Come hungry. Leave prideful. During this year’s New Orleans Pride Festival, life is literally a smorgasbord of love, acceptance, friendship, and more cocktails than there are stars in the sky. Pride is 72 hours of feasting on everything this city, as well as the incredible LGBTQ community, has to offer. And if you’re even thinking for one second of missing this event, think again.
Grab a bag, stuff it with a few toiletries, some cool threads to wear, and leave your reservations at home. Just make sure you actually have a hotel reservation or at the very least cool friends who are willing to give up their couch for three days. Hotels fill up fast for this weekend.
10 REASONS YOU CAN’T MISS PRIDE THIS YEAR
1. You can fire up your weekend at a dance party like no other.
To officially kick off New Orleans Pride Weekend, Johnny Scruff, Jake Shears along with Mr. New Orleans Pride and Mr. Louisiana Leather – as well as many more – unite for what should be the best dance party New Orleans Pride has ever seen. With guest DJ’s like DJ Honey Dijon (New York), DJ Vicki Powell (Atlanta), DJ Mark O’Brien (San Francisco), as well as the incomparable Ambrosia Salad, you better start practicing your dance moves now so you can be ready for a night of shaking what your mama gave you. Wear a costume. Wear leather. Or, just wear what you want.
“To quote Auntie Mame, life’s a banquet and some poor (fools) are starving to death.” — Ms. New Orleans Pride 2017
2. Unite with the funnest people you’ll ever meet at the Pride parade.
With more than 70,000 spectators and over 2,700 participants, this parade is the largest in Louisiana for the 3rd year in a row. You’ll see floats, local bands, marching groups, bikes and more. It’s hot in New Orleans so make sure you dress for the weather — jeans may be too hot to wear.
3. You’ll get to see Jake Shears at One Eyed Jacks.
The incredible frontman of Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears, is breaking out on his own and going solo. And guess what? He’s going on tour – a five-date tour of the south hitting cities like Birmingham, Nashville, Louisville and – you guessed it – New Orleans.
4. You can brunch like a queen or a king.
We love a good brunch in New Orleans, and there are so many choices! A few of our favorites include New Orleans Cake Cafe and Elizabeth’s, and don’t forget The Country Club’s drag brunch. If these places don’t tickle your fancy, check out more scrumptious places here.
5. Meet a teddy bear during Pride Fest at Phoenix.
Pride’s official home for leather and bears, the Phoenix block party runs all weekend with beer, food, and clothing booths; a friendly crowd, store, and more! Go Saturday afternoon to see a preview of the Pride Parade (it lines up and ends there). Plus, there will be live entertainment by Pink Slip, Miss New Orleans Pride, Princess Stephaney, Anais St. John, Rica Shay, DJ Matt Consola, and more!
6. Here, love is always ‘in the air‘.
The napkin toss at Lafitte’s In Exile is a time-honored tradition and has become one of our favorite Sunday evening events. Be there around 9:15 p.m. and watch for the stacks of white napkins being passed around. When the time comes, you’ll know what to do!
7. You can bond with the fam at Family Equality Day.
While you’re mixing and mingling with other parents, your kids will be having the time of their lives jumping in a bounce house, making arts and crafts, and even going on an insect hunt in Longue Vue House and Gardens special “Discovery Garden” designed for kids. Plus, enjoy live music by the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus and free snowballs!
8. Help give equality a step up at the Equality March.
Grab your comfy shoes and head out to Jackson Square for New Orleans part of the nationwide Equality March, Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a great way to not only stand up for yourself, but also all those people around the world that are afraid be who they truly are inside.
9. Come on! It’s Sunday Funday, y’all!
A NOLA tradition of bar-hopping in the French Quarter usually starts with a “purple drink” at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (the oldest bar in the U.S.). Then, make your way down past Lafitte’s In Exile (the oldest gay bar in the U.S.) and to the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann streets, where you’ll find all the shenanigans happening either in The Oz, The Pub, or the streets in-between!
10. And of course, there’s the day-after party.
There’s so much to do here, so why would you ever leave? Take a few days off, and check out the city after all the glitter has been swept up. Take a romantic evening cruise on the Natchez Steamboat, hit up a great LGBT-focused historical tour of the city, or a cool ghost tour. Be sure to ask about the Sultan’s House if you go on the Haunted History tour.
Next weekend is the HRC Gala.
If you can’t make Pride this year, or are looking for another reason to extend your trip (besides the 10 reasons above) the HRC Gala is the following weekend at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. It’s a fun event filled with incredible speakers, great food, and live entertainment. Remember, it’s formal, so get that tux pressed or pick out a new party dress.
For more information and news on the city’s LGBT community, sign up for New Orleans’ LGBT e-newsletter here.