From Tennessee Williams to Truman Capote and Bianca Del Rio, New Orleans has a rich LGBT history and is home to so many famous queer people. It makes sense that some of our city’s most well-known tours focus on preserving this culture. These three tours are doing just that – each with its own flare and flavor, and each one uniquely New Orleans.
NOLA Drag Tour with Quinn Laroux
Quinn starts out by letting everyone know that this isn’t your typical history tour, and she’s absolutely right. Many of the history tours in New Orleans focus on powerful figures from the city’s past, but this particular tour places an emphasis on the contributions and stories of women, queer people, and people of color. Throughout the tour, expect to learn a lot about the history of trans people, the sex industry, and famous LGBT figures. Plan to make a pit stop at 700 Club for a drink or two. Tours normally take place Thursdays through Saturdays and cost $25 per person. Book yours here.
Fun fact: I finally learned the history behind pinning a dollar to people for their birthdays. Take the tour to find out why!
Rainbow Fleur de Lis Walking Tour
The Rainbow walking tour led by Frank Perez – President of the Louisiana LGBT+ Archives Project – is the oldest LGBT tour in New Orleans. Much like Quinn’s tour, this one is primarily in the French Quarter but the history goes so far beyond that. You’ll learn what makes NOLA’s gay history unique and learn about gay festivals like Carnival (Mardi Gras) and Decadence. The tour is typically offered by appointment only, but it’s easy to book. Tours are $30 a person with special group rates available. For more information, call 504-568-0717.
Fun Fact: Frank’s tour was featured on “Prejudice and Pride,” an ABC News Documentary, and has received critical acclaim from both local and national media outlets, including NPR, USA Today, Queerty, GayCities.com, and The Advocate.
New Orleans Secrets – LGBT Queer History Tour
This new LGBT tour dedicated to to New Orleans’ queer history started this past summer. The tour starts on Wilkinson Street and strolls through the French Quarter while speaking to historic queer spaces. Enjoy a stop at the Presbytere to see their comprehensive gay carnival exhibit. There you’ll set eyes on some of the most fabulous Mardi Gras costumes, and even some historic gay ball invitations. After a few more stops, including a drinking stop at Cafe Lafitte in Exile, the tour ends with the fascinating account of the story of the Upstairs Lounge fire. Tickets are $32 and booking is available here.
The Twirl Tour
Visit the watering holes and other hangouts of famous New Orleanians on the Twirl tour by Glenn De Villiers. Some of these famous stops include Hermes Bar with a special cocktail each day, the Hotel Monteleone with the Hemingway Daiquiri, and a Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House. Along the way, learn the legend of Miss Dixie and her all-girl jazz band – it’s certainly a story for the books. Tours take place on Saturdays at 3 p.m. and run for two hours. Bookings cost $30 a person. Private bookings are available upon request.
Fun Fact: Tours are never scripted, and each tour is slightly different and can be customized for your group.
If you’re here visiting and want to dive deeper into queer history, we encourage you to take one or more tours. For other types of tours in New Orleans, visit here.