This section is a list of obituaries of noteworthy members of the Louisiana LGBT+ community. This list is a work in progress and is updated periodically. Please feel free to submit names and/or links to obituaries of people you think should be included.
McDermott, Tom. “James Booker.” Know Louisiana, 21 June 2013, Accessed 14 Oct. 2017. James Booker was born on December 17, 1939, in New Orleans.He was a child prodigy when it came to music and was trained classically in piano. As a teenager, Booker started his first band at Xavier Preparatory School. In 1960 Booker enrolled at Southern University in Baton Rouge, but he ended up leaving school to return to the music business, some speculate to supply his drug habit. He recorded the organ-driven single “Gonzo,” which was a hit on the charts. In 1970 Booker was arrested for possession of heroin and was to serve two years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. His good behavior got him out after six months behind bars. After he was released he returned to New Orleans where he started up his career again but then left Louisiana. In 1975 he returned and appeared at numerous festivals in the United States and around Europe. He released five albums during his lifetime. Booker’s drug abuse problems with heroin, cocaine, and alcohol abuse hurt both his personal life and his career and eventually took his life. On November 8, 1983, Booker died in New Orleans’s Charity Hospital. Booker’s still a legendary musician whose popularity has grown since his death.
“Andrew Jules ‘Drew’ Boudreaux.” Legacy.com, Accessed 11 Nov. 2017. Andrew “Drew” Jules Boudreaux died on Friday, August 8, 2014 at 63 years old. He was a longtime resident of New Orleans, LA. He was a retired maintenance worker for the Jefferson Parish School Board for about 30 years. “Drew” loved carpentry, he also loved to drink coffee at Tastee donut shop, and he liked spending time with family and friends. He was known as “Mr. Fix It”and loved to help others.
“Alice Lee Brady.” Legacy.com, Accessed 10 Nov. 2017. Alice Lee Brady was a legend in New Orleans and owned a popular gay bar. Alice Brady passed away February 25, 2012, at the age of 84 years old. Alice was born in Birmingham, AL but has lived in New Orleans since 1946. Her first bar, “The Mascarade Bar” opened at 819 St. Louis St. in the year 1952 and she then opened Alice Brady’s at 514 Ursulines St. Her third location, Mr. D’s Hide-A-Way and finally Brady’s at 700 N. Rampart St.
Pope, John. “Yvonne ‘Miss Dixie’ Fasnacht.” Nola.com, 16 Nov. 2011, Accessed 28 Oct. 2017. Yvonne “Miss Dixie” Fasnacht was the owner of two New Orleans bars where people from the LGBTQ community could socialize comfortably at a time where many people did not reveal their sexual orientation. Ms. Fasnacht at 101 in her Metarie home. Dixie’s Bar of Music, was a popular place to go that attracted all different types of people from all walks of life.
Lee “Ms. Fly” Featherston
“William Weeks Hall.” The Shadows, Accessed 14 Nov. 2017. William Weeks Hall was born in 1894. After his father’s death, Weeks Hall lived lived with his mother and Miss Florence and Emma Zacharie in New Orleans. He attended high school, but did not graduate. However he still got scholarships and awards for art to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, which he went to from 1913 to 1918. Then he deferred due to World War I, until 1920 to 1922, when he studied in Paris and London. After school, Weeks Hall returned to New Orleans. Weeks Hall spent a lot of his life preserving his family home and invited many to see it, among them, artists, writers, and filmmakers. Henry Miller, Lyle Saxon, Cecil B. DeMille, Emily Post, D.W. Griffith and Walt Disney were all impressed. In 1958 right before Hall’s passing, the National Trust for Historic Preservation accepted the home and property he bequeathed them for preservation and opened the site to the public in 1961.
William Ratcliffe Irby
“Tony Jackson.” Find a Grave, 10 Aug. 2010, Accessed 7 Oct. 2017. Tony Jackson was a New Orleans born pianist, singer, and composer. Jackson was born on June 5, 1876 and died on April 20, 1921. At a young age Jackson was interested in music and created his own harpsichord and learned how to play hymns and other songs on it. People learned of Jackson’s talent and was allowed to practice on neighbor’s pianos due to his family not being able to afford one. At 13, Jackson got his first job playing piano at a Tonk Run. By age 15, Jackson was making a name for himself as one of the best pianists in town. Jackson not only played popular music at the time including; ragtime, cakewalks, and blues, but Jackson composed his own music. In 1912 Jackson moved to Chicago, Illinois. Jackson published the song “Pretty Baby” while in Chicago and it was said to be about his male lover at the time. Jackson died in Chicago, Illinois on April 20, 1921. Although Jackson never recorded, his style is still influential to many young artists.
