Christopher Daigle was a banker before he became a gay activist in the early 1990s. Educated at Loyola University, Fairfield University and Dartmouth College, Daigle settled in New Orleans and took a job as the Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life at Tulane University, Daigle became involved in LAGPAC and led the organization for roughly ten years. He joined the Board of Directors in 1993 and became Co-Chair in 1994.
LAGPAC was a political action group that had been founded in 1980 by Roberts Batson and Alan Robinson to advocate for LGBT+ rights. It was the first significant organization in Louisiana dedicated to LGBT+ political advocacy.
Daigle brought to LAGPAC an impressive array of experience: he co-chaired the 1993 Louisiana March on Washington Committee, was the principal organizer of the 1993 March on Mississippi, was the former Director of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in New Orleans, was a member of the HRC Steering Committee, was a member of the Gender Bias Study Group, was a member of Mayor Morial’s transition team on HIV and AIDS issues, was a member of the New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council, and worked on numerous political campaigns. And in 2005, he ran, unsuccessfully, for the State House of Representatives.
Daigle was no stranger to Baton Rouge. He spent countless hours lobbying state legislators not only on behalf of LGBT+ rights, but also for victims of domestic violence.
Daigle and his partner, Rick Cosgriff, lived on Esplanade Avenue just a block and a half away from the Faerie Playhouse—the home of Stewart Butler and Alfred Doolittle, and the meeting place of much LGBT+ organizing. Cosgriff, who was originally from North Dakota, worked on political campaigns in California, including Harvey Milk’s race for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978, before moving to New Orleans in 1990, where he became involved in AIDS activism as well as LAGPAC, serving on its board for much of the 1990s. In 2002, he served as the Director of a homeless youth shelter.
Friends remember Daigle’s keen sense of humor, his commitment to social justice, and the dignity with which he lived his life at a time when living with HIV was anything but easy.
A few months after his passing, Daigle’s good friend Carrie Evans, who served with Daigle as co-chair of LAGPAC from 1999-2001, remembered him this way:
“I think of Chris on many occasions—when I’m sitting on Bayou Lafourche watching the white swamp birds take over the trees for the night, as Mardi Gras season is in full swing, as I walk by Lafitte’s in the Quarter, as I sit in each room of my house and admire a piece of art he had given me, and especially when we make tremendous strides in LGBT equality in our country. There are many nameless or forgotten people who have helped make the lives of LGBT people better in Louisiana. Chris Daigle should not become one of those people. Let us remember Chris’ name, his deeds, and his spirit today and always.”
Daigle died on October 23, 2012.