Come hungry. Leave prideful. During this year’s New Orleans Pride Weekend, 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 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 have a hotel reservation or cool friends who are willing to give up their couch for three days. Hotels fill up fast for this weekend.
Join our community and our allies, and come have a ball with us! We rounded up the top ten reasons you can’t miss Pride in New Orleans this year.
1. Grab your raspberry beret and start your Pride weekend right.
A day before Pride weekend officially begins, drop by the Catahoula hotel for a special Prince-themed Pre-Pride party. This super chic hotel in downtown New Orleans has an amazing rooftop patio, making it the perfect summertime spot to kick back. DJ, drink specials, and a portion going to charity – what could be a better kick off?
2. Start off with a family-friendly Pride opening.
Whether you rocked your best Prince or not, Pride’s official start this year will be at the Shrine on Airline as the Baby Cakes host their 2nd annual Pride game. If you’ve never been to a baseball game in New Orleans, you have to go. Expect a night filled with great baseball, fireworks, and if you’re lucky – a drag queen or two. This is a great family-friendly way to celebrate Pride.
3. Unite with some of the funnest people you’ll ever meet at the Pride parade.
With more than 100,000 spectators and over 3,000 participants, this parade is one of the largest in Louisiana. You’ll see Mardi Gras-style floats, local bands, marching groups, bikes, and more. It’s New Orleans, so costumes are always encouraged!
4. 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 The Country Club’s drag brunch. If these places don’t tickle your fancy, check out more scrumptious brunch spots here.
5. Meet a teddy bear during PrideFest at Phoenix.
Pride’s official home for leather and bears, the Phoenix block party runs all weekend with beer, food, and lots of vendor booths. Go Saturday afternoon to see a preview of the Pride Parade (it lines up and ends there). Enjoy free live entertainment by Big Freedia, Mr. and Mrs. Pride, and many more local artists.
6. Take part in a long-held tradition.
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 8:45 p.m. and be on the lookout for the stacks of white napkins being passed around. When the time comes, you’ll know what to do.
7. Drag up your life.
The holy Trinity of a gay weekend: great food, bottomless drinks, and drag queens. Lucky for you, you can have all three at once with Poppy’s drag brunch at SoBou. New Orleans food legend Poppy Tooker brings you a three-course meal that consists of sangria salad, duck legs & eggs, and toulouse red absinthe soaked strawberries. See unforgettable drag performances by Debbie With A D, Laveau Contraire, Starr Alexander, Sunshine Edae, and Jessica Champagne.
8. Have a Sunday Funday, NOLA style.
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 700 Club and Good Friends where you’ll find all the shenanigans happening there or on the streets in-between! The night generally ends on the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon at either Oz or the Pub.
9. GrrlSpot’s Pride Events
For all the girls looking to get down with the ladies, check out GrrlSpot Jungle hosted at Santos bar – the home of the last lesbian bar in New Orleans. The event is on June 7 and tickets are just $15. Other GrrlSpot events include the BLOQ party and the Rouge party. If you are looking for more girl events over the weekend, consider purchasing a Triband for $20.
10. Top it all off with a day-after party.
Stay for an extra day or two, after all the glitter has been swept away and enjoy the rest of the city. Take a romantic evening cruise on the Natchez Steamboat, join an LGBT-focused historical tour of the city, or get spooky with a ghost tour.