Donald "Donnie 'Jager' Jay" James
“Robin A. Malta.” Legacy.com, obits.nola.com/obituaries/nola/obituary.aspx?pid=89059930. Accessed 14 Oct. 2017. Robin A. Malta died at the age 43 years at his New Orleans home on Monday, June 11, 2007. He was the son of Rosita Pignataro Malta and Luis G. Malta. Robin was born and raised in New Orleans, LA and was a lifelong resident.He was a graduate of John Curtis High School. He was the co-owner along with his sister Monica of Salon D’Malta. He was the Grand Marshall of the New Orleans Southern Decadence Parade in 1998 and was also involved in numerous local charitable fundraising events. Even after Hurricane Katrina he volunteered his time for over a month cutting hair for the National Guardsmen in the New Orleans area.
“Grand Send-Off: Queen of North Rampart.” Ambush Online, Accessed 21 Oct. 2017. Marco, Marcy Marcell, Sperandeo passed away at the age of 63 on April 11, 2011. Marcy is survived by his beloved brothers and sisters Sidney Sperandeo and wife Gail Sperandeo, Sylvia Childress, Mary Broders, Jo Donna Dupuy, Andrew Sperandeo and wife Tammy Sperandeo. He was a lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana. Marcy was very involved in the New Orleans community as the founder of the Gay Appreciation Awards, founder of the Golden Age Revue and Marcy & The Marcells Revue; Easter Grand Marshal X in 2009, the recipient of the 20th Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007; and spent over 40 years in show business.
Hughes, Cathy. “Rip Naquin.” The New Orleans Advocate, 10 Aug. 2017, Accessed 28 Oct. 2017. Rip Naquin, who had the first same-sex domestic partnership to be reigstered in New Orleans in 1993, died at was 63. Naquin is known for publishing a biweekly magazine called Ambush, with his partner known as Marsha Naquin-Delain. They were two of the grand marshals of Southern Decadence in 2015. Naquin had a major role in the evolution of Southern Decadence from an exclusive party in 1972 to a major weekend event.
From Ambush Magazine. Marsha Naquin-Delain, as he was known to his many friends in the New Orleans community, died at his residence on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Born Marion M. Greeson in Baton Rouge, LA on June 17, 1953, he was a resident of New Orleans since 1985. He was the spouse of the late Robert J. “Rip” Naquin, who preceded him in death on August 8, 2017. He is the son of James Greeson Sr. and the late Betty Newsom Greeson, stepson of Betty Greeson of Sherman, Texas, brother of James Greeson Jr. (Cathy), and uncle of James Greeson III and Dana G. Duet. Delain grew up in Baton Rouge and was graduated from the Baton Rouge Beauty College. Naquin and Delain met outside a Bourbon Street bar in 1973, moved in together in Baton Rouge, and launched Ambush Magazine in 1982 before moving to New Orleans in 1985. Their same-sex domestic partnership was the first in New Orleans when it was registered in 1993. Naquin and Delain were married in New York in 2013, on their 40th anniversary together. From 1986 until Naquin’s death, the Ambush offices were located on the first floor of 828 Bourbon St., with the proprietors' residence on the second and third floors. Legendary parties took place at the 1830s "Ambush Mansion," especially during Carnival. Social events at the residence were often occasions to raise money for charity. In August 2015, for example, a Magnolia Cotillion celebrating the couple's second wedding anniversary raised money for Southern Decadence and its charities: the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana, the Louisiana Equality Foundation and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) New Orleans Scholarship Fund. Over the decades, the couple raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a wide range of charities. The couple also founded the Krewe of Queenateenas and the Gay Easter Parade. Naquin and Delain were two of the five Grand Marshals of Southern Decadence in 2015. It is difficult to talk about Marsha without discussing Rip; the two were literally always together. After Rip’s passing, Marsha remarked to a friend, “This will be the first night I’ve slept alone in 44 years.” News of Delain’s passing sent shock-waves through the French Quarter and the New Orleans LGBT+ community. The general feeling of many was she died of a broken heart. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Mass at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, 1313 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans on Saturday, December 23, 2017, at 11:00 AM, with visitation beginning at 10:00 AM. The Rev. Fr. William Terry will officiate. Kindly omit flowers. Memorials are suggested to Food for Friends or St. Anna’s Place-NOLA. Condolences may be expressed online at www.tharpsontheimerfh.com. THARP-SONTHEIMER-THARP Funeral Home of Metairie is in charge of arrangements. Information, (504) 835-2341
“Gaston de Pontabla.” Art Price, Accessed 28 Oct. 2017. Gaston de Pontabla was born to Joseph Xavier CÃˆlestin Delfau de Pontalba and Micaela Leonarda Almonester. After his parents divorced, Gaston lived with his mother in Paris, until the they had to leave due to the Revolution. Madame Pontalba and her sons went first to London and then returned to New Orleans where they had previously lived. Their voyage was recorded by Gaston in a diary and sketchbook that was published as Voyage Ã la Nouvelle OrlÃˆans du Fev. 1848 au 7 Mai 1851. There are still two rows of apartment buildings, by Jackson Square, which were built by Gaston’s mother. He returned to Paris in the spring of 1851 and continued to work on his art.
