A centerpiece of LGBT culture is the gift to choose our families. And the only thing better than being with family for the holidays is being with a family of your choosing.
Wherever you live, chances are your group has a routine and a few go-to spots for celebrating year-round. But the holidays call for something special, right? Here in New Orleans, every day is an opportunity to celebrate, and the holiday season is just the exclamation point on the tail end of our year. Whether you’re a couple, a family, or single, there’s a holiday celebration for every member of the LGBT community — from big touring theatre productions to small, intimate local affairs.
New Orleans’ holiday season is world famous for its mild weather and abundance of things to do. We’re here to help you plan your trip with what you can’t miss in New Orleans. From parades to pub crawls to a “blue light special” on boys, we’ve got something for everyone this season.
Big gay holiday to-do list
1. New Orleans Pride Pub Crawl
Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy the ultimate night out like a local at up to 8 of New Orleans’ best watering holes. A $25 ticket includes a t-shirt, shots and giveaways. Spaces are limited and this event is known to sell out, so get your tickets early.
2. V is for Vinsantos
Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 8:00 p.m.
If you love drag, come see Vinsantos along with several of her Drag Workshop “children” for a show full of tributes, odes and impersonations.
3. Merriment on Magazine Street
Nov. 24 – Dec. 25 10:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m.
Lined with restaurants and retailers, Magazine Street is a year-round alternative to busy malls, but the holiday season makes it a reliable haven for shopping. Visit Magazine Street between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and enjoy a leisurely shopping experience away from the typical holiday rush.
4. Krewe of Jingle Parade
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1:00 p.m.
While not exclusively a “gay” event, Krewe of Jingle is still a great way to make the yuletide just that. A diverse crowd of locals and tourists gather in delight as Krewe of Jingle rolls through downtown on parade floats, horses, antique cars, stilts, and anything else lying around Santa’s workshop.
5. Fleur de Tease presents “The Nutcracker”
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, at 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
If you love burlesque and you love the classic holiday tradition of seeing “The Nutcracker” performed live, then you will love Fleur de Tease’s steamy reinterpretation, featuring a very curvy Nutcracker and sexy, striped candy canes. Clearly this might not be ideal for families, but what gal wouldn’t go nuts for this?
6. Arts Council New Orleans’ LUNA Fête
Wednesday -Friday, Dec. 6 – 9 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Some folks like to drive around fancy neighborhoods in New Orleans to look at Christmas lights. But we prefer to see LUNA Fête, a multi-day visionary arts event by Arts Council New Orleans. In the past three years, LUNA Fête has gained a lot of local momentum. Stand in awe of breathtaking light installations that illuminate the city’s iconic architecture. This event is free and family-friendly. Ho Ho Hooray!
7. Bourbon Street Classic
Friday – Sunday, Dec. 8 – 10
This annual weekend-long, co-ed softball tournament brings together locals and visitors alike for plenty of fun on and off the field. Whether you’re an athlete or a spectator, it’s always an unforgettable weekend. Registration ends on November 15, and there are still six spots available in the D division, and three spots in the C division. See the Bourbon Street Classic website for details and to register.
8. Baroque Christmas
Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 pm
Do you and your partner enjoy the finer things? Are you too bougie to pose with Santa at the mall? Well then, Baroque Christmas might be right up your chimney. Enjoy highlights from Handel’s Messiah along with Saint-Saën’s Christmas Oratorio with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, NOVA Masterworks, and renowned soloists.
9. Queens of Gay Carinval “Let Them Eat Fruit Cake” Holiday Extravaganza
Saturday, Dec. 16, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m
As a preview to the upcoming gay mardi gras season, come see the ultimate “Battle of the Crowns” featuring performances from 12 different krewes including Petronius, Lords of Leather, Armeinus and more. Hosted by Kitty Fouche and Kitty D’Litter with complimentary cocktails, how could you go wrong?
10. Saints Games & Pelicans Games
Various dates throughout November & December
Is your team on the sporty side? You’re in luck. The New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans both have a handful of home games before the year wraps up. So gear up and make some [joyful] noise inside the Superdome and Smoothie King Center.
Gay Bars In The French Quarter
Every day, All the time, Constantly
If your little squad of elves just wants to hang out and party, there’s no better place in the world to do that. There’s always something to feel jolly about in the French Quarter, especially when you’re at any of our world-famous gay bars, including: Oz, Bourbon Pub & Parade, Good Friends, 700 Club, Rawhide, Corner Pocket, Lucille’s Golden Lantern. So come, drink, dance, and be merry with your LGBT family. Just be sure to leave at a reasonable hour, or you might stumble into the first day of 2018.
For more information and news on the city’s LGBT community, sign up for New Orleans’ LGBT e-newsletter here.