It was an era of emerging civil rights for gay and African-Americans, who wildly supported Chez Gisele because it was a safe haven for acceptance. Gisele was thrust into the spotlight by a local bigot with political ambitions; Warren J. "Puggy" Moity of New Iberia. He used his television show and newspaper to slander Gisele and build a consensus of hatred directed at her personally; calling her a madam and her nightclub a house of male prostitution.
Gisele had to make her nightclub into a private membership club to protect her customers because of a hate crime that occurred at the club (possibly orchestrated by "Puggy" Moity). She strictly kept the identity of her customers protected as she wanted them to have one place in their lives where they were free of blackmail, hate, prejudice, and could simply be themselves.
Unfortunately, historical in fact, a murder of a Chez Gisele employee took place in the parking lot of the nightclub. At the time, crimes against gay people carried little interest of the police and judicial system so the crime wasn't fully investigated and remains unsolved.
Despite the circumstances of hate and murder, Gisele herself was a very playful, happy person with a great sense of humor. She loved using colorful expressions and being a clown to lighten the spirits of those around her. The classic songs sung by Gloria Gaynor, Esther Phillips, La Vern Baker and Eartha Kitt assist to tell the story of colorful characters that passed through Chez Gisele and recreate memories of a bygone era in Lafayette history. Chez Gisele was more than the nightclub. It's Gisele's attitude of grace that embodies unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance. A legacy that will last to eternity.
Cite des Arts (View)
109 Vine Street
Lafayette, LA 70570