moments in gay new orleans history
by Professor Frank Perez
E-mail: [email protected]
Photo by: Larry Graham, GrahamStudioOne.COM
“The Struggle for Marriage Equality in Louisiana:
A Timeline”
2014 has been a remarkable year in the struggle for marriage equality. Same-sex
marriage is now legal in 35 states and several lawsuits challenging same-sex marriage
bans in the remaining states are working their way through the court system. Legal
observers predict the Supreme Court will ultimately take up the issue. The case that
makes it to the Supreme Court may very well come from Louisiana.
That case is Robicheaux V. George. Jon Robicheaux and Derek Penton were legally
married in Iowa and are challenging Louisiana’s refusal to recognize their marriage.
Another significant case is Costanza and Brewer V. Caldwell. Angela Marie Costanza and
Chasity Shanelle Brewer were legally married in California and, in addition to asking
Louisiana to recognize their marriage, are asking the state to permit the adoption of their
Here is a time-line of the two cases:
1999. Louisiana Legislature passes a
law outlawing same-sex marriage.
September 18, 2004. Louisiana passes
a constitutional amendment banning samesex marriage (77.78% of the electorate
votes in favor of the ban).
October 5, 2004. State District Judge
William Morvant rules the amendment unconstitutional.
January 19, 2005. Louisiana Supreme
Court overturns Judge Morvant’s decision,
reinstates the ban.
September 23, 2012. Jon Robicheaux
and Derek Penton are legally married in
January 22, 2014. Robert Welles and
Garth Beauregard apply for a marriage
license in Orleans Parish (the application is
denied); couple files a federal suit (Eastern
District of Louisiana) which is eventually
joined to the Robicheaux suit.
June 26, 2013. The U.S. Supreme
Court overturns Section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) (Windsor V. United
July 12, 2013. Angela Marie Costanza
and Chasity Shanelle Brewer (who were
legally married in California on 8.8.08) file
a petition for Intrafamily Adoption.
July 16, 2013. Lawyers on behalf of
Robicheaux and Penton file a lawsuit in
Federal Court (5th Circuit) challenging
Louisiana’s refusal to legally acknowledge
their marriage (other plaintiffs include
Courtney and Nadine Blanchard).
July 26, 2013. State District Judge
Edward Broussard dismisses Costanza and
Brewer V. Caldwell.
December 2, 2013. U.S. District Judge
Martin Feldman dismisses Robicheaux V.
Caldwell on a technicality (the plaintiffs had
named only Louisiana Attorney General
James Caldwell as a defendant).
January 13, 2014. Robicheaux V.
Caldwell is re-filed, naming officials with
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Revenue as
February 5, 2014. State District Judge
Rubin grants Costanza and Brewer’s application for adoption.
February 12, 2014. The Forum for
Equality Louisiana and four gay couples
(Jackie and Lauren Brettner, Henry Lambert and Carey Bond, Dr. Nick Van Sickels
and Andrew Bond, Havard Scott and Sergio
March Prieto) file a separate lawsuit in
Federal Court asking their marriages be
recognized by the State of Louisiana.
March 18, 2014. Judge Feldman consolidates the Forum for Equality case with
the Robicheaux case.
June 11, 2014. Judge Rubin’s adoption ruling in the Costanza and Brewer V.
Caldwell case is vacated.
June 25, 2014. Judge Feldman hears
oral arguments in the Robicheaux case.
September 3, 2014. Judge Feldman
rules Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban is
constitutional and that Louisiana does not
have to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.
September 5, 2014. Plaintiffs in
Robicheaux case appeal to the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
September 22, 2014. Judge Edward
Rubin of the 15th Louisiana District Court
rules in Costanza and Brewer V. Caldwell in
favor of the right to marry reasoning that
Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban violates the equal protection clause of the 14th
September 25, 2014. The State of
Louisiana appeals Judge Rubin’s ruling.
October 7, 2014. Lambda Legal joins
the Robicheaux case.
November 20, 2014 Petition for Writ of
Certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court
(this petition essentially asks the Supreme
Court to accept the case).
January 9, 2015. The 5th Circuit Court
of Appeals will hear arguments from both
sides in three same-sex marriage cases
(from Louisiana, Robicheaux v. Caldwell;
from Mississippi, Campaign for Southern
Equality v. Bryant; and from Texas, DeLeon
v. Perry). On the same day, the U.S.
