This article was published on September 18th, 2023
NOLA’s newest campaign, “Everyone’s Welcome Here” shows the true inclusivity of New Orleans. New Orleans is fabulously known for its rich culture, jazz music, and delicious cuisine. It has long been celebrated for its welcoming atmosphere. In recent years, the city has taken proactive steps to demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. Through initiatives like the “Everyone’s Welcome Here” campaign, New Orleans has solidified its reputation as a welcoming destination for all!
The heart of the “Everyone’s Welcome Here” campaign lies not just in rainbow flag stickers adorning storefronts. It’s also a comprehensive approach to inclusivity. New Orleans & Company, in collaboration with the New Orleans LGBTQ Hospitality Alliance (NOLHA), has implemented a training program for local businesses. This program equips businesses with the knowledge and tools needed to integrate inclusivity into their day-to-day operations. This ensures that LGBTQ+ visitors and all patrons feel genuinely welcome and respected.
Walter J. Leger, III, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company, emphasized that this campaign transcends symbolism. “It’s more than just a sticker; it sends an important message to visitors that inclusion is a part of who we are and how we operate.” New Orleans’ unique blend of cultures has always celebrated diversity, and this campaign reinforces that commitment. The city’s perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s MEI Scorecard underscores its dedication to inclusivity. It’s nice to know this makes it more than just a temporary Pride month initiative!
Dustin Woehrmann, President and Creative Director of Communify and a volunteer leader of NOLHA, highlights the importance of LGBTQ+ travelers feeling safe. According to SAP CONCUR, 97 percent of the LGBTQ+ community express concerns about their safety and discrimination when traveling. New Orleans’ goal is to address these concerns head-on, making sure LGBTQ+ visitors can be themselves without fear. Displaying an “Everyone’s Welcome Here” sticker at businesses across the city is a powerful step in this direction.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell also champions this cause, stating, “everyone will always be loved and accepted here in New Orleans.” Her commitment to inclusivity, equity, and diversity is evident in her leadership and advocacy for a more welcoming city.
June holds a special significance in New Orleans. It marks Pride month and the 50th anniversary of the Up Stairs Lounge arson. This tragic event, which occurred in 1973, remains one of the deadliest crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals in U.S. history. The city is commemorating this anniversary from June 23-25, 2023. This is a way to honor the victims, their families, and ensure that such tragedies are never forgotten.
New Orleans has emerged as a shining example of what inclusivity should look like! This is thanks to its strong commitment to the freedom and safety of marginalized communities. The city’s history reflects the profound and lasting impact of the LGBTQ+ community on New Orleans’ cultural fabric.
New Orleans’ serves as a testament to a city’s dedication to creating a welcoming environment for everyone. Beyond stickers and symbolism, New Orleans has made inclusivity a fundamental part of its identity. As a result, it stands to show how diversity can enrich a city and create something uniquely beautiful. New Orleans doesn’t just say, “Everyone’s Welcome Here,” it lives it every day!