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Insider’s Guide: Pirates of Halloween New Orleans

From Oct. 27-30, take a plunge into Pirates’ Revenge: The Curse of Jean Lafitte.

Pirates Revenge Flag
The French Quarter is prepared for the return of Jean Lafitte. (Photo courtesy of D. Woehrmann)

HNO is an ingrained piece of New Orleans Halloween culture and a distinguished tradition amongst the LGBTQ community worldwide. It began as a small dinner party and fundraiser hosted by local New Orleanians in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis back in 1984 and has since grown into a full weekend of events with nearly 5,000 people in attendance. Now in its 33rd year, HNO has raised more than $4.5 million for Project Lazarus, a support services facility for locals living with HIV/AIDS. The tradition continues with a tribute to the pirates and Caribbean influences that helped shape New Orleans.

Take a look at this year’s lineup of Pirate-themed events, with some helpful tips below in our Insider’s Guide. And while you’re at it, check out: Pirate Fan? 5 Things Not to Miss This Halloween.

The Events

Thursday, Oct. 27: The Lazarus Ball

The Lazarus Ball kicks off HNO weekend with a fancy, black-tie preferred affair. Expect an exceptional performance by talented and local favorite band, No Idea, and get your first taste of New Orleans’ infamous soul food with Joel’s Catering. A silent auction will feature pieces from the city’s thriving art scene, a 40-bottle wine raffle, and an open bar.

Where: Il Mercato, 1911 Magazine St.
When: 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Dress: Black tie preferred
Booze Factor: Open bar!
Food Factor: Traditional, New Orleans-style fare

#lazarusball @beau_moss @stevenbelflower

A photo posted by Colby Melvin (@colbymelvin) on

Friday, Oct. 28: HNO GLO

The neon party returns! Everyone had such an amazing time last year, we’re bringing it back. This year, head to The Civic Theatre with the amazing DJ Joe Ross. It’s going to be a great night!

Where: The Civic Theatre, 510 O’Keefe St.
When: 9:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Dress: Casual, neon, and glow-in-the-dark attire
Booze Factor: Free vodka bar for Hosts/VIP, cash bar for general entry, 21+
Glo Factor: If Lisa Frank, Rainbow Bright, and the Glow Worm threw a party, this would be it

Saturday, Oct. 29: Pirates’ Revenge: The Curse of Jean Lafitte

The biggest gay halloween party is back at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Where: Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St.
When: 10 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Dress: Costume required for entry
Booze Factor: Open bar! 21+
Food Factor: A Caribbean-themed bountiful feast by Ralph Brennan for Hosts/VIP only
Costume Factor: If a Mardi Gras costume and a Burning Man costume had a gay son, you’d end up with the insanely creative costumes at this event

Limited-edition coin (for patrons) and sword (for costume contest winners) from Mitchell Gaudet Studio Inferno. (Courtesy photo)

Pirate’s Revenge Costume Tips

  • Get crazy creative! It’s your time to shine. You can go with the pirate theme or do something completely different.
  • The Costume Contest begins at 10:30 p.m. and only lasts until 12:00 a.m. Sign you or your team up early, and don’t be waiting in line to strut your stuff on stage.
  • Costume Contest Categories Include: Pirates’ Choice, Best Costume Overall, Best Group Costume, Best Individual Costume, HOTT Mess Award, and Best Onstage Performance

Check out this collection of costumes over the years:

Sunday, Oct. 30: The Queen’s Tea — Dance, Brunch & Second Line

In honor of the pirate theme, Sunday’s brunch is returning to the water – but this time with a Tea Dance on The Creole Queen riverboat. Come out to dance, eat brunch, and catch up on last night’s gossip, and be sure to stay until the end and join us as we Second Line from The Creole Queen to Oz.

Where: The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, 1 Poydras St. (in Spanish Plaza behind the World Trade Center building)
When: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Dress: Casual
Booze Factor: Skyy Vodka and beer included! 21+
Brunch Factor: Delicious fried chicken. Red beans and rice. Bloody Marys. You know how brunch goes…

Pirate Brunch Tips

  • The boat will stay docked until 2:15 p.m., so you don’t have to arrive at 1 p.m. if you’re still recovering from the night before. Just be sure to get yourself together by the time we set sail!
  •  If you entered the costume contest, the only way to find out if you won and collect your award is make it on board the boat in time.
  •  Don’t miss the second line, starting at 4 p.m.

More information and tickets can be found at Halloween New Orleans’ website.

For more information and news on the city’s LGBT community, sign up for New Orleans’ LGBT e-newsletter here.

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