Supreme Court will consider accepting the
Robicheaux case.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census,
there are 8,076 same-sex couples living in
Has Banner Year
by Frank Perez
BreakOUT!, the New Orleans based
transgender youth advocacy group, has
had a very productive year. In 2014, the
group can point to the following accomplishments:
> Graduated 11 LGBTQ youth of color
from the newly launched “Building Our
Power Institute” and trained them on youth
organizing, political education, racism and
oppression, and LGBTQ history
> Released We Deserve Better: A
Report on Policing in New Orleans by and
For Queer and Trans Youth of Color, the
result of over a year’s worth of participatory
action research with help from the National
Council on Crime and Delinquency
> Shared the stories of 5 transgender
young women from New Orleans to audiences in New York, NY and Philadelphia,
PA through their performance “Say My
Name, Say My Name” with Ping Chong +
> Co-Launched GetYrRights, a national “know your rights” network for LGBTQ
youth with Streetwise and Safe and over 30
network members
> Hosted “Ending Violence, Ending
Criminalization” regional training academy
with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence
Programs in New Orleans, LA and brought
youth to present at over 5 conferences
around the country from Detroit, MI to Dallas, TX
> Held a youth-led forum with the new
Police Chief along with ReThink, Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association,
and other youth organizations from around
the city
> Were featured on MTV and Logo’s
documentary, “The T Word,” with Laverne
The mission of BreakOUT! is to seek
the end of the criminalization of lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and to build a safer and
more just New Orleans. The group builds
on the rich cultural tradition of resistance in
the South to build the power of LGBTQ
youth ages 13-25 and directly impacts the
criminal justice system through youth organizing, healing justice, and leadership development programs.
Book Review
by Frank Perez
Coming Out to Play. Robbie Rogers
with Eric Marcus. Penguin Books. 2014.
ISBN: 978-0-14-312661-4. 222 pages.
Coming Out to Play is a memoir by
Robbie Rogers, the professional soccer
player who made history last year by being
the first openly gay man to compete in a
major North American professional sports
league. The book details Rogers’ long
struggle to hide his sexuality from his family
and teammates and his decision to finally
come out.
In these out and proud times, the “Coming Out” story as a genre may seem passé,
but Rogers effectively demonstrates that
such stories are still important. The book
reminds us that despite all the strides we
have made as a community, homophobia is
still very much alive and well and that there
is still much more progress to be made.
Rogers’ story is, of course, inspirational. The writing, however, is not so
inspired. The book’s narrative style is not
bad; it’s just not great. Written in a conversational style, the book is an easy read. My
chief complaint with it is that Rogers often
resorts to cliché: Rogers is “blessed” to
have a loving family, “I have my whole life
ahead of me,” etc. Okay, that’s wonderful,
if not terribly engaging. Critics and commentators have called Rogers courageous—and he is. But courage does not
always translate into provocative writing.
Fans of memoir, readers who like coming out stories, and those who enjoy sports
biographies will enjoy this book. Closeted
gay men would benefit from reading this
Robbie Rogers has played for the
Columbus Crew, the U.S. Olympic national
team, and Leeds United in the U.K., and
currently plays for the L.A. Galaxy. Rogers
is also co-owner of Halsey, a menswear
brand, and is a co-founder of and ambassador for the Beyond “it” campaign, a nonprofit organization fighting stereotypes. He
lives in Los Angeles.
Eric Marcus is the author and coauthor
of several books, including Breaking the
Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis.
What does "Gay New
Orleans" Mean to You?
My Gay New Orleans is an exciting
new book Jeff Palmquist and Frank Perez
are editing and will consist of a collection of
personal essays from various members of
the New Orleans LGBT+ community. Each
contributor will answer the same question:
What does “gay New Orleans” mean to
me? In other words, each contributor will
describe his or her gay New Orleans. By
sharing your own experience and unique
perspective, your story will help illustrate
the incredible diversity within New Orleans
LGBT+ community.
There are no wrong ways to write this
essay. All you have to do is describe what
gay New Orleans means to you. Do include
a working title for your narrative and short
bio (one paragraph) for the “About the
Contributors” section that will appear at the
end of the book. That being stated, here
are some writing prompts. You need not
answer or respond to all these questions
and prompts; these are simply guidelines.
