This article was published on August 24th, 2017
Despite the impacts of Hurricane Harvey pounding the Texas and Louisiana coastlines, over 180,000 gay men from the United States, Canada, and Europe will be descending on New Orleans, August 31 – September 4, 2017. No, it’s not Pride, a circuit party, or street fair; it’s Southern Decadence 2017! It’s become a Labor Day tradition that has masses of men flocking to the sin city of the south for a weekend of self-indulgence, fast-flowing liquor, debauchery, and good times.
It all started back in 1972, when a group of about 50 friends met up in the Big Easy over the Labor Day long weekend. Of course, being gay men, they had to include a theme into the weekend planning, and they chose to dress like southern decadents. The friends had such a great weekend that they agreed to make it an annual tradition.
Today, Southern Decadence has become a flagship event on the gay calendar. The event typically attracts an older crowd, but there are all types that attend, from jocks and twinks, to leather daddies and circuit kweens. The gay corner of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street at St. Ann’s, is where most of the action happens. Weekend events including the Friday night float parade, Sunday afternoon marching parade, afternoon bead tossing from the balconies, circuit-style dance parties, and late night cruising in dark bars. It’s also a fantastic weekend for people watching.
If the excitement and activities on Bourbon Street get to be a bit too overwhelming, or you’re hung over and looking for a low-energy activity, or if you want to explore the culture and history of NOLA, there are plenty of amazing activities. Hop aboard the heritage street cars for a laid back tour of the city, get on an airboat for a thrilling swamp tour ride through the swamps to see alligators and other bayou wildlife, or take a leisurely guided walking tour through the above ground cemeteries to see the tombs and crypts.
For more fun things to do during Southern Decadence 2017, places to stay, like the Maison Dupuy in the heart of the French Quarter, and places to eat, visit the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
If you’re headed to New Orleans for Southern Decadence, remember to pack appropriate footwear, be prepared for high humidity and temperatures, and be aware of local and travel issues related to Hurricane Harvey. Southern Decadence 2017 is sure to be another fantastic year of friends, parties, and fun!