Southern Decadence started forty years ago as a simple going-away party. As a top gay Labor Day Weekend destination, it has evolved into one of our world’s major annual events. One of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in New Orleans, it has become known as the “Gay Mardi Gras.” People begin to arrive on the Wednesday before Labor Day, and generally don’t even think about stopping or going home until the following Tuesday. With over 110,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participants, and an economic impact estimated to be in excess of $125 million, the city has recognized the festival’s importance with an Official Proclamation to welcome the event.
Pic of Circuit Party BoysThe city’s wildest neighborhood gets even crazier as the French Quarter is packed for the entire event; however, the big day is Sunday. That’s when the Grand Marshal leads the annual parade through the streets beginning at 2 p.m. The 2011 Grand Marshals are the legendary Tiffany Alexander, and Misael Rubio.
The 2011 official theme is “Viva New Orleans: What Happens in New Orleans Stays in New Orleans” and the official colors are fuchsia pink, black and silver.
The corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets is generally considered to be the epicenter of Gay New Orleans, and even more so during the Southern Decadence festival weekend. At that intersection is the largest gay nightclub, The Bourbon Pub video bar and The Parade dance club, which is home to the hottest dancers in town. Also located here is the Southern Decadence Official Welcome Center, inside of Hit Parade Gift and Clothing. And most of the city’s main gay attractions are within a few blocks.
On the dancefloor
Most street party activities take place in the immediate area of the French Quarter, and the dance parties are in the clubs. And since the gay bars never close, there is something happening around the clock. Some of the nation’s best DJs work the crowds into a frenzy. The DJ lineup for 2011 includes ABEL, Max Rodriguez, Lydia Prim, Mike Bryant, Dawna Montel, Brendan Thompson, Chris Allen, and Jayskee. No wonder the weekend is often referred to as Southern DecaDANCE!
Chi Chi LaRue, the “Diva of Decadence,” returns in 2011 for his 14th anniversary. And new for 2011, celebrity photographer Adam Bouska brings his NOH8 campaign photo shooot to
The Bourbon Pub / Parade on Thursday. The Bourbon Street Extravaganza is the free outdoor concert on Saturday afternoon at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets. In 2010, it featured performances by Deborah Cox, Erika Jayne, Kimberley Locke and Jeanie Tracy. The amazing event schedule for 2011 is being announced as plans are finalized.