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A M B U S H  M A G  2 0 0 0   -   V O L U M E  1 5   -   I S S U E  5

LEGAL Issues Statement on Anti-Marriage Bill

Louisiana Electorate of Gays And Lesbians (LEGAL) issued a statement today requesting clarity on a bill by Sen. Phil Short, R-Covington, that if passed would amend the Louisiana Constitution to state that "marriage shall not be contracted between persons of the same sex."

"It's a mystery to me why Sen. Short wants Louisiana to spend money to discriminate against a class of citizens who are not permitted to marry in the first place," said Brian Hartig, executive director of LEGAL. "Louisiana already only recognizes marriage as being between one man and one woman. So what's the point?"

Short, who introduced similar anti-marriage legislation during last year's fiscal session, said that he would be back during this year's regular session with a constitutional amendment. He also stated that he wanted Gov. Foster to issue a proclamation against same-sex marriage. Foster, however, in a statement to the press,declined to get involved.

"If our legislators want to pick their topics de jour based upon public opinion polls why don't they work harder at reducing the crime rate, bringing jobs to Louisiana or on Medicaid or education?" asked Hartig. "Or what about an issue closer to marriage, one that is in need of real attention, like divorce or spousal abuse or teen pregnancy?

"Sen. Short said last year that he thought these were existing problems which he could work on. Well, if they're such problems - which exist a heck of a lot more in Louisiana than same-sex marriages - then where's the bill, Sen. Short?"

Short's bill would amend the "Right to Individual Dignity" section of the Louisiana Constitution. His bill would mark the first time, since the Constitution's adoption in 1974, that any one group of citizens was segregated out from the rest of society and forbidden to do something that they are not allowed to do already. If it passes the legislature it will be submitted to a vote of the people during the congressional general election in 1998.

"At one time, Louisiana legislators were asked to vote on whether interracial marriages should be allowed to be performed," said Hartig. "I wonder which of our legislators would have stood up against such a bill 30 years ago. I wonder who is going to do what is right today and stand up against this attempt at discrimination.

LEGAL is a statewide non-profit organization which works to end discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Queering The South:
A Gathering Of LGBT Activists, Academics And Artists

This three-day gathering, to be held in Atlanta June 25-27 (three days before Pride Weekend) seeks to explore how sexuality, race, religion, region, class and gender shape our relationship to the South and Southern identity.

The gathering will begin with the analysis of our past and present experiences as bisexuals, lesbians, gays and transgendered persons in the South and then move into workshops and panels which offer how to's for organizing, coalition building and creating practical strategies for challenging the various institutions and practices which threaten us as individuals and as communities.

Presentations, workshops, papers and panels-academically, politically or artistically oriented-are being sought, which address any aspect of this broadly-conceived theme.

Proposals should be attentive to the specifics of race, class and gender, and be presented in a language which is accessible to a wide audience. Additionally, workshop proposals will be chosen for how clearly they are conceptualized, including plans for audience participation.

Financial assistance may be available, including reduced rate housing, free housing, and registration fee waivers. For more information, or to submit an abstract, write to: Queering the South, P.O. Box 15470, Atlanta, GA 30333;; ;voice mail: 404.727.4367; Abstracts should be 1-2 pages and are due March 15, 1997. Email submissions accepted.

Artful Floral Extravaganza Celebrates 10th Year

The New Orleans Museum of Art will be filled with the sight and scent of flowers as Art in Bloom returns for its tenth anniversary celebration March 19 through 23. In addition to art-inspired floral designs that will be displayed throughout the Museum, this popular rite of spring will feature Patron and Preview parties, lectures, demonstrations and an elegant luncheon and fashion show sponsored by Maison Blanche. All of this excitement will be set against the backdrop of an exhibition specially chosen to complement Art in Bloom on its tenth year, Contemporary Botanical Artists: The Shirley Sherwood Collection.

The Patron Party, 6 pm on March 19, followed by the Preview Party from 7 to 10 pm will kick off the festivities with music, cocktails, a silent auction and culinary creations from the likes of Commander's Palace, Gabrielle, The Pelican Club. Galatoire's and many more of New Orleans' finest dining and catering establishments.

Events on Thursday, March 20, begin at 10 am with speakers Judith Smith and Barbara ZoBell of the new television series Party Focus. Smith, owner of the Dining Room Shop in La Jolla, California,and ZoBell, her partner, will offer their expertise on festive party themes, fabulous flowers and creative table settings. A luncheon and style show, sponsored by Maison Blanche with food from Regency Caterers by Hyatt, is planned for 11:30. At 1 pm Barbara Gallup of Totally Topiary will lecture on the art of topiary. Gallup has been featured in a number of magazines including Green Scene, American Horticulturist, Vanity Fair, House and Garden, House Beautiful and Art and Antiques. She is co-author of The Complete Book of Topiary.

An informal demonstration and a lecture will be offered on Friday, March 21. At 10:30 am Theda Booth will mix man-made materials with flowers in her demonstration, "Welcome to My World of Flower Arranging." At 2 pm Dianne Lewis will present "Gems in Bloom," a history of floral design in jewelry from the Georgian period to the present day.

Art in Bloom will open to the public at 2 pm, Thursday, March 20, and will be open regular Museum hours (10 am-5 pm) through Sunday, March 23. NOMA will be closed to the public from 10 am until 2 pm, Thursday, March 20.

Art in Bloom is sponsored by the NOMA Volunteer Committee and the Garden Study Club of New Orleans as a fund-raiser for both organizations. The event benefits NOMA's educational programs and several community projects of the Garden Study Club, including City Park's Botanical Gardens, Longue Vue Gardens, the NOMA Flower Fund and the gardens of Lazurus House, the historic Beauregard House and, most recently, Audubon Park.

Co-Chairmen for this year's Art in Bloom are Susan Brennan and Linda Westfeldt.

Art in Bloom will fill all three Museum floors with myriad floral arrangements, many inspired by paintings currently on display at NOMA. Arrangements will be created by professional florists, interior and exterior designers, artists, celebrities, local and regional garden clubs, the New Orleans area Ikebana and Bonsai societies and students from a dozen area schools. Also on view will be fascinating tablescapes created with materials including dinnerware and flowers.

Admission to Art in Bloom is free with regular Museum admission ($6 adults, $5 seniors, $3 ages 3-17). Ticket prices for the special events are $100 for the Patron and Preview Party, $60 for the Preview Party, $50 for a lecture and the luncheon; $90 for both lectures and the luncheon; and $12 each plus Museum admission for the Friday demonstration and lecture. For tickets or more information, call 488.2631, ext. 316.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm and closed Mondays and legal holidays. Admission prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors 65 and over, and $3 for children ages 3-17. Free admission for Louisiana residents is offered courtesy of Whitney National Bank every Thursday from 10 a.m. until noon.

Also available to visitors are light meals and snacks in the Courtyard Cafe, open from 10:30 am until 4:30 pm. The Museum Shop offers a great selection of gift items, books, jewelry, and other collectibles. For more information, call the Museum at 504.488.2631; the information hotline FYI 394. 1515, menu 6662; or check NOMA's web site at

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