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3 Things You Didn’t Know About Southern Decadence

The weekend known for leather and bears may have more surprises than you’d expect.

Couple watching Southern Decadence
Couple watches the excitement happening along Bourbon Street.

While some people think it’s “our Pride weekend” and others may call it “Gay Mardi Gras,” Southern Decadence (Aug. 31 – Sept. 5, 2016) is neither of those things and stands completely on its own. Like we’ve written before, this city is a cornucopia — a mix of really interesting people all participating in it together. Will you see half-naked men? Yes. Half-naked women? Probably. Will you see drag queens? Yes. Will you see someone dressed as Colonel Sanders? Possibly. But you will also see couples, gay parents with kids, and friends/allies wearing rainbow tutus. It’s what makes us unique and will certainly make your experience one that isn’t easy to forget. Come with us as we take over the downtown side of the French Quarter!

Surprises of Southern decadence

1. Decadence is 45 years old. It’s matured into a wonderfully exciting silver fox. New Orleans is known for its traditions, and many of the events here have a long history. It all started with a group of friends throwing a going-away party. Today, it culminates with a parade on Sunday weaving through the French Quarter. Watch for crazy costumes, drag queens, political satire, beads, leather, stilts, and gay Mardi Gras costumes.

Parade marchers prepare to make their way though the Quarter.

2. The biggest indoor party of the weekend is actually for the girls! While the boys will pack into every nook and cranny of Oz and the streets outside of the Phoenix will be bustling with men of all flavors, the biggest indoor event of the weekend — Fleurt! — is actually put on by GrrlSpot, New Orleans’ own pop-up Lesbian & Queer bar. Dykedence (the queer sister of Decadence) is also putting on a Variety Show on Friday, Sept. 2.

Bella Blue performs for a packed crowd at Eiffel, the girls’ event during Southern Decadence.

3. Leather and bears, yes, but so much more. There is a misconception that Decadence is only the leather and bear community. Take a look at the photos below from last year — we’ll let them speak for themselves.

Peace to all says this parade viewer.
Southern Decadence weekend is not as much about organized events as it is exploring the French Quarter and surrounding areas.
Costumes are encouraged even if you’re not walking in the parade!
Just like the event itself, many people come back year after year for this giant celebration of life and love.
One of many girl groups that march in Sunday’s parade.
Serving up some southern drag for the Southern Decadence parade.
A couple at Eiffel, one of the girl events during Southern Decadence weekend.
Having fun at the Phoenix’s Beer Bust.

All photos by Paul Broussard.

As we get closer to the event, we’ll publish our weekend picks. Be sure to join our LGBT newsletter to get the info first!

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