Thanks to a grant from the American Library Association's American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries and funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities, Edith Garland Dupré Library has been given an opportunity to bolster its collections on Acadiana and Louisiana's LGBTQ+ history. This includes papers, photographs, artifacts, books, and oral histories. Below are collections that have been acquired thanks to the grant, as well as collections that have been donated.
Queering the Collection is a project born out of curiosity and a passion for people. Our goal is to be inclusive of all voices, all queer folks, all backgrounds. We are continuing to meet this goal by conducting more oral histories from people in our community. We have dedicated much time and effort to creating a safe and welcoming space to those who volunteered their time to speak to us, and we are endlessly grateful for their contributions. From trans advocates to HIV+ writers, we strive to present the fullest picture of not only Lafayette's LGBTQ+ community, but of Louisiana's queer community at large.
Oral histories are located on Dupré Library's Digital Exhibits page.
Acadiana PRIDE was formed in 2014, where Louis Tolliver and Ted Richard acted as president and vice president respectively. The first festival ran for four days, with around 5000 to 6000 people in attendance. The Pride festival has been ongoing ever since. This collection contains photographs (physical and digital) of the festival, playbills of theater pieces produced through the festival, and various memorabilia. Ted A. Richard donated the collection.
Club My-O-My was a drag bar on the West End of New Orleans Opened in the 1930s, it was advertised as a “female impersonator” club, in which drag queens performed for both gay and straight audiences. This collection contains a few items from Club My-O-My. These includes programs, postcards, a matchbook, and vintage salt and pepper shakers.
This is an open-end collection containing scrapbooks, notebooks, scripts, publicity, pictures, programs and history of The Lafayette Town House-Order of the Troubadours. Also contains programs and mementos of the Krewe of Gabriel, Brigands de Lafitte, and Krewe of Attakapas. Additionally, the collection contains artifacts and materials of LGBTQ+ Mardi Gras organizations such as the Krewes of Armeinius, Petronius, and Apollo.
Richard Greenberg’s Tony Award-winning play Take Me Out premiered Off-Broadway in 2022 and on Broadway in 2003. The play covers a fictional baseball team and the different reactions when one of its members, Darren Lemming, comes out as gay. Themes of the play include homophobia, racism, class, and masculinity in sports. The role of Darren Lemming was first played by actor Daniel Sunjata, who earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette This collection features an original playbill of Take Me Out from 2004, where Sunjata played the lead.
Ellen DeGeneres is a comedian born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana. She has had successful careers in stand-up comedy, film, and television. She starred in the 1990s sitcom Ellen, in which she played one of the first main characters to come out as lesbian, mirroring her own life. This collection includes an Entertainment Weekly issue containing an article about DeGeneres coming out as lesbian and the reactions to her character on the show. DeGeneres is featured on the cover.
Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn, Jr. was a world renown classical pianist who was born in Shreveport, LA and grew up in Texas. He rose to fame when at the age of 23, he won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia. He also performed for every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. This collection contains photographs of Cliburn, including one where he is conducting Luci Baines Johnson, President Lyndon Johnson’s youngest daughter.