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in the news

Volume 15/Issue 15

New Officers for Mayor's Advisory LGBT Committee

The Mayor's Advisory Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues held its regular monthly meeting at New Orleans City Hall, Tuesday, July 8. Elections were held to fill the positions of vice-chair and secretary.

According to MAC by-laws, the Chair serves a one year term and then the vice-chair assumes the position of chair for one year, alternating between sexes. Incoming Chair Toni Pizanie will begin her term Aug. 1.

James Donovan was elected Vice-chair. Ms. Nancy Sharp was reelected Secretary.

Outgoing Chair Robert Udick remarked that it had been his "honor and privilege to serve this Committee as it Chair." He added, "I hope and trust that our paths will cross in the future on issues of mutual concern and I have full confidence that the Committee will continue its efforts to serve our constituents well."

People who are interested in serving on the Committee should contact Toni Pizanie at 947.1060. Members must live in New Orleans, be at least 18 years old and demonstrate familiarity with and support of community issues. African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanic citizens are especially encouraged to apply.

The MAC meets once a month at City Hall. Members must also serve on one sub-committee. Sub-committees meet as necessary. The next MAC meeting is 5:30 pm, Tues., Aug. 12.

The Boys In The Band At Southern Rep

The Krewe of Petronius contin ues to keep its fund raising efforts in a decidedly theatrical mode by producing a production of Mart Crowley's gay drama classic, The Boys In The Band at the Southern Repertory Theatre for two weeks only-six performances-Fri., Aug. 22 & Sat., Aug. 23 at 8 pm, Sun., Aug. 24 at 2 pm and the following, Southern Decadence Weekend, Fri., Aug. 29, Sat., Aug. 30 & Sun., Aug. 31 at 8 pm.

Ambush's own George Patterson is directing a cast made up of local thespians, which will be his second time to direct this 1968 Off-Broadway hit, having produced, directed and acted in it in the local premiere production at Gallery Circle Theatre in 1971.

The krewe is producing the two act play in association with Southern Repertory Theatre, 3rd Level, One Canal Place. Tickets are available from any krewe member or by calling 504.525.4498.

August 8 declared LEGAL Victory Nite;
Locations Statewide To Help In The Celebrating

In celebration of the successes of the recent Louisiana legislative session, August 8 has been declared LEGAL VICTORY NITE. Around the state participating businesses will be helping Louisiana's lesbian and gay community to celebrate the passage of the Hate Crimes bill and the defeat of the Anti-Gay Marriage amendment. Bars, nite clubs and businesses will not only be helping the community to celebrate these victories, but they will be using this venue to educate the public about them and at the same time helping LEGAL to pay for ongoing costs related to the legislative session. Rarely does the lesbian and gay community have the incredible opportunity to celebrate such positive steps in Louisiana. So, please come out on August 8 to one of your favorite locations to celebrate LEGAL Victory Nite and help support your statewide non-profit organization as we work to end discrimination through education and involvement. In a future issue of Ambush Mag we will be listing those businesses that will be participating in this event. If your bar, nite club or business would like to get involved in the celebration and be a participating business, please contact LEGAL. You can write to us at LEGALinc, PO Box 70344, New Orleans, LA 70172-0344, email us at, visit our web page at, or call our voicemail at 504.365.3105. Louisiana Electorate of Gays And Lesbians (LEGAL) is a statewide, not-for-profit human rights organization for lesbians and gay men. LEGAL works to end discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Karl Ezkovich Honored by NO/AIDS Task Force

Karl Ezkovich, Benefits Coordinator, received one of the special "Community Service Awards" from the HIV Outpatient Program of the Medical Center of LA at New Orleans. Karl received the award for his long-term advocacy for the HIV infected and affected community.

When Karl retired as Personnel Director at the Office of Family Support in 1987, he began volunteering at the NO/AIDS Task Force. "Getting SSI and disability benefits in the mid 1980s was extremely difficult," said Karl. "It could take up to 6 months, and for most people that was too long." He received training to do SSI and disability applications from the Social Security Administration and quickly went from 4 volunteer hours a week to over 40 volunteer hours a week. Karl and the late Dr. Ted Wisniewski also developed a form that cut the waiting period for benefits to approximtely 2 weeks. An expanded version of this form is now used nationwide.

In 1992, an outreach grant from the Social Security office helped to continue this program and expand the staff to include Jacky Bickham, Robert Broussard and Joe Marchese. The Benefits Assistance Program has processed applications for disability benefits for approximately 76 percent of people living with AIDS in the Greater New Orleans area.

Community Center Passes $15,000 Goal

O n June 30, a special meeting of the Board of Directors of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center was held. Earlier in the year, the Board had set July 1st as a deadline for a fundraising goal of $15,000. The $15,000 was determined as the amount necessary for future growth of the Center as a viable organization for the community, and was to be used for operating budget and salary for a part-time staff person to take over the day to day operations of the Center from its current all-volunteer staff, thus freeing up the Board to concentrate primarily on fundraising and development of the Center. The Board also determined that should this fundraising goal not be met, a recommendation would be made that the center close down. At the meeting, Co-Chair Joan Ladnier announced that not only had the goal been met, but surpassed (over $16,000 was raised in donations and pledges as of June 30).

"I am proud of the response of the community and their support," Joan stated. "On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank, sincerely, all the individuals, businesses, and organizations who contributed in this effort to keep the Center open.

Also at this meeting the upcoming Board elections and the setting of a general membership meeting were discussed. The membership meeting and board elections were set for Aug. 18. Any member in good standing is free to run for the Board. There are ten spots opening for election. According to the by-laws, to participate in the membership meeting and vote in the election, one must be a member in good standing 15 days prior to the meeting which would be Aug. 3.

"This is a very exciting time to be a member of the Board," Ladnier said. "We are currently looking into a promising new location for a permanent home for the Center as well as hiring a part-time staff person. The Center is going to continue to grow and expand."

Anyone interested in running for a position on the Board of Directors must be a member in good standing of the Community Center for at least thirty days at the time of the election, and must submit a letter of interest, as well as a brief biography to the Community Center-Attention Nominations Committee, 816 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116, or call the Center for further information at 504.522.1103.

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