Some of the information and images published here were first presented at the Southern Historical Association’s annual meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 5, 2004 (Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman, “Jack Robinson’s Southern Scenes”).
I would like to thank Dan Oppenheimer, Drue Diehl, Gary Walpole, and the associates of the Jack Robinson Gallery and Archive in Memphis for their enthusiastic cooperation and permission to use Robinson’s photographs in publications and presentations. I especially thank Dixie Fasnacht, Jean and Charlotte Seidenberg, Charles Dolce and his family, George Dunbar, Lennard Parrish, Lyle Bonge, Lee Hall, and Alan Helms for sharing their insights into Robinson’s early life and the 1950s New Orleans’s art scene. Pamela Tyler, Erik Neil, Leslie Pharr, and Craig Leake deserve special thanks for their interest and encouragement, as does Arkansas State University for its generous support of this project.
- For more on the discovery of Robinson’s work and his career in the 1960s, see Brandon Thornburg, “Jack Robinson,” Gamut (October 2002): 34–41.
- Conversation with Dan Oppenheimer, Jack Robinson Gallery, 44 Huling Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 5 October 2004.
- The majority of information on the history of the Fasnacht family and Dixie was provided by Dixie Fasnacht in the course of our interview in her home on Bourbon St. in June 2004. Details and corroborative information were drawn from census records, city directories, Louisiana and New Orleans history and preservation sites, and an article on New Orleans jazz women by Sherrie Tucker (“Rocking the Cradle of Jazz,” Ms. Magazine, Winter 2004), published after I conducted the Fasnacht interview.
- New Orleans Municipal Court Docket Books, 1949–52, located in the third-floor attic of the New Orleans Municipal Courthouse. Arron M. Kohn, chief investigator, Investigative Report, 15 October–28 July 1953, box 4, folder 9, 7–6, Special Citizens Investigating Committee Papers, Special Collections Division, Jones Hall, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. A special thanks to Pamela Tyler, New Orleans historian and associate director of the Deep South Regional Humanities Center at Tulane University, for directing me to this important source.
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For more on male homosexuality in the 1950s and in the South, see John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History (University of Chicago Press, 1999); John Loughery, The Other Side of Silence, Men’s Lives and Gay Identity: A Twentieth-Century History (Henry Holt and Company, 1998); and Alan Helms, Young Man from the Provinces: A Gay Life before Stonewall (University of Minnesota Press, 1995).
For more on homosexuality and visual representation in this period, see Richard Meyer’s Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art (Beacon Press, 2002). Numerous essays by New Orleans author and activist Jon Newlin, published in AMBUSH Magazine, provide useful insights into the history of gay New Orleans and residents of the French Quarter.
Mardi Gras, French Quarter life, and photographic histories of both have received significant attention from authors and scholars. A few relatively recent publications include Henri Schindler, Mardi Gras: New Orleans (Flammarion, 1997); Carol Flake, New Orleans: Behind the Masks of America’s Most Exotic City (Grove Press, 1994); and Alecia Long, The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920 (Louisiana State University Press, 2004).
Many American authors drew inspiration from New Orleans. Lyle Saxon published The Friends of Joe Gilmore (1948). Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Suddenly Last Summer (1948), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) in New Orleans. Williams won Pulitzer Prizes for both Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The screen version of Streetcar was filmed in New Orleans in 1950. Truman Capote, a New Orleans native, lived in an apartment at 711 Royal St. while writing Other Voices, Other Rooms (1945). Gore Vidal, who frequently socialized with Williams and Capote, set many of his early fictional scenes in the French Quarter and published The City and The Pillar in 1948.