MISSION, PURPOSE & HISTORY
Our mission is promoting and encouraging the protection and preservation of materials that chronicle the culture and history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community in Louisiana.
Our main purpose is educating the community on the importance of archiving LGBT+ historical materials and making them available for future generations to access, research, and study. By developing financial resources to assist in the preservation and availability of certain LGBT+ collections, we hope to help promote the proper maintenance and preservation of historical LGBT+ materials and then index, publish, and maintain a current list of these materials and where they are located.
The history of LGBT+ Archives begin in 2012 with Stewart Butler, Otis Fennell, and Mark Gonzales. In that year, they founded the Legacy Project with the goal of compiling oral histories. Completing one interview, the group realized that the time, logistics, and money involved were overwhelming and the Legacy Project slowly dissipated. The need and desire to preserve local gay history was still strong and from the ashes of the Legacy Project, the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana rose.
In June 2013, a handful of dedicated and interested people began meeting to discuss the necessary action of preserving all parts of our history and how this endeavor might be undertaken. Early on, the group decided the organization needed to provide information and resources to those also interested in local gay history. Surveying the local libraries and collections for what LGBT holdings currently existed was one of the first steps of the organization. Questionnaires were sent to archivists at several local institutes and several on-site visits were made to local repositories.
In October of that same year, the Society of American Archivists held their national conference in New Orleans and a few members of the group’s LGBT Roundtable met with members of the LGBT+ Archive Project of Louisiana. Holding a community meeting in November, the group set out to gather input from the public. After numerous months of information gathering, the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana adopted the mission statement found at the top of the page.
In June 2014, the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana was officially born at a public meeting where bylaws were adopted and officers elected. Aiming to educate the public about the importance of historical preservation, the Archives Project also aims to share how individuals can safely entrust local archives with the care of the historical treasures they possess. It is important to note that this project does not contemplate setting up an archive of its own, but rather aiming to educate the public about resources and attributes of existing archives in Louisiana.