Leon Khalil Zainey, a pioneer in New Orleans Gay Society, has died
A lively gay social world had long existed, but after Prohibition ended in 1933, it became more public. In 1936, a bar opened at the Lafitte Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street. Although its clientele was a varied group, gay men and women knew they were welcome. But in 1953, the owners lost their lease. They moved to the next corner and reopened as Café Lafitte in Exile – now one of the oldest gay bars in the country.
Private gay socializing flourished in mid-century New Orleans. The oldest continuing gay event, the Fat Monday Luncheon, began in 1949, and the oldest gay social organization, the Steamboat Club, was launched in 1953. The Krewe of Yuga was the first gay Carnival club in 1958, followed by the Krewe of Petronius in 1962.