First of all, let me just say that your magazine is one of the best and most comprehensive gay guides I've ever seen. It provided me and my friends with all the information we needed to know for Mardi Gras.
I am attaching an open letter to the bar and club owners of the Gay French Quarter. I would appreciate it if you would print this letter in your letters to the editor section.
As a gay newspaper, I hope you take my letter seriously and don't just brush it off. Unless I hear from you, I will have no way of knowing whether my letter was ever read by the targeted bar and club owners. I trust you to use your own good judgment.
I do want to say that we saw your ad about respecting the Quarter by not urinating or having sex in the streets and we did make sure that didn't happen. As a favor, I ask that you print the attached letter somewhere in your paper. If this is not possible, I would ask that you at least pass it around to all gay bars and clubs in the French Quarter.
David J. Gundersen
February 21, 1997
An open letter to the bar
and club owners of the Gay French Quarter:
I recently attended my 6th Mardi Gras celebration, along with 6 of my friends. A couple of years ago, I noticed that many bars and clubs in the Quarter do not have fire exit signs. I didn't really think much of it at the time but this year it seemed to come back to haunt me. With some of the larger and popular clubs, customers are packed in wall-to-wall. This of course, includes those places that have upstairs facilities. If a fire were to break out, there is absolutely no way everyone would be able to get out quickly and safely. There are other things besides a fire that could cause people to panic and start pushing and shoving to get out.
In addition to most places lacking these fire exit signs, I also noticed that a lot of doors open "in." In the state of Florida, where I live, all doors in businesses most open "out." How could people get out quickly if they are jammed up against a door that is opening "in?" While it is obvious that New Orleans or even the state of Louisiana does not require these fire exit signs, is it that much of an expense to install them where they are needed? Are you waiting for a tragedy to happen first? Because that is what is going to happen.
With all the money being made off revelers, it may behoove you to have necessary safety equipment handy. Come to think of it, I didn't even notice fire extinguishers on the wall. You tell me how anyone could get out quickly from upstairs at Cafe Lafitte or the back room at Rawhide? I am not picking on these two clubs, just using them as examples.
My friends and I spent an approximate total of $6,000, not including airfare. We all have been to many gay resorts and gay-friendly areas not only in the U.S., but in other countries as well. Only in the French Quarter do we see a total disregard for patrons' safety.
The buildings are old, people are smoking like fiends and they are overcrowded. I urge the bar and club owners of the Gay French Quarter to take this first step toward providing a safe habitat for its customers. Don't wait for a tragedy to happen, do it now.
David J. Gundersen, Bobby Joe Hellums, Jr., David Carroll, John Norton, Kevin Smith, Fred Berning, Mickey Colgin
My Dearest Rip,
Just a few words of THANKS! For the sensitive and most candid homage paid to both Ms. Welles and myself in your recent issue of Ambush. We at Le Femme believe Ambush to be the most important source of newsworthy information and for that reason will continue to cosider it number one on our Must Read Entertainment Tabloid.
Now about the special and most entertaining write up in "What's Hot?"
You cannot imagine the numerous phone calls I have received, and the amount of laughs we have had over it. The consensus is that finally someone had the nerve to write something about Rose that was not only true, but reflective of what so many of her fans were thinking, and simply couldn't find a way of verbalizing.
To those that may say it wasn't flattering I can only respond by quoting Ms. Liz Taylor when she said in reference to Publicity Quotes: "Publicity good or bad is publicity!! It still brings me into the limelight and that's what we all strive for." I know we, the entertainers do forget to simply say, "Thank you!" To both you and Marsha our sincere thanks.
You know it would be very unlike Rose to simply let you get away with the "Age Comment." After all, I have my reputation to think about. The correct age is 47. Unlike some of us, I take pride in stating that to be my age and not my waist measurement.
As for my behavior as "Divine," the only time that I think I was upstaged was with your (Rip's) performance at a Christmas party given by (the now incarcerated) Mr. Jimmy (five finger) McMilligan of Historic Inn's fame. If memory serves me your performance as "Miss Piggy" was most entertaining. I remember doing my best to help my beloved Marsha save face; however, pulling your face out of the Shrimp Dip proved to be a bit more challenging than either Marsha or I ever imagined. Although difficult, I must admit my "Divine" can't hold a candle to your "Miss Piggy."
We love you both, and appreciate your friendship. We look forward to our continued association both on business/professional, and personal levels. Keep up the good work!
The ageless, Ms. Rose Royce
[Letters and Comments should be sent to Ambush Letters, 828-A Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116-3137]