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Your Guide to LGBT Happenings in 2019

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

We created our 2019 LGBT year at a glance guide to showcase some of the exciting events New Orleans has to offer to the LGBT community throughout the year. From LGBT 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!

Jan. 4-6: Wizard World Comic Con

There’s a place for everyone and their costumes at Wizard World. Special guests this year include Jason Momoa from Aquaman and Rose Mclver from iZombie.

Jan. 6: Joan of Arc Parade

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

Jan. 8-13: Les Misérables

Come see Broadway, New Orleans-style with one of the most famous shows on stage.

Jan. 15: Justin Timberlake: Man of the Woods Tour

See Justin Timberlake perform as his The Man of the Woods Tour stops by the Smoothie King Center.

Feb. 22: Krewe of Stars Ball
Celebrate Mardi Gras with the city’s newest, most inclusive krewe.

Jan. 27: King Cake Festival

Dozens of the city’s best bakeries gather to serve some of their delicious king cakes at this festival. Expect to sample sweet king cakes, savory king cakes, and everything in between.

Feb. 1: Krewe of Mwindo Ball

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

Feb. 9: 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.

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day

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

Feb. 16: Krewe du Vieux

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

Feb. 16: GrrlGras Masquerade

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

Feb. 22: Krewe of Petronius Ball

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

March 2: Krewe of Armeinius Ball

Experience the most tourist-friendly of the balls – Armeinius will celebrate its 51st anniversary at Mardi Gras World.

March 3: Lords of Leather Ball

Celebrate Bal XXXVI with NOLA’s biggest gay leather group hosted by Bianca Del Rio.

March 5: Mardi Gras Day

Can you tackle this Mardi Gras Day bucket list?

March 5: Bourbon Street Awards

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

BUKU Music + Art Project (Photo: Paul Broussard)

March 22-23: BUKU Music + Art Project

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

March 27-31: Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

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

March 29-31: Saints and Sinners Literary Festival

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

April 11-14: French Quarter Festival

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

April 19: Bunnies in the Big Easy

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

April 21: 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 25 – 28: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the world-famous Jazz Fest with an absolutely incredible line-up.

May 2-5 : The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

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

Bayou Boogaloo (Photo: Paul Broussard)

May 17-19: 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.

May 25: Ariana Grande: Sweetener World Tour

Watch as this Billboard chart-topping artist takes the stage of the Smoothie King Center during her stop in New Orleans.

May 27: 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.

June 1-2: 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 7: LGBT Baby Cakes Game

Watch the game and the subsequent fireworks display as the New Orleans Baby Cakes hosts their 2nd LGBT Pride baseball game.

June 7-9: New Orleans Pride

Celebrate Pride in New Orleans, which features a parade through the French Quarter on June 9.

June 20-22: FestiGals

Join this girlfriend Getaway Weekend – a celebration of women and New Orleans.

June 22: HRC Louisiana Gala Dinner & Auction

The Human Rights Campaign – perhaps the most influential LGBT advocacy group in the country – is holding its 27th Annual Dinner and Silent Auction.

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.

July 4-7: Essence Festival

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

July 13: Running of the Bulls

*Editor’s Note: Rescheduled to August 24

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 14: Bastille Day Fête

Join in on games and merriment celebrating the event that kicked off the French Revolution.

July 16-21: Tales of the Cocktail

Learn cocktail histories, new boozy tactics, and sample recipes from famed bartenders around the city at the 17th annual Tales of the Cocktail.

Aug. 4: Hancock Whitney White Linen Night

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

Red Dress Run (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Aug. 10: Red Dress Run

The entire city puts on 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.

Aug. 10: Dirty Linen Night

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

Aug. 29 – Sept. 2: Southern Decadence

The biggest gay weekend of the year! Over 300,000 LGBTs gather in the French Quarter for a long weekend of revelry – Expect tons of drag, street parties, and seas of incredible costumes.

Aug. 31: Second Annual Pride Run

New Orleans is hosting its pride run/walk starting in Crescent Park.

Sept. 2: Labor Day

Celebrate the last day of Decadence.

Sept. 9 – 15: New Orleans Restaurant Week

Participating restaurants offer prix-fixe menus and special dishes all week long.  

Sept. 21: NOLA on Tap

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

Oct. 19: Krewe of Boo

A beloved parade with a cult following of Halloween fanatics and families alike.

Halloween New Orleans (Photo: TJ Boudreaux)

Oct. 25-27: Halloween New Orleans (HNO)

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

Oct. 25-27: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Enjoy a grand festival of costumes and music.

Oct. 31  Nov. 1: The Weekend Soirée

A four-day-long weekend for queer womxn to meet people like them and to explore the city of New Orleans. The soiree includes workshops, community-building activities, and social events.

Nov. 7: Werq the World Tour

Legendary Queens of RuPaul’s Drag race take stage at the Orpheum Theater in epic lip sync performances. This year’s queens include Kim Chi, Asia O’hara, and Violet Chachki.

Nov. 8: Boudin, Bourbon & Beer

As the name suggests, enjoy unlimited boudin, bourbon, and beer in Champion’s Square.

Nov. 16-17: Tremé Creole Gumbo Fest

This is a celebration of all things brass and gumbo.

Nov. 30: 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): Christmas New Orleans Style

Enjoy Réveillon dinners, caroling in Jackson Square, holiday home tours, and much more.

Dec. 1: Krewe of Jingle Parade

The most wonderful parade of the year filled with Christmas jingle and holiday cheer.

Dec. 6-8: Bourbon Street Classic Softball Tournament

This annual softball tournament is fun for all.

Dec. 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.

Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve

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

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