1977 Protest of Against Anita Bryant; Municipal Auditorium
Residing within the Louis Armstrong Park, the Municipal Auditorium is a large stone structure that can be found towards the center of the public grounds. The building is designed with an assortment of arch-shaped windows, multi-tiered stories, rectangular stone pillars, and engravings declaring its association to several facets of the humanities such as “music,” “poetry,” and “art.” The auditorium, which is now closed, was home in 1977 to a protest organized by the New Orleans gay community against anti-gay celebrity Anita Bryant.
Backstory and Context
After having fought for the repeal of anti-discriminatory legislation protecting the civil rights of Miami’s queer residents, Anita Bryant, a national pageant winner and moderate singing sensation, was set to make her first public appearance in New Orleans at the Summer Pops festival. When said news arrived to the city, the Gertrude Stein Society, a gay organization founded by Alan Robinson in order to correct the disjointed and classist nature of the queer community in New Orleans, met with other queer organizations to formulate a response. By the time of the concert on June 18, 1977, twenty-four organizations, including the Metropolitan Community Church, gay Mardi Gras Krewes, and feminist groups combined forces to create the Human Rights for Everyone (HERE) initiative, which then led around three thousand protestors from Jackson Square to this location, the Municipal Auditorium, interrupting Bryant’s performance with peaceful demonstration.
Batson, Roberts. “New Orleans.” glbtq Archives. Glbtq, Inc., 2004. http://www.glbtqarchive.com/ssh/new_orleans_S.pdf.
Perez, Frank. “H.E.R.E. Protest Against Anita Bryant.” Paper Monuments. Accessed 15 December 2019. https://www.papermonuments.org/pmmv-014-here.
Thompson, Jelisa. “You Make Me Feel: A Study of the Gay Rights Movement in New Orleans.” Honors Theses, Paper 5. University of Southern Mississippi, 2011. https://aquila.usm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=honors_theses.