Southern Decadence started forty-eight 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 annualevents. It is one of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in New Orleans, and 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.
Attendance in 2018 broke all records, with over 250,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participants, and an economic impact estimated to be in excess of $275 million.
Southern Decadence is one of the top five annual events in the
City of New Orleans, along with Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Essence Festival,
and French Quarter Festival. As Liberace once said,
“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.”
New Orleans’ 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 Marshals lead the annual walking parade through the streets beginning at 2 p.m.
The theme for 2018 was “House of Bourbon – Unleash Your Beast”,
and the official colors were Royal Blue and Canary Yellow,
as announced at the Grand Marshals’ Press Party
at The Bourbon Pub / Parade.
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. And most of the city’s main gay attractions are within a few blocks.
Most street party activities take place in the immediate area of the French Quarter, and the dance parties are in the clubs. Since the gay bars never close, there is something happening around the clock.
Some of the nation’s best DJs work the crowds to a frenzy.
Guest DJs for 2018 included Kidd Madonny (an encore to his amazing performances the past several years) for The After Dark Party on Saturday night. New York resident and New Orleans native
DJ Max Rodriguez was also on hand, joining VJs Brendan Thompson and Chris Allen
to provide the video entertainment at The Bourbon Pub.
No wonder the weekend is often referred to as Southern DecaDANCE!