One of the country’s oldest citizens’ preservationist groups, the Vieux Carré Property Owners and Associates (VCPOA) sought to transform the colonial era neighborhood into an imagined place for themselves and tourists seeking to experience “history.” Contestations over the content and character of the city’s history, as others have noted, are almost diffuse as they are endless, animated by characters, charming, criminal, eccentric and merely unconventional. Though some VCPOA officers occasionally expressed a desire to preserve the unique individuals of the Quarter, their efforts to preserve the neighborhood’s diverse architectural styles were intended to create a public space for an elite and homogenous few. The campaign against public sexuality and gender nonconformity reveals the ways that preservationists attempted to redesign peoples’ experiences and use of public space.
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