e-mail/letters Volume 21/Issue 18/2003
Subject: SD 2003
To whom it may concern,
I just returned home to Houston after attending Southern Decadence. This was my 7th and by far the BEST Southern Decadence I have ever been to. It had crossed my mind to cancel with all the controversy but then I realized that is exactly what the Rev wanted. This had to be the most organized, most exciting and best of all, most attended that I have seen. The Times-Picayune quoted the Rev saying that attendance was down by half. Actually I think it was doubled. Thanks again for letting me speak my mind and keep up the good work. Iíll be seeing yaíll next year.
Sincerely, --Paul Landry
I have faithfully watched your new coverage for 28 years. Tonight, I will begin to watch Channel 6 news. I have followed the coverage of the Southern Decadence for the past several days on channel 4. In my opinion, it has a biased focus for Rev. Grant E. Stormsí effort to keep Southern Decadence out of New Orleans. Every group has been welcome in New Orleans, but you seem to want to remove 90 MILLION DOLLARS from our economy, especially in the summer. Tonight I watched Channel 6 news to see a story about Rev. Grant E. Stormsí arrest for battery when attempting to enter a private establishment with a video camera. I then watched the rebroadcast of your news on channel 15. There was no mention of the Rev. Grant E. Stormsí arrest on your newscast. Are you biased about Gay and Lesbian issues? It sure seems that you are! I then watched a story, on Channel 6 News about a man attending Southern Decadence being a victim of a HATE CRIME in New Orleans being stabbed in the back(what a coward: Tod W. Martinek, 53 was to attack from behind). Then I watched, on channel 4 news, FOUR INANE stories about national news: Sept 11 memory bells in New York, Outback killing in Texarcanna, California Govís race and the Jerry Louis Telethon! I think you are biased about Gay and Lesbian issues.
Subject: Southern Decadence 2003
I would like the address of as many appropriate agencies, government groups, committees, and Organizers of the SD event so I can complain about the 2003 Southern Decadence security fiasco. This was my third year coming to Southern Decadence. There were twelve of us in my group and I would like to share our experience of being hassled by yellow shirt security, stomped on by police horses, witnessing police integration inside gay bars and being discriminated against at our own event.
Although I do not condone public sex nor urination in the streets, the "police state" restrictions went way too far! They were in-appropriate and destroyed the spirit of the event. It was clearly sexual orientation discrimination. Neither my friends nor I will attend this event next year.
I would strongly suggest advertisers remove this event from their preferred lists and from recommending New Orleans as a gay travel destination.
Please forward this around and please let me know who else I can address my comments to.
Sincerely, --Cameron Cox, Los Angeles, CA, Cameron_cox@msn.com
Subject: Letter to the editor
(Some moron from L.A. wrote this letter to the local media:) [see above e-mail]
You know, I thought nothing could make me angrier than the local media giving Godís Chosen Loon from Marrero the ink and airwaves he could never attain by anything resembling a personal accomplishment, but Cameron Coxís letter (forwarded to this list) made me realize I still had one last nerve to be plucked.
I havenít gone to Decadence in years. Most of my friends gave it up when it stopped being about costumes and fun and turned into a meth-soaked steroid lost weekend, where out-of-towners came to engage in the sort of behavior that provided ammunition for the Storms of this world. Based on the tone of Coxís letter, Iíd guess that he was one of them.
"Hassled by yellow-shirt security"? FYI, that security was comprised of volunteers from the local community, who gave their time to ensure that the jackass contingent who have ruined Decadence in the past didnít get their buffed and toned behinds thrown in the O.P.P. this year.
"Stomped on by police horses"? Got pictures, pumpkin? Iím serious. With all the cameras around, Iím sure somebody got photos of you and your friends crushed and bleeding under the hooves of the 8th District Mounted Police. Anyone? Anyone?? Bueller???
"Witnessing police integration inside gay bars"? I have no idea what this means. From all accounts, the cops did a fine job of letting the party and the protest co-exist.
"Being discriminated against at our own event"? Buddy, by your own words, youíve been coming to Decadence for only THREE YEARS. I know this may be a shocker, but: Itís not YOUR event. Itís OUR event, put on by the people of New Orleans for their friends and guests for decades. Donít like it? By all means, stay home next time and bask in the fun of Los Angelesí Southern Decadence.
What really frosted me about Coxís letter, though, was his claim of "sexual orientation discrimination." Obviously this spoiled man-child hasnít been around anything resembling real discrimination in his life. If he had, he would have known that what he was seeing was a partnership of French Quarter residents, the 8th District police, and volunteers from the gay community PROTECTING Decadence celebrants from discrimination and harassment. Let me break it down further:
Sexual orientation discrimination is: Being fired from your job for being gay.
Sexual orientation discrimination is: Not being allowed to visit your partner in the hospital because youíre lesbian.
