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Your Guide to LGBTQ Happenings in 2020

Pride Parade
The New Orleans Pride Parade on Bourbon Street. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

We created our 2020 LGBTQ year at a glance guide to showcase some of the exciting events New Orleans has to offer to the LGBTQ community throughout the year. From LGBTQ Mardi Gras, to unforgettable music festivals, to the iconic Red Red Dress Run, there’s a seemingly never ending line up. This is not an exhaustive list, but it includes some of the biggest and best events in town. Cheers to another year!

January 3-5: Wizard World Comic Con

As a renowned convention of comics and superheroes, Wizard World welcomes all types of folks and their funky costumes to participate. Special guests this year include Tom Welling from Lucifer and Kristin Kreuk from Smallville.

January 6: Joan of Arc Parade

Celebrate Twelfth night and the first official parade of the Mardi Gras season.

January 18: Krewe of Stars Ball

Celebrate Mardi Gras with the city’s newest, most inclusive krewe.

Saenger Theater (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

January 21-26: Miss Saigon

Come see Broadway, New Orleans-style at the Saenger Theater with this critically acclaimed production. In simplest terms, the show depicts an unconventional love story between a young Vietnamese girl and a US Marine during the Vietnam War. If you have yet to see it, buy your tickets now!

January 25: Krewe of Mwindo Ball

Kick off Gay Mardi Gras by celebrating at this traditionally African-American krewe’s annual ball.

January 31 – February 2: NOLA Leather to Geaux Weekend 

NOLA Leather weekend is returning in 2020! If you’re part of the leather community and looking to meet like-minded individuals from all around the country, this is the biggest of its kind in New Orleans, so don’t miss out. The Hotel Peter and Paul will serve as the official venue.

February 1: Amon Ra Ball

Join the second-oldest gay krewe in New Orleans for their Mardi Gras Ball. Per tradition, the theme will be announced the night of the ball.

February 7: Celine Dion: Courage World Tour

See Celine Dion perform as her Courage World Tour stops by the Smoothie King Center.

February 8: Krewe du Vieux

Enjoy this satirical parade on current events and culture as it rolls through the CBD, French Quarter, and the Marigny.

February 8: GrrlGras Masquerade

Attend a masquerade party for lesbians and friends immediately following the Krewe du Vieux parade.

February 14: Valentine’s Day

Fall in love all over again in one of the world’s most romantic destinations.

February 15: Krewe of Petronius Ball

Celebrate at the the city’s oldest gay ball – reinvented!

Krewe of Armeinius Ball (Photo: Barrett Delong-Church)

February 21: Krewe of Armeinius Ball

Experience the most tourist-friendly of the balls – Armeinius will celebrate its 52nd anniversary at Mardi Gras World (moved to Friday night)!

February 23: Lords of Leather Ball

Celebrate Bal XXXVII with NOLA’s biggest gay leather group.

February 25: Mardi Gras Day

Can you tackle this Mardi Gras Day bucket list?

February 25: Bourbon Street Awards

Anyone is welcome to join this ultimate costume contest featuring amazing costumes from all of the gay Mardi Gras balls.

March 18-22: New Orleans Food and Wine Experience

Food and wine lovers unite for this 5 day festival featuring NOLA’s best restaurants and wines from around the world.

March 20-21: BUKU Music + Art Project

This hip hop and electronic music festival is set on the edge of the Mississippi River.

March 25-29: Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

Attend a literary festival celebrating one of the greatest LGBTQ playwrights in history.

March 27-29: Saints and Sinners Literary Festival

Join LGBTQ publishers, writers, and readers from around the world at Saints and Sinners, the LGBTQ festival within the festival.

April 10: Bunnies in the Big Easy

Enjoy a gay-themed Easter celebration held on Good Friday.

April 12: Gay Easter Parade

See this vibrant parade that passes just about every gay bar in the French Quarter on Easter Sunday. Make sure to stick around for the Bonnet contest at Good Friends to follow.

April 16-19: French Quarter Festival

A favorite among locals, this free festival features live music, classic New Orleans dishes, and cocktails on the riverfront and throughout the French Quarter.

April 23 – 26: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Celebrate world-famous Jazz Fest with an absolutely incredible line-up.

May 1-3 : The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Jazz Fest rolls into its second weekend of music, food, and good times.

May 15-17: Bayou Boogaloo

Find your favorite over-the-top flotation device and head to Bayou St. John to soak up the sun and take in the live music.

Mascara Run (Photo: Paul Broussard)

May 25: Mascara Run

Join this hilarious gay bar crawl in the French Quarter where teams compete to raise money as they add pieces of drag clothing at each stop.