> What brought you to New Orleans?
Or if you are a frequent visitor, what keeps
bringing you back to New Orleans?
> What do you do for a living?
> What aspects of the gay community
are you involved in? Organizations, Carnival Krewes, clubs, sports leagues, etc.
> How do you identify yourself with in
the LGBT+ community? Lesbian, Bear,
Transgendered? Bisexual? Drag King /
Queen? Leather person? Etc.
Did New Orleans play a role in
your coming out? If so, how?
> What role has New Orleans played
in your growth as a LGBT+ person?
> How does your gay experience in
New Orleans differ from other cities?
> Any special memories or scandalous
> Think of (and write about) one specific event that captures your feelings about
being gay in New Orleans
Tone: Your choice. Humorous, serious, poignant, angry, a combination
thereof—you decide
Font: Times New Roman, size 12
Length: 1,000 to 6,000 words or 2 to
12- pages
Deadline: February 28, 2015
Submissions should be formatted in
Microsoft Word and sent as an attachment
in an email to [email protected] by
January 15, 2015. Please include “MGNO
Submission” in the subject line. The main
text of the email should include your name
as you want it to appear in the book and
your contact information.
6 • The Official Mag©
©: AmbushMag.com • Dec. 30, 2014-Jan. 12, 2015 • Of
ficial Gay Mar
di Gras Guide© since 1982 • GayMar
SouthernDecadence.com • Dec. 30, 2014-Jan. 12, 2015 • Facebook.com/AmbushMag • The Official Mag©
©: AmbushMag.com • 7
book review
under the gaydar
by Tony Leggio
Email: [email protected]
Photo by: Larry Graham
Hot Happenings
Below is a listing of a few of the noteworthy events coming up. Check out all the
fun, festive and fabulous picks. There
should be something here to start your new
year off right.
Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014
Send out the new year with a bang,
literally as you join the Lords of Leather for
their New Year’s Eve Fetish Ball. Nothing
says welcome 2015 like chains, whips,
rubber suits or leashes. This event will be
held from 7 - 10:30pm upstairs at the Phoenix. It is a $20 donation which gets you all
the well drinks and domestic beer you can
drink. Coat check will be available. Fetish,
Leather gear encouraged but not required.
If that is a little too much for you, they will
also have a $5 beer bust from 9pm - midnight on the patio. The Phoenix is located
at 941 Elysian Fields.
to travel all the way out to San Diego to get
up close and personal to some of the top
stars in the genre because Wizard World
presents the New Orleans 2015 Comic
Con. There are three days of events,
exhibitions and some of the hottest stars in
from television and the big screen. Some of
the featured celebrities include Tom Felton
from Harry Potter, Norman Reedus from
Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015
Moving quickly from one holiday to the
next, it is time to start the Carnival season
with the Mystic Krewe of Satyricon’s 12th
Night Ball. Join this fun group of men and
women at their premier fundraiser of the
year for the introduction of King and Queen
Satyricon XIII, a traditional holiday buffet, a
very cool silent auction, the announcement
of Satyricon’s bal masque theme, and the
crowning of the King and Queen of 12th
Night (chosen by a drawing from among the
attendees). Black tie is preferred. The
event will take place from 7 to 10pm at the
home of Marshall Harris, 4314 Bancroft
Street. Tickets are $20. For more information, check out their Facebook page or go
to www.mystickreweofsatryricon.com.
Sunday, Jan. 4
Sisters are doing for themselves; that
is the Big Easy Sisters. In honor of the
Mardi Gras season kickoff and a pre 12th
Night celebration, the Big Easy Sisters are
holding their 2nd annual Sister Gras 2015 at
GrandPre’s from 4 – 8pm. The proceeds for
their event will benefit Belle Reve. The
activities include raffles, auction, Jello shots,
entertainment and king cakes. So come
spend the afternoon at GrandPre’s (834
North Rampart) with the one-of-a-kind Big
Easy Sisters.
Wednesdays, Jan. 7 - 21
Did you escape the horror of the holidays? Well, if you did not get your fix of
murder and mayhem with your family this
year, then come out for the viewing of each
new episode of American Horror Story
every Wednesday starting at 9pm at the
Tulane Avenue Bar. This cool new bar is
part of the renaissance of new businesses
trying to bring back this great street so
please support this place. There will be
unexpected horror, complimentary food,
and prizes and more. Tulane Avenue Bar
is located at 3813 Tulane Avenue.
