Unveiling the Muse

Many books have been published on the history of Carnival in New Orleans. Very few even mention Gay Carnival or the importance of the gay krewes as part of this grand history. Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans is the first book to document this phenomenon unique to the city of New Orleans. Author Howard Philips Smith has spent over twenty years compiling information on all the gay krewes and has at last brought this story to life in a full-color publication.

University Press of Mississippi - 2017


Southern Decadence in New Orleans

The Southern Decadence festival in New Orleans began in 1972 as an end-of-the-summer celebration of friendsgay and straight, black and whiteon the Sunday before Labor Day. Over the decades to follow, Decadence transformed itself into a mostly gay celebration lasting almost a full week, with parades and block parties, bead tosses and scantily clad revelers. The history of the event is a complex story of how the city itself could foster such a novel and completely original extravaganza, despite the onslaught of AIDS and the Religious Right. Howard Philips Smith (with Frank Perez) has brought together rare invitations, posters and interviews to do justice to an almost undocumentable phenomenon.

Louisiana State University Press - 2018


About the Author

Raised on a small farm in rural Southern Mississippi, Howard Philips Smith obtained multiple degrees in history, French and German. A Fulbright Scholarship (1977) took him to France where he studied French literature and taught English in a French lycée in Bordeaux. After over a decade in New Orleans during the 1980s, Smith moved to Los Angeles and completed his novel The Cult of the Mask, based on the gay community in New Orleans before the onslaught of AIDS. The research for this work was transformed into Unveiling the Muse and Southern Decadence.


Other Publications

© 2019 howardphilipssmith