May 30 (TBD): HRC Louisiana Gala Dinner & Auction

The Human Rights Campaign – perhaps the most influential LGBTQ advocacy group in the country – hosts its 28th Annual Dinner and Silent Auction.

May 30/31: New Orleans Oyster Festival

Compete in oyster eating and shucking contests, or watch judges choose the best oyster and white wine pairings while you taste the flavors of oysters from around the Gulf Coast.

June 5-6: FestiGals

Join this girlfriend Getaway Weekend – a festival for inspiring, connecting, and celebrating women in New Orleans.

June 12-14: New Orleans Pride

Celebrate Pride in New Orleans, which features a fabulous costume laden parade through the French Quarter.

June 24: Elton John Tour

Elton John travels the world one last time on his farewell tour. Don’t miss your last chance to see the legendary artist in New Orleans.

Essence Fest (Photo: Paul Broussard)

July 1-5: Essence Festival

Experience the largest celebration of African-American culture that happens every July 4th weekend in New Orleans.

July 4: Independence Day

Grab your family and picnic blankets and settle into a spot along the river to watch the dueling barges fireworks display on the Mississippi river.

July (TBD): Bastille Day Fête

Join in on games and merriment celebrating the national day of France and French culture in New Orleans.

Red Dress Run (Photo: Paul Broussard)

July 11: Running of the Bulls

Join a huge group of white and red-clad “runners” who try their hardest to evade ladies on rollerblades (the bulls). Those who get caught get tapped on the behind with plastic bats.

July 21-25: Tales of the Cocktail

Learn cocktail histories, new boozy tactics, and sample recipes from famed bartenders around the city at the 18th annual Tales of the Cocktail.

August 1: Hancock Whitney White Linen Night

Dress in your best white linen and stroll through the amazing art galleries along Julia Street.

August 8: Dirty Linen Night

Following the artsy White Linen Night, guests continue the party the following weekend along Royal Street in supposedly the same outfits (hence the dirty). It’s a faux walk of shame that progresses into the night.

August 8: Red Dress Run

Join runners in a sea of red dresses for a short charitable run in the French Quarter. Don’t want to run? Put on a red dress and come celebrate anyway.

September 3 – 7: Southern Decadence

Don’t miss the biggest gay weekend of the year! An estimated 300,000 LGBTQs gather in the French Quarter for a long weekend of revelry. Expect tons of drag, street parties, and incredible costumes.

September 5: Third Annual Pride Run

New Orleans hosts its pride run/walk starting in the beautiful Crescent Park.

September (TBD): New Orleans Restaurant Week

Enjoy great meals and deals as participating restaurants offer prix-fixe menus and special dishes all week long.

September (TBD): NOLA on Tap

The region’s largest beer festival takes place in City Park, offering over 400 different beers.

October 24: Krewe of Boo

Get dressed up for this beloved parade with a cult following of Halloween fanatics and families alike.

Halloween New Orleans (Photo: Carlos Gonzalez)

October 30 – November 1: Halloween New Orleans (HNO)

This is a weekend consisting of a black tie gala, costume party and tea dance all raising money for a HIV/AIDS charity, and a favorite for LGBTQ visitors.

October 30 – November 1: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Worship the music at this grand festival over Halloween weekend.

November (TBD): Boudin, Bourbon & Beer

Enjoy unlimited boudin, bourbon, and beer as some of the country’s best chefs and craft brewers gather in Champions Square for this all you can eat and drink event.

November (TBD): Tremé Creole Gumbo Fest

This is a celebration of all things brass and gumbo taking place in New Orleans’ oldest, African American neighborhood, Tremé.

November 28: Bayou Classic

Grambling State and Southern University go head-to-head in one of the most anticipated college football matches of the season every Thanksgiving weekend.

December (all month): Holidays New Orleans Style

Enjoy a unique New Orleans holiday experience with Réveillon dinners, caroling in Jackson Square, holiday home tours, and much more.

December (TBD): Krewe of Jingle Parade and Jingle on the Boulevard

Join the fun in two of the most wonderful parades of the year! Make sure to celebrate these festive events filled with holiday cheer.

December (TBD): Bourbon Street Classic Softball Tournament

This annual LGBTQ softball event is a fun-filled double elimination tournament for queer people and their allies.

Bonfires light up the sky at the Algiers Bonfire & Concert on the Riverfront (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

December 24: Bonfires on the Levee

See this unique tradition where locals build giant bonfires along the levee to light the way for Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa.

December 31: New Year’s Eve

Ring in the new year with fireworks along the Mississippi River.

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