Club My-O-My. Collection, 1940s-1960s, n.d.
Located on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Club My-O-My was a drag bar on the West End of New Orleans. Opened in the 1930s, it was advertised as a “female impersonator” club, in which drag queens performed for both gay and straight audiences. Probably its most famous performer, Mr. Jimmy Calloway, an Alabama native, served as Master of Ceremonies at the club from 1950 onward. In 1972, its second location (which joined with the older Wonder Bar) burned down, and while it did relocate, the club did not last much longer. It was deemed too tame by sexual revolutionaries in the early 1970s, and too risqué for more conservative audiences.
Club My-O-My was a popular tourist attraction in New Orleans, and it was far enough outside city limits that it was able to avoid most police and local harassment. Often, the drag queens’ names began with “Mister” for them to avoid being arrested on the grounds of female impersonation. Most entertainers at Club My-O-My were also sex workers in the French Quarter that catered to tourists and covert homosexual men. Notably, Club My-O-My abided by segregation laws, even after Jim Crow was abolished; for most of its operation, the club allowed only white entertainers and customers. Its existence as a bar that primarily catered to gay audiences, while simultaneously being one that denied non-white patrons, highlights the crucial role of intersectionality in the struggle for liberation for minorities in the South, and in the United States as a whole.
This collection, an LGBTQ resource and part of the LGBTQ+ Archives Project at UL Lafayette, contains items from Club My-O-My, including programs, postcards, a matchbook, and vintage salt and pepper shakers.
|Postcards [including Dixies on Bourbon St.], 1950s-1960s
|Club My-O-My Matchbook
|Club My-O-My Salt and Pepper Shakers