2016 Southern Decadence Celebration in New Orleans - Bienville House

Bears, beards and beads. Dolls, drag and dresses. Family, friends and fun. All of these things can be found during the 5 day long gay extravaganza known as Southern Decadence. This fabulous event draws in more than 200,000 people to the annual celebration of all things LGBTQ+ and is sure to be a good time for all who attend.

Southern Decadence during Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter.

Southern Decadence is the highlight of Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter. (Photo courtesy Infrogmation.)

While 5 days of parties and gatherings might seem overwhelming, we have some information and tips for those attending for the first time.

1. Southern Decadence turns 45 this year.

What started out as a going away party for friends has turned into one of New Orleans’ largest celebrations. With a plethora of daily events ranging from dance offs to drag shows and everything in between, you are guaranteed to find at least one event that will get you lost in your fabulous surroundings. All of these events culminate at the parade which runs throughout the French Quarter. Like all New Orleans parades, you can expect a fair amount of political satire, although the costumes are sure to be more extravagant than the traditional parade-wear.

2. It’s not just for the boys.

While Southern Decadence certainly celebrates the men in the LGBTQ+ world, women and non-binary members of the queer community are also the stars of the weekend. In fact, the largest indoor event, Fleurt, is skewed to feature the female and non-binary members of Southern Decadence. Local group, Dykedence, is also putting on a Variety Show at Cafe Istanbul on Friday, September 2nd. And of course, don’t be afraid to attend events that might seem to cater only to male attendees. Southern Decadence is meant to celebrate the entire LGBTQ+ community and all events will be safe spaces to celebrate your identity.

3. Pace yourself!

Just like Carnival Season, it’s easy to get carried away with all of the possibilities for fun. If you decide to drink while you celebrate, be sure to eat and hydrate consistently throughout the day. New Orleans is of course also known for delicious eats, so make note of places you’d like to try before you go out. Beach Bum Barry’s Latitude 29 will be serving Tiki drinks and eats all weekend and is located within walking distance of nearby Bourbon Street. Need a place to stay in the French Quarter? Our LGBTQ+ friendly hotel makes the perfect spot to call home during the craziness of Southern Decadence. What’s more fabulous than relaxing by the pool after a day of pride?

4. This celebration is for everyone.

Gay, lesbian, trans, bi, non-binary, questioning and even straight–Southern Decadence was made to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and have fun together. If you’re looking to join in on one of the most legendary events in the nation, then don’t hesitate to make plans and book a stay with us. Bienville House takes pride in our support of the LGBTQ+ community and has made great strides to ensure that our hotel is a safe space for all. We’re looking forward to Southern Decadence and can’t wait to celebrate with you.

Southern Decadence in the New Orleans French Quarter.