Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tiger Lounge

4524 Tchoupitoulas today
Tiger Lounge

Location: Originally at 4524 Tchoupitoulas, later at 740 Burgundy, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Opened/Closed: 1950s

NOLAcitymuseum has identified Tiger Lounge as a lesbian bar in their ongoing gay history research. But other than providing the addresses, there isn't much additional information. (There is a photo of an advertising leaflet of some sort, but unfortunately, it's taken at an "arty" angle which leaves it mostly unreadable.)

In Rebels, Rubyfruit, and Rhinestones, James Thomas Sears' history of southern gay culture, Tiger Lounge is listed among New Orleans' "most notable establishments before Stonewall." We are also informed that the Tiger Lounge was "operated by Jo-Jo, a former nun."

Charlene Schneider was just a 17-year-old baby dyke (and still a high school student) when she walked into the Tiger Lounge for the first time. (Charlene later went on to establish her own lesbian bar, Charlene's, which is also featured here at Lost Womyn's Space). As she told Curve Magazine some years later,

“I felt at home, because finally, I knew where I belonged. … It was wonderful seeing people like myself,” Schneider, now 62, recalls. “I saw eight of the butchest women you’ve ever seen in your life. I fell in love with each and every one of them.”

The year was 1957, and McCarthyism had a stranglehold on America; it was a time when lesbians were an illegal social group and cops made regular arrests at queer bars. Schneider herself was arrested four times in bar raids and, in the 1960s, she lost her job at NASA because they considered her lifestyle a security risk.

Photo: 4524 Tchoupitoulas today

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.