirts on their backs? "I think people need to think about the images they've seen on television, about the rampant poverty that existed in New Orleans and was often unseen behind the facade of a good time," says HIV Alliance for Region Two executive director Tim Young. The Baton Rouge group was providing medicine and housing to LGBT survivors. "The HIV problem is very similar," Young says. "It exists to a large degree in our community. We know it's a critical problem, and just as we have looked at the potential for levee levee (lĕv`ē) [Fr.,=raised], embankment built along a river to prevent flooding by high water. Levees are the oldest and the most extensively used method of flood control. breaches, this storm has brought the HIV/AIDS population to our community in a similar way. The flood has come in, and we are ill equipped to deal with it."
More than 15,000 people were known to be living with HIV or AIDS in Louisiana at the end of 2003, the most recent year for which CDC See Control Data, century date change and Back Orifice.
CDC - Control Data Corporation statistics are available. An estimated 3,500 of those live in and around Baton Rouge, and a still greater number live in New Orleans. "When you combine the two cities, you probably have the largest HIV/AIDS population in the country, percentage-wise," Young says. And resources were particularly strained in Baton Rouge because the city does not receive Ryan White Act funding. "We're tremendously underequipped. Now we are challenged with attempting to meet those needs for half or more of the AIDS population of New Orleans. They have faced death before, and they faced it again here."
In addition to arranging for medications and counseling, groups rushed to provide HIV/AIDS patients with such personal items as toiletry kits, Wal-Mart gift cards, and food gift certificates. "The gay community is responding quickly. They are on alert and organizing themselves into volunteer networks," Young says.
Less than a week after the devastation, the Montrose Counseling Center in Houston was working to get LGBT people--especially those who felt they might be subject to gay bashing--out of shelters. After housing was secured for them, case management teams were assigned to evacuees, and support groups were formed. "Initially we are dealing with shock and denial," says spokeswoman Sally Huffer. "Two, three, four months down the line, we will still be there for them. Around the holidays is when a lot of stuff is probably going to hit them."
In July, 24-year-old gay man Matthew Cardinale returned to New Orleans after earning a masters degree in sociology from the University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States). , Irvine. He had big plans in the Big Easy--working with homeless youths and starting an alternative newspaper. The problem of teen homelessness was close to his heart: He left home when he was only 14 to escape an "intolerable" situation, and he became a legally emancipated e·man·ci·pate
tr.v. e·man·ci·pat·ed, e·man·ci·pat·ing, e·man·ci·pates
1. To free from bondage, oppression, or restraint; liberate.
2. minor at 16. "New Orleans was calling me," he says. "Southern hospitality is a real thing. They know how to treat people warmly." As the storm raged, Cardinale, a Point Foundation scholar, stayed behind in the uptown two-story home of friends to care for his three cats, Beebosh, Annie, and Daphne. But neighborhood fires forced him to leave. He endured a harrowing journey, wading through polluted water to be picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard and then dropped off in the dark in a crime-ridden neighborhood. He waited hours for a bus that never came. "I've become a tough cookie over the years through a lot of crisis situations, but this was really out of my league," he says. He finally made it to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he's staying with the man who helped him achieve his independence as a teen. But Cardinale won't turn his back on New Orleans. He'll return, ready to help homeless youths and publish his newspaper. The second they allow people to go back into the city, I'm going to be there," he says. "I want to go back home."
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"Once I pass'd through a populous city, imprinting imprinting, acquisition of behavior in many animal species, in which, at a critical period early in life, the animals form strong and lasting attachments. Imprinting is important for normal social development. my brain, for future use, with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions," the great gay poet wrote of New Orleans.
Before Gus Kahn and Egbert Van Alstyne bowdlerized it beyond recognition, the song "Pretty Baby," its original lyrics now lost, was about black musician Jackson's blond male lover. Antonio Fargas played Jackson in the Louis Malle movie named after the song.
A journalist for The [New Orleans] Times-Picayune, Saxon arrived in the city in 1919 and in 1937 wrote the cautiously gay novel The Children of Strangers.
"Miss Dixie" Fasnacht
In 1939 this jazz musician--bon vivant opened Dixie's Bar of Music downtown, moving to Bourbon Street in 1949. Said to have inspired a character in Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar, she is noted for standing by her gay customers, who were harassed by police during periodic "cleanup" campaigns.
"They told me to take a streetcar named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire may refer to:
Frances Benjamin Johnston Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (15 January 1864–16 May 1952) was one of the earliest American female photographers and photojournalists.
The only surviving child of wealthy and well connected parents, she was raised in Washington D.C.
This lesbian photographer retired to New Orleans in 1940 after finishing a major photo series on Southern architecture, and she stayed until her death in 1952. Her lover, a woman known as Tom Sawyer, lived on for about 30 more years.
"The invitation to dissipate is everywhere. And you wonder how one single match or cigarette has failed to create that holocaust which will consume it to its very gutters," wrote the great Rechy of New Orleans in the climax of his seminal City of Night.
His paintings and black-and-white photos--featuring such subjects as street youths, dwarves dwarves
A plural of dwarf. , and amputees--portray the queer spirit of the city.
In 1970 the coauthor of A Chorus Line penned American Grotesque, the definitive account of the 1969 trial of gay businessman Clay Shaw for the Kennedy assassination Assassination
See also Murder.
Fanatical Moslem sect that smoked hashish and murdered Crusaders (11th—12th centuries). [Islamic Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 52]
conspirator and assassin of Julius Caesar. [Br. by mentally unstable, deeply closeted clos·et·ed
Being In a state of secrecy or cautious privacy. district attorney Jim Garrison. When Oliver Stone's fanciful retelling re·tell·ing
A new account or an adaptation of a story: a retelling of a Roman myth. of this shameful episode, JFK, was released, my writing in The Advocate inspired a reprinting of Kirkwood's book.
In 1978 he opened the magnificently named Faubourg Marigny Bookstore--the first gay, lesbian, and feminist bookstore in the South. Just in the nick of time.--David Ehrenstein
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Hernandez is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily News The Daily News of Los Angeles, also known as the Los Angeles Daily News, is the second largest circulating daily newspaper of Los Angeles, California. It is published by the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which owns eight other Southern California newspapers .