REGARDING 'RAWHIDE & PHOENIX: AN INVESTIGATION'
A STATEMENT FROM OUR OWNER TRACY 'CLINT' DEROCHE
March 25, 2019
Frank Perez’s investigative report on the compliance issues for Phoenix and Rawhide in Ambush (Volume 37, Issue 7, Page 24). The story gives a detailed account of many of the things we have been dealing with over the past couple months because of a complaint that came from “a concerned French Quarter business owner.” While the Ambush story cites a redacted report, we knew early in the process that the complaint came from Tom Wood. We were and are disgusted. There are enough arrows pointed toward our community in the form of bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, and legislated, legalized hate, that for this to come from within our own circle is beyond disheartening. It’s gutting.
We have long held the belief that the queer spaces of Phoenix and Rawhide are an integral part of New Orleans’ unique LGBTQ+ fabric. And yes, our spaces have changed. Mr. Perez said in the article, “the truly sad fact is those losses appear to have come at the hands of members of our own community.”
Wood said in a statement to Ambush: “I cried foul. I am responsible for the employment of almost 100 people and will always do what’s best to protect them as we have for almost five decades.” When “doing what’s best to protect them” involves tearing apart the New Orleans LGBTQ+ community for your financial gain at the expense of generations of our chosen families and collective queer experiences, how is that protecting anyone? The Phoenix is the proud employer to 20 people, and now the livelihood of those 20 people and their families, along with Wood’s own employees and their families at Rawhide, is jeopardized, because of his greed, pettiness, and hate.
We wanted both of these spaces to thrive in the aftermath of this. We will continue to be a champion for all queer spaces to thrive, but we will never stand for deplorable tactics like Wood’s to tear down another.
We also want to thank the city, state, and agency officials who have guided us through this process and have been nothing but supportive and encouraging to get us compliant. As troubling and difficult as this has been, we have made some great new contacts and friends in our local and state governments. They have heard you, our fantastically loyal Phoenix family, and knowing we have so many in our corner has been a great help these past few weeks. We hope you continue to stand with the Phoenix and that you support LGBTQ+ businesses who stand with and support each other. We pledge to do the same.
Tracy ‘Clint’ Deroche
Owner, Phoenix Bar
A STATEMENT FROM OUR OWNER CLINT TAYLOR REGARDING THE CITATIONS FROM ATC
February 23, 2019
We want to take this moment to thank everyone for the outpouring of support from our incredibly loyal and beloved Phoenix family. You’ve been in our corner for more than 35 years now, and we have overwhelming felt that support these past few days, too.
On Thursday afternoon, ATC cited us that we were in violation of some state laws. The citations were not unlike what we have seen them recently give other gay bars. We plan on attending our hearing and stating our case.
We feel it’s important to state the bar was not raided. Patrons were not arrested. Our queer ancestors were dragged out of our safe spaces and sanctuaries by law enforcement. They were arrested. They lost their jobs, families and friends. They were assaulted. And as we saw at Upstairs Lounge and Pulse, they lost their lives. It’s important that we state clearly what happened on Thursday and what our ancestors fought for and persevered are two different things.
But the fight is the same. An attack on one of us is an attack on all us. We hope you stand with us. We hope you stand with Rawhide. Our LGBTQ+ community in New Orleans is one full of so many beautiful people. We have been so honored to be a part of this community for more than 35 years. We love hosting the local queer groups for monthly fundraisers and special events.
As we work toward our hearing date, the entire bar is open, upstairs and down. While we wait for that date, there might be some slight differences to what you’re used to seeing. Most things will go on as planned. Next weekend, Atlas Grant returns for Mardi Gras. The Southernmost Puppy Weekend is back April 5-7. And we are very excited for our Phoenix Leather Weekend April 12-13, where we welcome all folks and all expressions of leather.
Thank you for all your outpouring of support. It means more than you know. We hope that you continue to do so as we navigate this moment.
The Phoenix Bar
FEBRUARY 28, 2019
UPDATE: We need to clarify that ATC’s actions are not from a targeted campaign against the Phoenix or the LGBTQ community. The office was acting on a complaint it received specifically about the bar. We have been working with the various local and state organizations that have come to the bar in regard to the citations we received a week ago.
Some of you have asked about our hearing and the public’s ability to attend. To our knowledge, it is not a public hearing. We are working with the New Orleans Human Relations Commission to set up a meeting where the community can address its concerns. We hope to give details after Mardi Gras.
Thank you again to our incredible Phoenix family. Happy Mardi Gras!
APRIL 21, 2019
Last night we were excited to have an all-inclusive event for both upstairs and downstairs. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me or the rest of the staff, a bartender took it upon himself to discriminate against a group of people.
We are taking necessary action to resolve this situation and apologize to those involved.
Tracy “Clint” Deroche.
Owner, Phoenix Bar