Labor Day weekend in New Orleans can only mean one thing: the return of Southern Decadence. Affectionately known as “Gay Mardi Gras,” the event celebrates its 43rd anniversary this year, with events scheduled from Wednesday, August 27 through Monday, September 1, 2014. This year’s official theme is “Under The Big Top: Welcome to the Gayest Show on Earth,” with the 2014 official colors of canary yellow, turquoise blue and pearl white. Proceeds from this year’s events will benefit the official 2014 charity, PFLAG New Orleans, an organization comprised of family, friends, and straight allies of GLBT organizations. Check out a full list of this year’s official events, and read on to find out our picks for the highlights of this year’s event.
Thursday, August 28
The official Southern Decadence 2014 Kick-off Party, hosted by Grand Marshals XL Chad Boutte, Reba Douglas & Aubrey Synclaire takes place from 7-10 p.m. at the House of Blues. The event will be followed by a second line parade to Harrah’s, where the party continues at Masquerade, featuring DJ Lady Bunny spinning music and a special guest performance by Juju Bee, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame.
Friday, August 29
The highlight of Friday night is the Knights of Decadence float parade, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at Elysian Fields by Washington Park. The parade ends near the corner of Bourbon and Ursulines Streets.
Afterwards, choose from a variety of late-night events, including the “Survival in the Amazon” themed POP Ball XII, hosted by the Radical Faeries at Allways Lounge, a Southern Decadence Block Party, complete with vendors fair at the Phoenix from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. or the Annual Official Southern Decadence Grand Marshals’ Drag Show at Golden Lantern at 11 p.m.
Saturday, August 30
Saturday evening features the 10th annual Bourbon Street Extravaganza, a free outdoor concert at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann from 5-8:30 p.m. with performances by Sandy Anderson, Inaya Day, Waylon Payne & Jeanie Tracy. Join the party at Oz New Orleans or the Bourbon Pub for the best views of the event.
Sunday, August 31
The traditional Southern Decadence walking parade, which starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday near Royal and Barracks Streets at the Golden Lantern, winds its way through the French Quarter to end near Bourbon and Dumaine Streets.
Sunday night, House of Blues hosts drag performers Willam Belli and Detox, plus the Southern Decadence Grand Marshals at 9 p.m. Lucky Pierre’s also features additional drag shows throughout the weekend.
Visit the Official Southern Decadence website for a full schedule of the weekend’s events.