POSTED Mon. Aug 31, 2015


Labor Day Weekend Brings Decadence Back to New Orleans

Labor Day weekend marks the 44th Southern Decadence and this year’s Grand Marshals (there are 5!) invite you to “rip the label off” and come Swim with the Gods for one of the most fabulously inclusive community get-togethers that New Orleans is proud to host.

How do you swim with the gods? You might start by creating a costume in the signature colors for this year: lime green, lavender and silver lame and then douse yourself in a hearty layer of sun block and glitter.

Dress code is Costume Casual, but sometimes, just a few accessories are all you need. It’s hot out in New Orleans the first weekend in September so be prepared for a multitude of exposed body parts on display. You can also brush up on your dance moves. Uptown Funk, the official theme song of the year, will make rounds on this year’s playlist in a special remix form specially created for the affair.

An historically LGBT event, this year’s fete comes on the tail of the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, a milestone sure to be celebrated by a festival that certainly knows how to throw a great party.

The festivities kick off on Wednesday, September 2 with DJs, street shows and various neighborhood bar events but the main feature, a walking parade, departs from Barracks and Royal around 2PM on Sunday, featuring the Grand Marshals and their entourage along with a splattering of familiar faces from the Carnival parade scene who bring signature moves and awesome jams to the historic French Quarter (Fear not, weekenders, the party rolls on through Monday).

In the spirit of unity, Steven Mora, Grand Marshal and Parade Organizer of this year’s procession, wants to reincorporate the entire affair and bring people together from inside and outside the gay community, similar to the mood that launched the original parade in 1972.

“We’ve fought so hard to get our equality, and we’ve gotten some,” says Mora, “now let’s bring it together and be a family.”

If you are not up on your Decadence history, a group of people – some gay, some not – were living (and socializing) in converted slave quarters when they realized how hot it was indoors, and decided the outside would definitely be cooler. Through the years, Mora explains, “the original group moved on, but because the one remaining original member happened to be gay, he continued the tradition and thus was born the event that we know and celebrate today.”

The walking parade is a culmination and celebration of several months of fundraising for LGBT related nonprofits that pay tribute to the past, improve the present and set the foundation for the future.

The parade is an unprecedented size, with several dance troupes and brass bands in the mix. Dancing Man 504 will be there along with the Pussyfooters, who return this year in their honorary spot behind the Grand Marshal float.

In the spirit of unity, Mora invited several other dance groups join the fun. Notably, The Star-Steppin’ Cosmonaughties bring a stellar playlist, galactic costumes and sassy moves to the affair. Also joining the fun are the very Sexah Monkeys known as the Organ Grinders, the hilarious Rolling Elvi, Jailhouse Rockers and the Storyville Baby Dolls, who continue to preserve the New Orleans Mardi Gras Baby Doll tradition.

Missing will be the notoriously well-loved 610 Stompers, but hey, there’s always next year. Mora will be decked out in what he can only describe as “very little on my body except upward and backward.” 15 people will be carrying his 35 Foot costume. Most photographed? He probably nailed it.

The usual bars are onboard; you might know them to be flying the rainbow flag year-round. Great spots to catch the parade all along Bourbon Street include Bourbon Pub & Parade, Grand Pre’s, Double Play, Corner Pocket (Dauphine Street) and Black Penny.

The parade travels down Royal Street before turning on St. Louis, weaving around toward St. Ann and then ending on Bourbon Street. There will be ample street partying, DJs inside and out, and lots of sidewalk space to watch the procession. The full parade route can be found here. Bring your party, but please also bring your manners and respect our great city, its people and its celebrations.

Image courtesy of Southern Decadence.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

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