Friday – Sunday, Jan. 9 - 11
Lovers of sci-fi and horror do not have
Tom Felton
the Walking Dead, Hotties Ian Somerhalder
and Paul Wesley from the Vampire Diaries, Brett Dalton, Karl Urban and my alltime favorite Bruce Campbell. Also I am a
Charmed TV show fanatic, so I was beside
myself to find out Brian Krause, Holly MarieCombs and Ms. Shannon Doherty will be in
attendance. For tickets and more information, go to www.wizardworld.com. And may
the force be with you (sorry cold not help
and East Jefferson General Hospital Broadway in New Orleans. Seen by over 54
million people around the world, MAMMA
MIA!, is celebrating 5,000 performances
on Broadway and is the 9th longest running
show in Broadway history. The story is
simple, it follows an independent, single
mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic
Greek island named Donna who is about to
let go of Sophie, the spirited daughter she’s
raised alone. For Sophie’s wedding, Donna
has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends—
practical and no-nonsense Rosie and
wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya - from her
one-time backing band, Donna and the
Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited
three guests of her own. On a quest to find
the identity of her father to walk her down
the aisle, she brings back three men from
Donna’s past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Over 24
chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom
and old romances will be rekindled on this
lush island full of possibilities. Inspired by
the storytelling magic of ABBA’s songs from
“Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” to “Money,
Money, Money” and “Take a Chance on
Me,” MAMMA MIA! is a celebration of
mothers and daughters, old friends and
new family found.
The performance schedule for
MAMMA MIA! at the Saenger Theatre
(1111 Canal St., New Orleans, LA ) is
Tuesday, January 13, at 7:30pm; Wednesday, January 14, at 7:30pm; Thursday,
January 15, at 7:30pm; Friday, January 16,
at 8pm; Saturday, January 17, at 2pm and
8pm and Sunday, January, 18, at 2pm and
Tickets for MAMMA MIA! start at $25,
available at the Saenger Theatre Box Office, BroadwayInNewOrleans.com, and all
Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (800.
982.2787. Group sales are offered for
groups of 10 or more and will be available
by calling 504.287.0372. For information
about MAMMA MIA! visit www.MammaMia.com.
Saturday, January 10
Start the New Year sparkling with fashion, costuming, champagne and creativity.
Join the Friday Night Before Mardi Gras in
New Orleans 12th night promo party aptly
titled Sparkle Glitz that brings together
NYC costume designer Allán Herrera with
jewelry artist Megan C-word W-word and
DJ Mark Louque for a day of models, custom couture, frivolity and fun. Guest will get
the chance to explore the beautiful modern
home of Kim Smith and join the Glitz Guys
and Gals in the heated pool, bid on custom
fashions or get fitted for your own, enjoy
good beats, fine food and flowing cocktails.
The event takes place from 3 – 7pm then
follows their Second Line brass band to an
after party at The Friendly Bar, where a
portion of your tab benefits the cause. It’s an
open bar all day for just $30 at the door ($20
if you come in costume) to benefit HIV/AIDS
services in our community. Call John Michael
Alderson to reserve your tickets in advance
at 504.821.2601 ext. 218. The event is
located at 2516 Charters Street.
Tuesday – Sunday, Jan. 13 – 18
You can dance, you can jive, Having
the time of your life, Ooh see that girl, watch
that scene, Diggin’ the dancing queen! One
of my favorite feel good musicals is coming
to the Saenger in January. Benny Andersson
and Björn Ulvaeus’ MAMMA MIA!, the
smash hit musical based on the songs of
ABBA, returns to New Orleans presented
by the New Orleans Theatre Association
Party Down
Merry Christmas one and all, it is not
the hallowed holiday yet, but by the time
you read this, Santa will have come and
gone. I hope everyone got everything their
little heart desired, now onto the New Year,
but before that let’s take a reminiscent stroll
through my adventurous last two weeks.