Sexual orientation discrimination is: Getting stabbed with a five-inch steak knife on Bourbon Street because some chowderheaded maniac believed the poison he was hearing on TV and decided to do something about it.
Donít come back.
ó Kevin Allman
Subject: Proud of the pride
I just wanted to tell the community, bars, and New Orleans how proud I was, for the first time, that we decided to band together as a group, show our colors, and prove we were better than average when all the hoopla of the "storm" was happening. Iíve only been out 13 years, and have lived here with my lover for 11 of those.
I have never been more excited to see the colors displayed from Rampart to every house that had a flag. The bars were phenomenally decorated (notice, I didnít say gayly..LOL), and made me reflect on the big flag that I see every time I visit SF. What a way to show people our solidarity!
Thanks for listening. Would love to see the same PRIDE in our Pride Festival. Any way to promote that?
Subject: Decadence 2003 Sucked
Good luck next year! This year sucked and it would take a thousand hot, naked men to carry me back before I would go again. YOU should have seen what was coming and taken a bigger stand against it. I understand and some what agree with the "no public sex", but flashing is not sex and it goes on year round with straight people. No cameras in the clubs? I paid a fortune to get into clubs and was not permitted to take a camera with me so I could take pictures of the crowds and friends in the streets!!!!
I could have expected the cops and city officials to behave the way they did, but I was shocked to see how the bars and Southern Decadence people just bent over and took it up the ass! I am furious for the way I was treated by the entire city of New Orleans, including the gay community.
You will pay dearly for this next year.
Subject: Treatment of Southern Decadence Attendees
Attendees of the Southern Decadence celebration received less than a warm reception from the City of New Orleans and some of its citizens!
Point #1: All pertinent information regarding the Southern Decadence event had tagged to them the themed "Public SEX = 10 Days in Jail." Seems as if more resources were utilized warning participants of the real threat of spending 10 days in jail: instead of welcoming and encouraging people to visit the city of New Orleans.
Also, the standard operating procedures in many gay clubs were changed just for this event. Clubs that normally were dark; were completely lighted and had staff circulating with flash lights to make sure there were no "indecent" activities taking place on the premises.
In addition, women strippers in straight bars routinely show everything; the male strippers, during Southern Decadence normally show everything too. Not this year. The male strippers barely stripped down to g-strings.
This is my perception: the bars must have been threatened with the loss of their business and/or liquor licenses if undercover agents or police discovered "indecent" activities taking place on their premises.
These actions make attendees feel like children. Where else in New Orleans are the activities of visitors and businesses so closely monitored?
Point #2: An OVERWHELMING Police presence. At one point at the corner of Bourbon & St. Peters, I counted no less than 21 officers with horses, paddy wagons, and numerous patrol cars. The official reply from the police department might be: "they were present for our "safety."" However, the perception many of the attendees interpreted from this presence is: it was more important to the Police Department that particular weekend to make sure there was absolutely no "public indecency" of any kind.
CONGRATULATIONS! The police department succeeded. I witnessed not one exposed genital or sex act during the entire weekend "celebration" inside or outside a business.
During this event were there any other uses for these police officers? Could there have been some murders, shopliftings, kidnappings, rapes, assaults, and/or car thefts in this police jurisdiction? Might these officers have been better utilized to make sure all the citizens of New Orleans were safe and protected?
During the OFFICIAL Mardi Gras, I would certainly hope the Police Department is as diligent in preventing the same "indecent" acts and behaviors that had been associated with Southern Decadence from occurring during the "straight" Mardi Gras.
Indeed, participants before they come to Mardi Gras 2004 should all be warned of the possibility of spending 10 days in jail, if they happen to "cut loose" in the "Big Easy." This Southern Decadence weekend, for me, felt more like an elementary school field trip; every action performed was being closely monitored and watched for appropriateness.
Point #3: During the event, demonstrators were shouting and holding signs condemning the gay life style. I certainly can not hold the City responsible for these individuals exercising their free speech rights. However, these actions are an attempt by the good Rev. Grant Storms to end Southern Decadence. Rev. Storms just might have succeeded.
Anyone going on vacation does not want the local citizenry marching in protest of their visit. This is not welcoming, especially when the mayor and police department seem to have the ear of these particular religious zealots.
All of these points add up to an unwelcoming New Orleans ó at least for the Southern Decadence celebration.
Economic Impact: The official impact of this event is placed at $96 million dollars. Personally, I spent over $700.00 on hotel, cab, limo, restaurant, bar, tax, and personal expenses. Is the city prepared to lose this event and its economic impact?
What happens next? Word will circulate in the gay community like wild fire. It will become known that during Southern Decadence:
#1 - Attendees are not welcomed by the City of New Orleans
#2 - Attendees can spend 10 days in jail
#3 - Attendees will be harassed by local citizens.
This was my FIRST time attending Southern Decadence; I think itís my last!
Written by: --L. Clifton Oliver, II, SE Smyrna, GA, HardCliff@aol.com
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