Yvonne Fasnacht, who spent much of her life playing jazz and welcoming aficionados to her French Quarter club, Dixie’s Bar of Music on Bourbon Street, died Nov. 13 in Metarie, La. She was 101, and no cause of death was reported by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Known as Dixie, Ms. Fasnacht played drums and clarinet and toured with the Southland Rhythm Girls, playing Dixieland Jazz in the 1930s. In 1939, she and her sister Irma opened the first of several bars, all bearing the name Dixie’s. The Bourbon Street edition was described as a place where rich and poor, famous and not, gay and straight felt comfortable.
The bar was one of the first that catered openly to gays, said New Orleans historian and filmmaker Peggy Scott Laborde. “She has one of the first places where gay men could go and be truly comfortable. It was always a very decorous place though. She wouldn’t stand for any hanky-panky.”
Ms. Fasnacht referred to her gay clientele as the “cuff link set,” Laborde said, and was considered a hero by many.
In the 1950s, homosexuals in New Orleans were trying to establish the now-famous gay Mardi Gras balls, Laborde said. One of the early balls was held in nearby Jefferson Parish and was raided. Laborde said Ms. Fasnacht bailed the men out of jail.
Ms. Fasnacht’s name means “Fat Tuesday” in German, a friend said. In French, Mardi Gras translates to “Fat Tuesday,” the final day of the pre-Lenten celebration.
“She used to say, ‘Mardi Gras never ends,’ ” a friend said said. “And for her, it didn’t.”
Well into her 90s, Ms. Fasnacht lived in her apartment on Bourbon Street, still dying her hair red.
George Wilson, 74, retired publisher of the Concord Monitor, died Nov. 16 in Concord, N.H., of Alzheimer’s disease. The death was reported by the paper.
In addition to his publishing duties, Mr. Wilson was chief executive officer of the family company that also owns the Valley News of Lebanon, Vt., the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript of Peterborough, N.H., the Recorder of Greenfield, Mass., and the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Mass.
Mr. Wilson’s first newspaper job was with The Washington Post, where he wrote for the women’s section. In 1961, he married Marily Dwight, whose family owned the Monitor, and started selling ads for the paper a year later. Mr. Wilson became publisher in 1974 and served on The Post’s board. Mr. Wilson retired in 2005.
— From news services