We begin on Monday with the opening
party for the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon. This stylized event included a red
carpet entrance with fabulous music, delicious bites and a sneak peek into one of the
newest lodging offerings in the city. AC
Hotel New Orleans Bourbon/French Quarter is the first of the brand to enter the United
States, so we are very fortunate to have
them here. The place is chic with modern
features and boasts 220 hotel rooms over
eight floors. It was a great way to kick off the
The following day, I made it a Tulane
Avenue sort of evening. I started with
dinner at Treo, then cocktails afterwards at
the Tulane Avenue Bar with my friend Nick.
The revitalization on the once famous thoroughfare is taking hold with all the new
dining establishments, condominiums and
businesses getting ready for the opening of
the new medical complex. Treo is one of
those great new arrivals with craft cocktails
and tasty bar food giving their sophisticated
take on the old pub atmosphere. And the
Tulane Avenue Bar is just a fun neighbor-
hood tavern with a friendly staff, nice décor
and stiff drinks. It is a perfect night out with
friends when you are looking for something
to do outside of downtown.
On Thursday, it was all about the
house parties. I love old-fashioned holiday
gatherings at people’s homes. They are
always so warm and inviting. My evening
started with a lovely holiday soiree at the
home of Richard Perque for the Human
Relations Commission. Richard opened
up his gorgeous home Uptown strategically
placed right next door to the brand new
Martin’s Wine Cellar (great positioning).
Richard was recently made Commissioner
of this worthwhile organization that is a
municipal agency which enforces the City’s
Human Relations Rights laws. The Commission works to end discrimination and
promote equal human rights. Next, I was
back in my hood, the Marigny for Lawrence
Gobble’s holiday themed party simply entitled Love. Everyone who attended was
given the opportunity to give to the wonderful organization, Love is Louder. He also
teamed up with Campaign of Love and had
great gifts for the season available for sale.
Half of everything they sold at the party
went to Love is Louder. But the special part
of the night was seeing friends and partaking in some great food and drink. Lawrence’s
home is stunning and the perfect culmination to the festive evening.
I began the weekend by going to several parties on Friday night beginning with
Studio 3’s special night at their warehouse
in Mid-City. Studio 3 makes three-dimensional figures for Mardi Gras as well as
designs floats. They hosted an evening at
their facility which can be rented out as an
event space and they joined forces with a
local performance group who specialize in
circus arts. There were large walking
heads dressed as Marilyn Monroe and
Elvis, acrobats hanging from the center of
the facility and lots of refreshments. There
is something about going to a party at a
place where you are surrounded by large
3D props. Afterwards, I went to ArtSpot
Productions Naughty Holiday event at a
grand home in the Bywater. There was lots
of food and libations flowing, a cuddle room
(you paid someone to cuddle with you on
the bed), a massage room, a dirty poem
room and a very risqué spinning board
game. You can take pictures with a groping
Santa or enjoy the fabulous burlesque show.
There was plenty to see and do to keep
your name off the nice list this holiday, but
then again bad is the new good. The event
was a fundraiser for the wonderful ArtSpot
who produces noteworthy theatrical productions throughout the year. If you get the
chance, see one of their amazing shows.
Saturday was more laid back, some
friends and I decided to stay close to the
neighborhood and went to some of the art
gallery openings in the Marigny/Bywater
which the second Saturday of each month
hosts these openings. Most of the galleries
are located on St. Claude and have some
unique art. We grabbed a bite at Sugar
Park restaurant also located on the street,
which in my humble opinion has some of the
best pizza in the city.
Sunday was quite the crazy day starting with participating in the Santa Paws
event at downtown. Beaux, Barrett and I
dressed our respective dogs Dove and
Rose in holiday attire for the cute dog
parade that went from Lafayette Square
across from Gallier Hall to the Convention
[continued on 12]
8 • The Official Mag©
©: AmbushMag.com • Dec. 30, 2014-Jan. 12, 2015 • Of
ficial Gay Mar
di Gras Guide© since 1982 • GayMar
SouthernDecadence.com • Dec. 30, 2014-Jan. 12, 2015 • Facebook.com/AmbushMag • The Official Mag©
©: AmbushMag.com • 9
10 • The Official Mag©
©: AmbushMag.com • Dec. 30, 2014-Jan. 12, 2015 • Of
ficial Gay Mar
di Gras Guide© since 1982 • GayMar
Ho, Ho, Ho! Holiday Shots ~ New Orleans, Slidell ~ Photos by Frankie Fierce, Charles Jenkins, Tony Leggio, Rip Naquin

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