New Orleans’ biggest LGBT event of the year takes over Labor Day Weekend, August 29 through September 2. This year marks 48th annual celebration with a delicious theme: “Fruit Salad: Come Toss A Good Time.” The official “colors” are polka dots and pinstripes and the city, state and its loyal visitors will do what they do best: celebrate.
1. Come one, come all. Southern Decadence is known for welcoming leather lovers and bears, but they aren’t the only types of people you’ll see. All ages, genders, races and orientations come to party.
2. Play inside and out at the Phoenix. Get your fill of food and beer at the Phoenix Block Party, and then head inside for the leather shop and maze adventure.
3. Get your parade on. The signature Sunday street party weaves through the French Quarter and features colorful and fantastical costumes, entertaining drag queens, lots of leather and, yes, beads.
4. There’s no place like Oz. If you’re in the mood for huge parties, hot DJs, entertainment and many, many bodies then head to Oz, in the heart of the French Quarter.
5. Head outside for the Bourbon Street Extravaganza. Take in the talent on the stage — Well Strung, Zoe Badwi, Jeanie Tracy and Rowetta — and on the street.
6. Enjoy your open containers. Unlike most American cities, drinking in public is legal. So none of that “let me finish this drink and then we’ll go” business.
7. Shirts are optional. For everyone.
8. Do brunch. Southern cooking + brunch = #yaaasss. There’s no shortage of spots to try: Sylvain for tempting food and cocktails right in the Quarter, Willa Jean for hearty dishes and coffee cocktails, Compère Lapin for $30 bottomless Pimms Cups, your pick of vendors at Instagram-worthy St. Roch Market and Café Du Monde, of course.
9. Make it a vacation. Southern Decadence takes place over the long Labor Day weekend. Take a few extra days to make it a real vacation. Check out the official hotel for Decadence, Bourbon Orleans Hotel or the sleek yet intimate jewel in the French Quarter, Hotel Le Marais.
10. Laissez les bons temps rouler. “Let the good times roll.”