An Archival Collective Safeguards LGBT+ History
Through a wide array of fundraising and public programming, the LGBT+ Archives Project seeks to “get our history out of the closet,” Perez said. In May 2015 it hosted a personal archiving workshop, providing information on the preservation and storage of collections of personal papers. The collective maintains a detailed bibliography of LGBT+ resources as well a listing of local repositories with related holdings. Other outreach efforts have included meet-and-greet events designed to educate members of the archival community about the mission of the organization, marching in the annual Gay Easter Parade in New Orleans, participation in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge Pride events, and potluck fundraisers.
Each year, typically in the fall, the Archives Project hosts its Oracle Gala, which honors an individual, group, or organization that has donated LGBT-related material to a local repository. The 2018 honorees will be the founders of Southern Decadence, whose archive is now housed at Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection.
The collective’s organizational archive, housed at THNOC, comprises email records, archived versions of the group’s webpage and Facebook page, fliers, copies of meeting agendas and minutes, and copies of the articles of incorporation. In addition to serving as repository, THNOC also hosted an event in June, in conjunction with the Archives Project, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the UpStairs Lounge arson attack. The attack, which remains the deadliest fire in the history of New Orleans, claimed the lives of thirty-two patrons of the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar located at 604 Iberville Street.