Father Bill Richardson
Pat “Estelle” Ritter
“In Memory of Pat Ritter.” Dignity Memorial, obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Pat-Ritter&lc=7192&pid=169876659&mid=5866451. Accessed 21 Oct. 2017. David Patrick Ritter, also known as “Pat”, passed away on February 19, 2014, due to illness. Pat was born and raised in New Orleans, LA on July 9, 1956. He was a life long resident of Louisiana. He graduated from Promised Land Academy, a high school in Braithwaite, LA in the year 1974. Pat then went to the University of New Orleans and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979. He was very involved in New Orleans and was named Grand Marshal of Southern Decadence in 2001. Pat also shared a very special decade long relationship with his partner, Jacob.
"Errol Charles Rizzuto." Published in The Times-Picayune from Nov. 3 to Nov. 5, 2017. Retrieved from Errol Charles Rizzuto passed away on October 29, 2017 at the age of 57. He was the beloved son of the late Jack Rizzuto Sr. and Rosemary Bremerman Rizzuto. Loving brother of Jack Rizzuto Jr., Margaret Rizzuto, Carey Rizzuto (Mary Ann), Bobbi Rizzuto, Dennis Rizzuto and Terri English. Also survived and fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews. Errol had an unmatched zest for life that was surpassed only by his love for Mardi Gras. He was a most talented artist & well known for his incredible costume design, many worn by his fellow crew members of Amon-Ra, as well as himself. He was a proud member of Amon-Ra, and was to be 2018's Bal Captain of the Krewe. Errol was also Southern Decadence royalty as 1999's Grand Marshall – 'The Dark Lady Tour.' In addition to his love of Mardi Gras, he was a most generous & compassionate Soul, helping others as often as he could. He was a staunch supporter of St. Anna's Episcopal - Food Bank & a proud member of the St. Joseph's Altar Society on Bourbon Street, where he gladly provided food & cooking needs. Errol was also a revered employee of Wood Enterprises for the Clover Grill for many years. He will be forever remembered and deeply missed by his family and many, many friends. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial visitation to be held at ST. BERNARD MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 701 W. Virtue St., Chalmette, LA on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. A memorial service will begin at 12:00 PM. Inurnment will follow in St. Bernard Memorial Gardens. In honor of Errol's memory, Wood Enterprises will also host a reception following the services at SB Funeral Home in the 'upstairs' lounge of Café Lafitte in Exile on 901 Bourbon Street @ 4pm directly across from Clover Grill – all are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Anna's Episcopal Church – Food Bank 1313 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans, LA 70116. Or St. Joseph Alter Society on Bourbon Street – 1028 Bourbon St. New Orleans, LA 70116.www.stbernardmemorial.com
Thomas, James. “Lyle Saxon.” Know Louisiana, 20 May 2011, Accessed 14 Oct. 2017. On September 4, 1891 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lyle Chambers Saxon was born. The child of Katherine Chambers and Hugh Allan Saxon, Saxon was raised his mother and her parents. Saxon became a newspaper reporter after attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. As a journalist, he worked in Chicago, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. Saxon was also a non-fiction writer. On April 9, 1946, Saxon due to complications from his surgery. Saxon was a great writer who unfortunately often struggled with alcoholism, chronic health issues, and procrastination. Even with these setbacks, he still wrote and/or edited eight books, as well as numerous other works.
“Charlene Schneider’s Remains to be added to Memorial Garden.” Ambush Online, Accessed 21 Oct. 2017. Charlene Schneider was the owner of the very famous “Charlene’s“ at 940 Elysian Fields Ave. on the corner of N. Rampart for over 20 years. In 1999 she closed her bar and moved to Bay St. Louis, MS, which was her hometown. Quickly after, “Charlene and Lindas’s On the Coast” opened and The Breast Cancer Foundation, M.A.P. at the Hancock Memorial Hospital was founded.
James “Jay” Lamont Sewell
Jay, as he was affectionately known, passed from this world on Friday, June 22, 2018, following a long illness. He had survived cancer surgery in 1997 to spend an additional two decades with his loving partner in life, Michael T. Elias, Esq., owner of the Corner Pocket Bar in New Orleans. The couple spent 35 years together and had cared for three adorable fur babies during their relationship: Callie, Tigger, and Minou.
Jay—a descendant of early Texas and Illinois pioneer families—was born in Austin on December 6, 1948; the family later moved to Corsicana. He is survived by his brother, Jay Hoover Sewell. He was preceded in death by his Father, James Carroll Sewell (1912 – 1976), and Mother, Janet Hoover Sewell (1918 – 1975).
