Two gay bars in New Orleans. The Phoenix and The Rawhide Lounge are accusing that the state’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) have unfairly singled them out for citations just one week before Mardi Gras.
In a Facebook post, The Phoenix wrote:
ATC cited us that we were in violation of some state laws. The citations were not unlike what we have seen them recently give other gay bars. We plan on attending our hearing and stating our case.
An attack on one of us is an attack on all us. We hope you stand with us…. We have been so honored to be a part of this community for more than 35 years. We love hosting the local queer groups for monthly fundraisers and special events.
As we work toward our hearing date, the entire bar is open, upstairs and down.
In the past the ATC has suspended three bars’ liquor licenses over charges of facilitating sex work, underage stripping and drug sale.
Louisiana law prohibits public and non-public “indecency,” but the law is vaguely written and selectively enforced. The Phoenix is known for it’s upstairs “dark room” cruising area.
Michael Musa, Director of Operations at the Rawhide Lounge, told Big Easy magazine the ATC imposed “numerous fines, citations, and imposed regulations on how to operate,” after the city’s 2018 Southern Decadence celebration:
According to Musa, when The Rawhide’s lawyer asked the ATC commissioner why the citations issued were harsher than those previously given to New Orleans strip clubs charged with prostitution, the commissioner said that she “felt these violations were worse.” The lawyer then asked if she truly felt that “acts between two consenting males in a restroom” were worse than prostitution. The commissioner backtracked.
The New Orleans Human Relations Commission (HRC), the city government’s civil rights office, has also issued the following statement:
We are aware of the recent enforcement actions taken against the The Phoenix, The Rawhide and others. We stand with our LGBTQ+ residents and our LGBTQ+ owned businesses and we always will. These enforcement entities are *not* under the City’s control, but we are concerned whenever our residents feel targeted. We are actively engaging all involved and will continue to do so.
It’s estimated that about 100.000 LGBT people visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
At least two Boston gay bars have received threatening phone calls this weekend at about the same time on consecutive nights, prompting police investigations into both.
“We don’t take any threats lightly,” said Police Commissioner William G. Gross “Everybody should be able to enjoy any establishment that they wish to go into in the City of Boston. Whether it’s the Alley or the dbar, you should be able to enjoy yourself peacefully.”
A spokesman for the department confirmed that a threatening call was answered by an employee at Dbar, a full-service restaurant and nightclub on Dorchester Avenue, Friday night.
Another call targeted The Alley Bar, a nightclub located downtown, Saturday night. The calls came into the bars about 7:30 on both nights.
The Boston Globe reported on the threat to The Alley: “Rocco LaMonica, the bar’s manager on duty, said a doorman answered the bar’s phone and heard the threats. LaMonica would not comment on what happened during the call but said it ‘was threatening enough that we needed to call the police.’ ‘We’re not going to stand back for anybody,’ LaMonica said.
The police department wouldn’t say whether the incidents were linked and didn’t release any further information about the nature of the threats.
Gross, however, assured both businesses that “all of the areas will be covered” in the investigation.
‘You can’t take a chance now. If we receive calls for threats, we’re going to investigate it, we’re going to investigate it to the fullest potential and hope we get the individual making those threats,” Gross said.
“I am happy to see such passion and energy in support of gay rights. We just need to channel that passion and energy to those who would deny us those rights. The dinner with Ted Cruz happened only because IT WAS NOT A FUNDRAISER. It was about security for Israel, but it also gave me a rare opportunity to address the gay issues for which Ted Cruz has championed against. THREE FACTS WILL MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR TED CRUZ TO BE THE CHAMPION AGAINST GAY RIGHTS: 1) he had a private dinner (not a fund raiser) at a gay couples home, 2) he is in several pictures at that gay household, and 3) he stated he would love his daughter the same if she were gay. Those facts are difficult to reconcile with his stance on gay issues — Ted’s far right anti-gay supporters are screaming now. We need to be persistent with our message and it will slowly seep thru even to those most vehemently against gay rights.
“Ken Mehlman was the Chair of the Republican National Committee whose platform included several anti-gay positions. Later in life Ken was instrumental in the passage of Gay Marriage in NY State. People’s views can be changed over time. I worked 6 years for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which required many unpleasant conversations with people who opposed Gays in the Military. And it worked! THE GAY MOVEMENT NEEDS YOUR HELP. Tell those people that are against us or just neutral, that gay people have families, friends, some worship in church and we don’t want to be demonized. Light up social media with calls for the SUPREME COURT TO RULE IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE! #SUPREMESFORMARRIAGE – Mati Weiderpass,
Translation: I got caught being a Kapo, quick backpedal before I lose too much business. After all it’s about the money.
Some of the most historical gay property in America next to The Stonewall Inn, namely the business strip of the Fire Island Pines home to The Pavillion Nightclub, The Blue Whale, and the harbor-front which became a destination for millions of gay men since it was founded in 1952 have been sold at auction for $10.1 Million dollars to Manhattan Hotelier Ian Reisner
Via the New York Times:
A strip of commercial real estate along the harbor in Fire Island Pines sold for $10.1 million at auction on Thursday to developers with plans to continue the revival of a former mecca for closeted gay men. The sale price was well below the $25 million the previous owners sought when they placed it on the market last fall, and below the $17 million they paid for it in 2010. In a deal hammered out over more than six hours, the property was bought by Ian Reisner, who also owns the Out NYC, a hotel on West 42nd Street in Manhattan that focuses on a gay clientele. The deal is expected to close in February.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Reisner said he, his business partner and a small team of investors planned to spend $4 million over the next 18 months to “renovate and rejuvenate” the property, which includes a hotel, a nightclub, a restaurant, a bar and retail space. The Pavilion nightclub in Fire Island Pines was rebuilt after a 2011 fire and reopened, but in the interim the crowd moved on. “My idea for the Out was to have a place for L.G.B.T., because we didn’t have that at the time,” said Mr. Reisner, who said he has been visiting Fire Island Pines since he came out as gay in 1989. “The Pines is the Out.”
Hopefully Mr. Reisner will see the historical value to the community and spotlight some of it in the rebuilding.
As for the writer of the New York Times article that this is quoted from, Ashley Southhall () who starts her article with:
“A strip of commercial real estate along the harbor in Fire Island Pines sold for $10.1 million at auction on Thursday to developers with plans to continue the revival of a former mecca for closeted gay men.”
“Meccaa for CLOSETED GAY MEN”?
Ms Southall you need to learn how to do research before you write a story.
Fire Island was a mecca for ALL GAY MEN, LESBIANS, BISEXUALS, DRAG QUEENS, and TRANSGENDERED people and their straight allies and friends for more decades than you have been alive. What you wrote Ms. Southall is not only insulting to the entire gay community and insulting New York Times readers who know more history than you. To which it seems there are many.