POSTED Sun. Aug 24, 2014

Events

How To Decadence Like A Hot, Sweaty, Mess

Labor Day weekend in New Orleans means it’s time for another year of Southern Decadence. The six-day LGBT celebration takes over the French Quarter from Aug 27 (Wednesday) to Sep 1 (Monday).

Much of the action is centered around two of the most popular gay-friendly bars in the city – the Bourbon Pub & Parade Oz – both of which sit near the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon Street. The festival encompasses much of the French Quarter and other bars around town too, such as the clothing optional Country Club, which hosts a Thursday kick-off celebration (10am-5pm) and welcome party happy hour (5pm-8pm), as well as a host of other special events throughout the weekend.

Last year, Southern Decadence had over 150,000 participants and the event’s economic impact on New Orleans was estimated at over $180 million. The largest and oldest LGBT celebration in the South has seen some poor weather in recent years, but skies appear to be fairly clear for labor day weekend. Highlights of the party will include a Friday evening “Knights of Decadence” float parade through the streets of the Marigny and Quarter (7pm), and the infamous Sunday afternoon Grand Marshal Parade at 2pm. For specific route information, check here.

This year’s Grand Marshals are Aubrey Synclaire, Chad Boutte, and Reba Douglas, and the 2014 theme is “Under The Big Top: Welcome to the Gayest Show on Earth,” decked out in official colors of canary yellow, turquoise blue, and pearl white.

Affectionately referred to as “Gay Mardi Gras,” 2014’s Southern Decadence marks the event’s 43rd year. While many events at some of the more crowded bars and venues cost money to attend, much of Southern Decadence is basically open and gratis to public. Example: Saturday’s Bourbon Street Extravaganza is a free outdoor concert at St. Ann and Bourbon. Expect a wild, sprawling block party with live music, flamboyant costumes, and plenty of debauchery. Later that night at 11pm, popular Miami DJ/Producer Kidd Madonny makes his first ever New Orleans appearance at the Bourbon Pub. Dance floor gonna be hot.

A smaller-scale event that takes place that same Saturday night is the 9pm Punk Rock & Drag Show at Siberia. The show starts at 9pm and combines several of our favorite things, including punk music, elaborate costuming and the Eastern European food slinging in the Siberia kitchen. Proceeds benefit Black and Pink, an organization that supports LGBT prisoners. If you’re a history buff, check out Cafe Lafitte in Exile (901 Bourbon) the oldest continuously operations gay bar in the U.S, a regular watering hole of luminaries like Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote.

For more information about Southern Decadence, check out the FAQ on their website.

Editor’s note Decadence is fun, but it can seem pretty guy centered (to quote a friend watching the event in 2012, “There’s more bears here than Yellowstone”). Women and transgender participants may want to check out the website for Dykeadence to supplement the decadence at, well, Decadence.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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