What started as a going-away party for friend in 1972 has turned into one of the biggest celebrations of LGBT culture in the world. Southern Decadence Festival, a celebration full of costumes, high-fashion, dancing and even a parade, draws in over 100,000 people from all over the world every year.
Since New Orleans is known for its tolerant atmosphere, it should come as no surprise that Southern Decadence happens right in the French Quarter. It’s even called the “Gay Mardi Gras.”
This year’s festival beings Aug. 28 and continues through Sept. 2. The 39th Southern Decadence Parade starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1. There are many smaller parties, pageants and events, but this is one of the main events where everyone celebrating comes together. Most of the other events center on Bourbon Pub, at the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Ann Street.
While the main reason of the festival is to celebrate gay and lesbian culture and lifestyle, everyone is welcome to join in on the fun. While the celebrating is fun, it’s also for a good cause; Belle Reve is the official charity this year, and the proceeds from ticket sales and donations will go to helping them toward their goals.
VIP passes are sold out, but the regular $60 weekend passes are still available. With the weekend pass, you get access to every event Thursday through Sunday, priority admission to the events, and a welcome cocktail.
Even though hotel rooms fill fast for this event, Hotel Provincial still has a few openings. Think of it as the perfect place to relax when you’re not out strutting your stuff. The Decadence festivities are all within walking distance, and the room rates are some of the most competitive in the French Quarter.