Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler:
New Orleans had long been a sexual oasis for members of the armed forces like Steven. As a port city, like San Francisco or New York—where generations of “undesirably discharged” homosexuals settled after being kicked off transport ships—New Orleans boasted a lineage of military men on leave seeking gay sex. In fact, Tennessee Williams’ first homosexual encounter was with a G.I. in New Orleans. In 1966, W.F. Charles of the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board wrote the proprietor of Café Lafitte in Exile: “Inspection reports presented to the Board indicate that your establishment is a known hangout for persons of undesirable character.” This letter had the reverse of its intended effect. Tickled instead of intimidated, the owners of the bar framed the letter and put it on display near the front door.