New Orleans

AIDS

Memory

Project

The history of HIV/AIDS is not a happy topic, but it is an important one

New Orleans AIDS Memory Project
The New Orleans AIDS Memory Project Booklet (PDF)

By remembering, we honor those we lost. The LGBT+ Archives Project’s programming focus this year is the history of HIV/AIDS in New Orleans. The New Orleans AIDS Memory Project (NOAMP) will consist of a series of monthly events from June through December as well as a historical exhibition opening in October and running through March 2025. The exhibit is being produced in collaboration with the Stonewall National Museum Archives & Library. New Orleans Panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be featured in the exhibit. Most of the events, as well as the exhibit, will take place at the recently renovated Dodwell House at 1519 Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.
All NOAMP programming will be recorded and eventually posted on the LGBT+ Archives Project website. The history of the AIDS epidemic in New Orleans has yet to be fully documented and represents a significant gap in the historical record. It is our hope that NOAMP will be a significant first step in filling that gap.

New Orleans AIDS Memory Project Events

New OrleansAIDSMemory Project Events

All events will be held at the Dodwell House, 1519 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116 unless otherwise indicated.

June 6, 7pmAnnual Membership Meeting / NOAMP Launch

This meeting will also serve as the official launch of the New Orleans AIDS Memory Project.
After a brief business meeting, we’ll present the annual Stewart Butler / Alfred Doolittle Award for Contributions to Louisiana Queer History. Following the presentation, our keynote speaker will be Dr. Ceryl “Lynn” Besch, former Division Chief with LSU’s I.D. Program, including the HIV Outpatient Program. Light refreshments will be served.

July 11, 7pmLiving through the Crisis: A Human Library of People on the Front Lines

Inspired by the Human Library Organization founded in Denmark in 2000, this event will feature a variety of people who lived through the early years of the epidemic – people living with HIV, those who lost partners and loved ones to the virus, medical professionals, activists, and others who were on the front lines of the fight against AIDS. These individuals have graciously agreed to share their stories and will make themselves available in 20-minute intervals for one on one conversations with those who attend the event.
(This event is not affiliated with nor sponsored by the Human Library Organization.)

August 8, 7pmPanel Discussion on Medical and Service Providers

Dr. Michael Kaiser
Dr. Kaiser is the former Executive Director of NO/AIDS Task Force and Medical Director of the Pediatric AIDS Program at Children’s Hospital. He was also Chief Executive Officer/Chief Medical Officer for the LSU Health Care Services Division.
Dr. DeAnn Gruber
Dr. Gruber is currently the Director of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases, Louisiana Department of Health. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Social Worker with the Pediatric AIDS Program.
Katy Quigley
Quigley served as the Director of Project Lazarus in its early years.
Noel Twilbeck
Twilbeck was an early volunteer with the NO/AIDS Task Force before becoming its Executive Director. He eventually became the CEO of NO/AIDS Force (later d.b.a. CrescentCare). He is currently a Senior Management Specialist with the St. Thomas Community Health Center. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the NOLA Pride Center

September 12, 7pmPublic Lecture

The keynote speaker for this event is Dr. Lily Lucas Hodges. Dr. Hodges is a historian who teaches at Chapman University in California. Her dissertation on AIDS and communities of color titled, An Unequal Epidemic: Prejudice, Distrust and the HIV/AIDS Crisis in the Black Community in New Orleans, was groundbreaking research. At this meeting, her talk, titled On AIDS and Other People: Trust, Government, and Community in New Orleans, will reflect on the latest historical research on the AIDS epidemic to consider how the city’s experience both mirrored national trends and originated extraordinary responses. Topics covered include Prevail, Project Brotherhood, NO/AIDS Taskforce, and Charity Hospital programs to examine issues surrounding power and responsibility, community and race, and above all – trust. Why was it so often lacking, and how do we move towards greater trust today?

