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How to Have a Black, Red & Dirty Weekend in NOLA

You think you know all the “big” LGBTQ weekends in New Orleans, but think again.

Lazarus Ball Black Red Dirty
Pack your tux, a red dress and a casual, lightweight outfit and get to New Orleans for Black, Red & Dirty Weekend. (Photo: Willow Haley)

For all those thinking New Orleans is just too hot to visit during the summer, think again. In fact, for all us LGBTQ locals, the slower tourism months offer some of the best events the city has to offer — and this is your guide to all the right places.

The second weekend of August brings you the Lazarus Ball (Aug. 11), the Red Dress Run (Aug. 12), and Dirty Linen Night (Aug. 12) – so pack up your best black tie, red dress, and white couture for a black, red, and dirty weekend full of festivities.


The Lazarus Ball is the perfect opportunity to support a good cause and channel your best James Bond (or Honey Ryder). (Photo: Willow Haley)

The Lazarus Ball — The Lazarus Ball kicks off the weekend with a classy schmooze-fest without any of the pretentiousness on Friday. This event is jam-packed with good times, including live entertainment, delicious food, and a silent auction boasting prizes for local businesses, art galleries, local restaurants and venues around town.

Spend away since the proceeds go to Project Lazarus, which provides men and women with AIDS housing, healthcare, and support services. What’s better than a sophisticated night with a philanthropic cause?


Grab your sneakers and your favorite scarlet colored dress or tutu and hit the Quarter for a fun run like no other. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Red Dress Run — The next morning, wake up early, don your best red dress and attend the notorious Red Dress Run in the French Quarter. The beer pours freely after 9:30 a.m. and the race begins at 11:30 a.m., rain or shine. Not a runner? Not a problem. Many people choose to meet up with the runners afterward to enjoy a wild day in the French Quarter amid a sea of red. If you are a runner, or simply want to jog about two miles with one of the quirkiest running crews in NOLA, you are guaranteed an incredible time.

Though the route is kept secret until the day of the race, you will begin at Crescent Park and snake through the Marigny and French Quarter neighborhoods. Make sure you take in the beautiful scenery and appreciate all the incredible historic homes along the way. We recommend you purchase tickets prior to the race, and all the proceeds go to charity.


Take your white linen out of the hamper and head out to Royal Street where the galleries and shops open their doors and the fun lasts all night. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Dirty Linen Night — After finishing up the Red Dress Run celebrations, change into your lightweight “dirty” outfit (if you’re local, preferably the exact, unwashed one you wore last weekend at White Linen Night) and head down to Royal Street for Dirty Linen Night. This event, beloved by locals and tourists alike, is a great opportunity to stroll through art galleries showcasing local artists. To make the event even more memorable, many of the participating galleries and shops give away dirty martinis and dirty rice (for the uninitiated, that’s Cajun-style white rice with chicken livers and giblets). Deals and entertainment are handed out freely as you meander through the 200-1000 blocks of Royal.

Black, Red & Dirty Lagniappe

Before you head out of town, you have to have a beignet. (Photo: Paul Broussard)


As you mosey around the French Quarter this weekend, here is a list of fun places to hit up:

  • When you’re in your fancy gear, Brennan’s, Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s, and Antoine’s offer delicious French-Creole fare to get you in the New Orleans mood.
  • In the morning, the Court of Two Sisters does an incredible brunch buffet with literally all that is good in the world. For brunch with flair, hit up SoBou on Sunday for their Burlesque Brunch or head to the Country Club for their Drag Brunch.
  • While on Royal Street, pop into Goorin Bros and Fleur de Paris to try on some stylish hats. Jump back in time to the ’50s by checking out vintage outfits at Trashy Diva, or laugh at funny socks at Pink House Boutique.
  • Skip the line and stop by the pick-up window at Cafe du Monde for a frozen cafe au lait and a bag of powdered beignets or swing through Leah’s Pralines for a delectable treat.

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

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