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7 Reasons You Can’t Miss New Orleans Pride this Year

Make plans now for an unforgettable weekend, June 17-19th.

New Orleans Pride Parade on Bourbon Street being led by a giant rainbow flag. (photo courtesy Paul Broussard)

New Orleans Pride is experiencing a bit of a renaissance as one of the fastest growing Pride festivals in the country. Last year, Travel + Leisure named it as one of their “Nine LGBT Destinations to Visit This Summer,” and people are starting to notice. The events have been growing in number each year, and there is an expected attendance of 50,000 for this year’s parade. We’ve outlined a few reasons this year’s event will be even more special.

7 Reasons You Can’t Miss New Orleans Pride

1. You could be IN the Pride Parade

There will be a 100-foot-long rainbow flag leading the parade through the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street, and they need volunteers to help carry it (sign up here). This is a truly unique experience, and you’ll even get a T-shirt for helping out! This year’s parade is set to have more than 1,000 participants, including nine floats and more than 70 groups.

2. It’s also the annual Louisiana HRC Dinner

Some years these great events overlap, giving you a chance to add a little black tie to your rainbow wardrobe. The Gala and Auction happens on Saturday, June 18 at the Hyatt Regency. The General Reception starts at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and awards at 6:45 p.m. This has been an important year for LGBT rights, and this gala is not to be missed. You can buy individual tickets and will be placed at a table, or you can host your own table. Three amazing local chefs will serve up the dinner, and there is an after-party in one of the suites upstairs in the hotel.

Attendees at last year’s HRC Gala. (Photo courtesy of Willow Haley)

3. This weekend is a great value

There’s so much going on, and most of it is FREE! Besides the free Pride events, there’s also Cajun Zydeco Fest. If you’ve never heard this type of music, you definitely need to check it out.

4. Girls, girls, girls

Pride is definitely one time of year the girls will be OUT! Besides the Girl Party at the Bourbon Pub on Saturday (4 p.m. – 8 p.m.), you will be certain to find lesbians at Swirl Bar on Friday night, at the HRC Gala, and enjoying the music in the city.

A fun date over a glass of wine at Swirl Bar. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

5. Bianca Del Rio is back!

Been missing the “queen of mean”? The winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, our hometown girl, Bianca is back to kick off the Pride festivities with a show at the Joy Theater. She’ll be joined by Drag Race alums Mrs. Kasha Davis, Milk, and Darienne Lake.

6. New this year: PrideFest on Bourbon

This year, New Orleans Pride is taking to the streets. On Sunday, June 19, the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann streets will become a musical stage starring Debby Holiday, Jai Rodriguez, Billy Francesca, Persana Shoulders and many more.

7. If you’re still not convinced…press play

family Lagniappe

If you happen to be in New Orleans on June 12 from 10 a.m. -12 p.m., Longue Vue House and Gardens invites the Greater New Orleans LGBT Community to their first Family Equality Pride Day Celebration. Learn about Longue Vue’s educational programming for children and adults, and find out about other organizations that support or provide resources for LGBT families and youth in our community. This fun event includes activities designed for all ages including a bounce house and cool off with a delicious snowball. Picnics in the gardens are encouraged! This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

If you are looking for a truly great weekend to visit New Orleans, this is it. There are so many ways to participate and be a part of your community. Pride in NOLA is a perfect size and has a great, friendly atmosphere. Laughing with drag queens, waving at people in the parade, listening to great music, eating authentic, delectable local fare… what more could you ask for?

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

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