Official Recognition of the Galveston Real Estate Renaissance

Detail, Contestants Bathing Girl Revue, Galveston, May 13, 1923

From the Chronicle front page:

Long known for its vibrant bar scene and raucous Splash Day celebrations, Galveston in recent years has become home to a growing gay and lesbian professional class. Now, real estate agents say, the city is poised to become a retirement haven for graying gays who, like their heterosexual counterparts, succumb to the lure of sun and surf . . .

Phil DeMarco, owner of the gay-oriented Lost Bayou Guesthouse, noted that at least four other homes within two blocks of his bed and breakfast are owned by gays. And real estate agent V.J. Tramonte confirmed that sales to gays and lesbians have speeded up in the past two or three years.

We are shocked! What’s going to come out next? That Jean Lafitte was gay?

Oh . . .

The pirate and privateer Jean Lafitte was the hero of the War of 1812, and the country really didn’t care that he plundered the enemy ships after he defeated them. But after the war, piracy was not as politically correct, so he was forced to set up shop outside the U.S. He picked an island in the Gulf under Mexican rule called Campeachy, later to be named Galvez Town after the Viceroy of Mexico, Bernardo de Galvez; in time the name mutated into “Galveston.” Lafitte spent almost 10 years in Galveston, living most of his adult life with a man named Pierre. It was said that Pierre was his half brother, but Jean never confirmed that and there is nothing to suggest they were related. They built a large house, entertained lavishly, and were connoisseurs of fine food and wine, antiques, art, and fashion. They ordered their clothes directly from Paris through New Orleans. There is no evidence that I could find that Lafitte ever had a long-term relationship with a woman.

Photo: Detail of 1923 Galveston Bathing Girl Review panorama by Joseph M. Maurer, Library of Congress