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The rainbow flag flying in New Orleans in one of the streets in the French Quarter.
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6 historic LGBTQ sites to visit during Pride Month

Check out these six must-see sites to become better acquainted with the tragedies and triumphs of LGBTQ people in New Orleans.

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The rainbow flag flying in New Orleans in one of the streets in the French Quarter.
| Getty Images/iStockphoto

The parade may be over, but we still have a couple weeks left to celebrate Pride Month (and Southern Decadence is only 63 days away). During the last weeks of June, don’t overlook the people and places that contributed to New Orleans’ legacy as a queer mecca. Check out these six must-see sites to become better acquainted with the culture, contributions, and history of LGBTQ people in New Orleans.

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1. 1014 Dumaine St

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1014 Dumaine St
New Orleans, LA 70116

Gay playwright Tennessee Williams lived in many French Quarter residences over the year, but this Dumaine Street townhouse is the only place he ever owned—and the last place he called home in New Orleans, according to reporting by The Times-Picayune.

2. Café Lafitte in Exile

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901 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 522-8397
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Open since 1933, Café Lafitte in Exile claims to be the longest continually operating gay bar in America. Have a drink at any time (it’s open 24 hours a day) and then meander through the rest of the “Fruit Loop,” also known as the circuit of gay bars concentrated on and near the intersection of Bourbon and St. Ann streets.

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3. Louisiana State Museum

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Louisiana State Museum, 751 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Curated by Wayne Phillips and housed in the historic Presbytère, Grand Illusions: The History and Artistry of Gay Carnival in New Orleans is the first-ever exhibition of artifacts collected from gay krewes. Costumes, ball programs, posters, photographs, films, and more comprise the collection, which is on display through December 2020.

4. Hotel Monteleone

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214 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(866) 338-4684
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Gay screenwriter, novelist, and playwright Truman Capote was born in 1924 in New Orleans and lived in the Hotel Monteleone during his early years. He returned frequently as an adult to drink at the hotel’s revolving Carousel Bar, which was also one of Tennessee Williams’ watering holes and remains a gorgeous spot for a brandy milk punch.

5. The Jimani

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141 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 524-0493
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This dive bar was in operation back in 1973, when a fire claimed the lives of 32 men and women who had congregated right above it, at the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar. Started by an arsonist (who was never caught), the fire was the largest mass killing of LGBTQ people until 2016’s mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub. Today, a commemorative plaque marks the somber site.

6. Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC)

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6801 Freret St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 865-5685
Visit Website

The Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University acquired papers, photos, letters, newspapers, diaries, and other documents from prominent figures in the local LGBTQ civil rights movement. Peruse these, as well as gay Carnival ephemera from the 1950s and 1960s. Then, gay Mardi Gras krewes including Yuga and Armeinius met in defiance of laws that prohibited men from dancing together. Gay Mardi Gras balls became sites of civil resistance when krewe members continued to celebrate in the wake of police raids. The archives are open to the public, but it’s best if you arrive with a specific research question.

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1. 1014 Dumaine St

1014 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Gay playwright Tennessee Williams lived in many French Quarter residences over the year, but this Dumaine Street townhouse is the only place he ever owned—and the last place he called home in New Orleans, according to reporting by The Times-Picayune.

1014 Dumaine St
New Orleans, LA 70116

2. Café Lafitte in Exile

901 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Open since 1933, Café Lafitte in Exile claims to be the longest continually operating gay bar in America. Have a drink at any time (it’s open 24 hours a day) and then meander through the rest of the “Fruit Loop,” also known as the circuit of gay bars concentrated on and near the intersection of Bourbon and St. Ann streets.

901 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70116

3. Louisiana State Museum

Louisiana State Museum, 751 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Curated by Wayne Phillips and housed in the historic Presbytère, Grand Illusions: The History and Artistry of Gay Carnival in New Orleans is the first-ever exhibition of artifacts collected from gay krewes. Costumes, ball programs, posters, photographs, films, and more comprise the collection, which is on display through December 2020.

Louisiana State Museum, 751 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130

4. Hotel Monteleone

214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Gay screenwriter, novelist, and playwright Truman Capote was born in 1924 in New Orleans and lived in the Hotel Monteleone during his early years. He returned frequently as an adult to drink at the hotel’s revolving Carousel Bar, which was also one of Tennessee Williams’ watering holes and remains a gorgeous spot for a brandy milk punch.

214 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

5. The Jimani

141 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This dive bar was in operation back in 1973, when a fire claimed the lives of 32 men and women who had congregated right above it, at the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar. Started by an arsonist (who was never caught), the fire was the largest mass killing of LGBTQ people until 2016’s mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub. Today, a commemorative plaque marks the somber site.

141 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130

6. Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC)

6801 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70118

The Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University acquired papers, photos, letters, newspapers, diaries, and other documents from prominent figures in the local LGBTQ civil rights movement. Peruse these, as well as gay Carnival ephemera from the 1950s and 1960s. Then, gay Mardi Gras krewes including Yuga and Armeinius met in defiance of laws that prohibited men from dancing together. Gay Mardi Gras balls became sites of civil resistance when krewe members continued to celebrate in the wake of police raids. The archives are open to the public, but it’s best if you arrive with a specific research question.

6801 Freret St
New Orleans, LA 70118