October 10, 7pmPanel Discussion on Activism & Activists

Deon Haywood
Haywood is a co-founder and current Executive Director of Women With A Vision. The group was founded in 1989 by a grassroots collective of African-American women in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color.
Mark Gonzalez
Gonzalez is a longtime attorney and was involved in the New Orleans Chapter of ACT UP. He also handled legal cases for people living with AIDS.
Rich Sacher
Sacher’s activism dates to the 1980s when he advocated for anti-discrimination policies and increased funding for AIDS patients. He was a member of LAGPAC (Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus), Crescent City Coalition, ACT UP, and PFLAG.
Noel Twilbeck, Moderator
Twilbeck was an early volunteer with the NO/AIDS Task Force before becoming its Executive Director. He eventually became the CEO of NO/AIDS Force (later d.b.a. CrescentCare). He is currently a Senior Management Specialist with the St. Thomas Community Health Center. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the NOLA Pride Center.

October 11, 7pmExhibit Opening

Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes Exhibit, at the Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library
The Quilt is a memorial to and celebration of the lives of people lost to the AIDS pandemic. Each panel is 3 feet (0.91 m) by 6 feet (1.8 m)

We are proud to partner with the Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library to produce three inspiring exhibits over a six-month period (October 2024 through March 2025).
Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes is a living exploration of those whose lives have given the LGBTQ+ community strength, courage, and a pathway to a brighter future. The exhibit begins with Frank Kemeny and Barbara Giddings and brings us to Laverne Cox who has been, for many, a transformative figure. The exhibit demonstrates the resilience, talent, and historic record contained within our world. It shows how previous liberation movements paved the way for ours and how we have become the bridge to the wider community.
The second exhibit, Never Silent, which will follow Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes, was created with a grant from PEN America and is focused on the importance of speaking out and challenging those who espouse hate while encouraging fear and ignorance.
Running concurrently, the exhibition will also feature New Orleans panels of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt. The idea for the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was conceived on November 27, 1985, by AIDS activist Cleve Jones during the annual candlelight march, in remembrance of the 1978 assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. For the march, Jones had people write the names of loved ones that were lost to AIDS-related causes on signs, and then they taped the signs to the old San Francisco Federal Building. All the signs taped to the building looked like an enormous patchwork quilt to Jones, and he was inspired.
The NAMES Project officially started in 1987 in San Francisco by Jones, Mike Smith, and volunteers Joseph Durant, Jack Caster, Gert McMullin, Ron Cordova, Larkin Mayo, Steve Kirchner, and Gary Yuschalk. At that time many people who died of AIDS-related causes did not receive funerals, due to both the social stigma of AIDS felt by surviving family members and the outright refusal by many funeral homes and cemeteries to handle the deceased’s remains. Lacking a memorial service or grave site, the Quilt was often the only opportunity survivors had to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives. Volunteers created hundreds and later thousands of panels in a storefront on Market Street.

We are proud to partner with the Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library to produce three inspiring exhibits over a six-month period (October 2024 through March 2025).
Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes is a living exploration of those whose lives have given the LGBTQ+ community strength, courage, and a pathway to a brighter future. The exhibit begins with Frank Kemeny and Barbara Giddings and brings us to Laverne Cox who has been, for many, a transformative figure. The exhibit demonstrates the resilience, talent, and historic record contained within our world. It shows how previous liberation movements paved the way for ours and how we have become the bridge to the wider community.
The second exhibit, Never Silent, which will follow Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes, was created with a grant from PEN America and is focused on the importance of speaking out and challenging those who espouse hate while encouraging fear and ignorance.
Running concurrently, the exhibition will also feature New Orleans panels of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt. The idea for the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was conceived on November 27, 1985, by AIDS activist Cleve Jones during the annual candlelight march, in remembrance of the 1978 assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. For the march, Jones had people write the names of loved ones that were lost to AIDS-related causes on signs, and then they taped the signs to the old San Francisco Federal Building. All the signs taped to the building looked like an enormous patchwork quilt to Jones, and he was inspired.
The NAMES Project officially started in 1987 in San Francisco by Jones, Mike Smith, and volunteers Joseph Durant, Jack Caster, Gert McMullin, Ron Cordova, Larkin Mayo, Steve Kirchner, and Gary Yuschalk. At that time many people who died of AIDS-related causes did not receive funerals, due to both the social stigma of AIDS felt by surviving family members and the outright refusal by many funeral homes and cemeteries to handle the deceased’s remains. Lacking a memorial service or grave site, the Quilt was often the only opportunity survivors had to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives. Volunteers created hundreds and later thousands of panels in a storefront on Market Street.

Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes Exhibit, at the Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library
The Quilt is a memorial to and celebration of the lives of people lost to the AIDS pandemic. Each panel is 3 feet (0.91 m) by 6 feet (1.8 m)

November 7, 7pmDocumentary Film Screening(Prytania Theatre at Canal Place)

Documentary filmmaker Valda Lewis will offer commentary and a sneak peak of her forthcoming film, From Where We Stood: AIDS and the Culture Wars. The documentary examines the continued rise of the LGBT Movement during the 1980s and 1990s. The film places into the historical record stories from the Midwest and Deep South in regard to both the political advances and setbacks of the era. Parallel and interwoven stories of HIV/AIDS are told through those who experienced and survived these tumultuous years. The documentary frames the progress of a strong but scattered LGBT+ movement in the 1970s into a cohesive national force by the 1990s. From 1986 to 1993, Lewis produced a television show called Just for the Record, which was a pioneering talk show about all things queer New Orleans. During that time, footage of local and national conferences was shot. Many of the storytellers in the film are in the original footage, providing fascinating insights into the emotionally charged political struggles of the times. The cities included are guided by Lewis’ own journey – from New Orleans (1983) to Dallas, Texas (1993), Wichita Kansas (1995) and finally to Cleveland OH (2002).

December 1, 6:30pmWorld AIDS Day(Phoenix Bar / Washington Square Park)

The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988 to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic and to honor the lives affected by it. The World Health Organization (WHO) established the day, and James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, public information officers for the WHO’s Global Program on AIDS, first conceived it in 1987.
Each year on this sacred day, the community in New Orleans gathers at the Phoenix Bar at 941 Elysian Fields Ave. in New Orleans in the evening and then silently marches to the AIDS Memorial in Washington Square Park for a commemorative ceremony. This annual event is organized by the Crescent City Leathermen under the leadership of Jimmy Gale. The LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana is proud to participate in this solemn remembrance.

Letters ReadVisit lettersread.net for details

Letters Read is an ongoing series in which local performers interpret letters and written documents about culturally vital individuals from various times and Louisiana communities, focusing on New Orleans. Now in its eighth consecutive season. Performances are free and open to the general public.
In conjunction with the New Orleans AIDS Memory Project, Letters Read is producing a series of incubator-style, five-minute podcasts focusing on the origins of HIV / AIDS awareness and activism in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the country at large.

June 6
Mark Gonzalez on protesting and ACT UP    
August 8
Noel Twillbeck and CrescentCare    
October 3
Brad Ott and underground publishing as activism    
December 5
AIDS Hospice, Peter DeLancey, and comments on AIDS Hospice from Hywel Sims    

Thank YouTo Our Sponsors

SponsorshipOpportunities

Individual$100

  • Your name will be listed as a supporter on all printed materials, and on a poster at all events

Business$500

  • Your name will be listed as a supporter on all printed materials, and on a poster at all events
  • Your company or business logo will be listed on the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana website for the duration of a year

Premium$1500

  • Your name will be listed as a supporter on all printed materials, and on a poster at all events
  • Your company or business logo will be listed on the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana website for the duration of a year
  • Two complimentary passes to all NOAMP events

Premier$5000+

  • Your name will be listed as a supporter on all printed materials, and on a poster at all events
  • Your company or business logo will be listed on the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana website for the duration of a year
  • Four complimentary passes to all NOAMP events
  • Social Media announcement of sponsorship
  • Speaking slot at exhibit opening
For more information, or off-line donations, please contact:
Frank Perez, Executive Director LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana
frankperez@lgbtarchiveslouisiana.org
504-941-1633

AIDS Wall, by artist John Burton Harter, is on permanent display at CrescentCare.

ART LEGACY IN ACTION

Empowering awareness of visual and queer arts through the work of John Burton Harter

The John Burton Harter Foundation (JBHF) is a nonprofit organization that promotes John Burton Harter’s art and the interests he cared about. JBHF provides resources to nonprofit organizations that advance the arts by featuring Harter’s work. John Burton Harter (1940-2002) established the foundation through a charitable trust to ensure the visibility of his art and fulfill his creative vision. In keeping with his wishes, JBHF has supported exhibitions, catalogues, publications, and initiatives with funding or gifts of original Harter works since 2002. Recipients include non-profit institutions and organizations, from major art museums to local groups. In addition, JBHF preserves Harter’s art, facilitates loans, and places works in important museums to expand Harter’s legacy and creative impact.