There are few cities that can compete with New Orleans when it comes to LGBT culture. From the raucous Southern Decadence Festival each Labor Day weekend to gay Mardi Gras balls and a widespread love of glitter and costuming, the city welcomes all regardless of orientation.
If you’re looking to dip your toes into New Orleans-style LGBT festivities on a smaller scale than Southern Decadence, New Orleans Pride is right up your alley.
Celebrating its fifth year, this weekend of events is mission-focused and promotes public awareness and education to combat phobias and discrimination. Inclusivity is key, and Pride aims to unite communities to create an environment where everyone is comfortable, safe and respected. Events at Pride are family-friendly and open to all.
Pride at a Glance
This year’s Pride Festival returns to New Orleans June 19-21. The weekend begins with evening shows at the Bourbon Pub and Parade on Thursday, June 18, and an Official Pride Kick Off Party at Harrah’s Casino on Friday, June 19. This year’s Kick Off Party celebrates the transgender community with keynote speaker Ryan Sallans, a trans man and staunch advocate of LGBT rights. Other speakers include Rikki Red, Crystal Little, Dillon King, and Caroline L’Huillier.
On Saturday, June 20, head over to Washington Square Park for the Pride Festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. People usually bring blankets and chairs to this family-friendly and picnic-style event to enjoy live entertainment as well as food and vendor booths.
Inclusivity is key, and Pride aims to unite communities to create an environment where everyone is comfortable, safe and respected.
Later that evening at 7 p.m., the Pride parade rolls through the French Quarter with local school groups, proud individuals, and more. Be on the lookout for celebrity Grand Marshals Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield of reality show Survivor.
Once the sun has set, head over to the gay corner of Bourbon Street (at the intersection of St. Ann Street) – you can catch DJ Blacklow at Oz and Billy Francesca at the Bourbon Pub and Parade.
Beyond Pride Weekend
While Pride Weekend is a culmination of LGBT events, New Orleans Pride works with the community year-round to raise awareness, educate, and support teens and young adults.
The organization’s primary initiatives are anti-bullying and suicide prevention. Pride’s “I’m Bigger” campaign launched last summer to promote awareness and education of the link between childhood bullying and suicide as well as provide support for victims of bullying.
To learn more about New Orleans Pride Festival events, visit www.prideneworleans.com or download the festival’s mobile app in the Apple or Android app stores.