Jay was the longtime daytime bartender at the Corner Pocket, at which he worked for nearly twenty years (1983 – 2002). He teamed up with beloved local entrepreneur and entertainer Lee Fetherston (Ms. Fly) soon after the bar opened. The two famously performed together, once re-enacting a drag version of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” Following Lee’s untimely death, his partner in life, Michael, purchased the bar in 2001.
Jay was a graduate of Corsicana High School in 1966, where he played drums in the high school band. He attended North Texas State University in Denton and later graduated from beauty school in Dallas.
In the early seventies, Jay moved to New Orleans, where he initially worked at D.H. Holmes Department Store as a hair stylist to many colorful local personalities.
Jay’s great great grandfather and his father were both highly respected members of the Texas Legislature. On his mother’s side, his grandfather was the oldest practicing veterinarian in Northern Illinois at the time of his death (1945).
His father, who was blinded during the war in the Pacific, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law with honors following World War II.
His Mother was a graduate of the University of Illinois in Geology (1940); during World War II, she worked for Cities Service Oil Co.
Jay was born amidst the baby boom. After the war, the family moved to Navarro County, Texas (1952). His father was appointed County Judge, and later elected State District Judge.
His younger brother, Jay, was born there in 1955. He says that James “Jay” “inherited his Father’s tenacity for living large—and living life on his own terms.”
There will be a public Celebration of Life at The Corner Pocket, 940 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, on Sunday, July 1, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. The Very Rev. Bill Terry, Rector, of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Louisiana SPCA (https://www.la-spca.org).
Special thanks to Niles Monnin and Matt Downey, Jr., personal caregivers, the entire family at the Corner Pocket for their love and support in difficult times and to Rev. Bill Terry and St. Anna’s Episcopal Church for their love and support.
Arrangements handled by Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home.
“Remembering Clay Shaw and the JFK conspiracy theory that wouldn’t die.” Nola.com, Accessed 16 Nov. 2017. Clay Shaw passed of lung cancer on August 15, 1974 at 61. He was the director of the International Trade Mart, and is famous for being found not guilty of a charge that said that he had been part of a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Shaw was the only person prosecuted in connection with the Kennedy assassination. Shaw’s acquaintances knew that he was gay and many people thought that that was why he was arrested.
Goddard, Phyllis. “William Spratling Biography.” Spratling Silver, Accessed 7 Oct. 2017. William Spratling was born in Sonyea, New York in the year 1900. In 1910, Spratling and his father moved to live with family in Alabama after the death of his mother and his sister. By 1912, the three remaining Spratling children were split up and all living with various family members. In 1917, William Spratling started attending Auburn University and studied architecture. After graduation, Spratling moved to New Orleans in 1921 and became an associate professor at Tulane University. Spratling became well-known in New Orleans and in the architecture world for publishing in numerous magazines and for befriending William Faulkner and publishing Sherwood Anderson and Other Famous Creoles in 1926 together.
“Jerald Jerome Williams.” Majestic Mortuary Service Inc., Accessed 14 Oct. 2017. Jerald “Wop” Jerome Williams died on October 27, 2014. He was the son of the late Willie and Ethel Mae Lockett Williams, Sr. He was the father of Shanise (Kevin) Johnson, Patrice (Lawrence) Ballard, JeralynB. (Whitney) Marcell, Keisha J. Williams, Sherritha Williams Weber and Darryl Williams. He was the Ex-Husband of Sherry Williams. He was the Grandfather of Ganiero Ballard, Rashad “Lil Chuckee” Ballard, Authur McGinnis, KeiShon Johnson, Keianna Johnson, Austin McGinnis, Karl Johnson, Whitney M. Marcell and Royal Weber, Jr.
Gussow, Mel. “Tennessee Williams is Dead at 71.” The New York Times, 26 Feb. 1983, Accessed 7 Oct. 2017. Tennessee Williams died at the age of 71 in New York City. , whose innovative drama and sense of lyricism were a major force in the postwar American theater, died yesterday at the age of 71.Tennessee grew up in Saint Louis and was a very shy child. He attended both the University of Missouri and the University of Iowa. At 28, Williams moved to New Orleans and this is when his career really started to take off. Williams is known for being the most important American playwright after Eugene O’Neill. He wrote more than 24 full-length plays, including ‘’The Glass Menagerie,’’ ‘’A Streetcar Named Desire,’’ ‘’Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
“Danny Joseph Wilson II.” Legacy.com, Accessed 7 Oct. 2017. Danny Joseph Wilson II was born on August 13, 1983. He died at age 31 on November 11, 2014. He lived in New Orleans his whole life. He was born to Danny Joseph Wilson Sr. He was a graduate of Abramson High School in 2001 and he attended Southern University of New Orleans.