Southern Decadence, Gay Mardi Gras

If you are down New Orleans way for Labor Day weekend then you might want to join in the fun and frolics at Southern Decadence, or as it is now widely called the ‘Gay Mardi Gras’. Events start on Wednesday, August 27th and carry on through until Monday, September 1st . But what exactly is this huge homo event?

Well, according to the official website, it started 37 years ago as a simple going away party and has since evolved into one of the world’s top gay events. It is one of New Orleans’ largest annual events with over 100,000 gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and trans-gendered people turning up for it. The city’s French Quarter gets packed out all week but it is the Sunday when the ‘Grand Marshal’ leads the parade through the streets starting at two in the afternoon. Each parade is named and themed and this year, 2008, the parade is titled ‘Decadence Goes Disco’, the theme colors are black, silver and white and the Grand Marshals will be Paloma and Tittie Toulouse.

Where Bourbon Street meets St. Ann Street on the corner is where you will find the center of New Orleans’ gay world. Here you will also find the city’s largest gay nightclub, The Bourbon, and The Parade dance club with many of the city’s other gay attractions, shops, bars and clubs within a few blocks. Expect that area to get busy all day and night long as the pubs don’t close and there is a huge amount of entertainment lined up.

Chi Chi LaRue has been the hostess for the last ten years and will be back again this august to front the festivities. Other stars appearing include: Shirley Q. Liquor, Lady Bunny, Deborah Cox, Kimberley Locke, Jeanie Tracy and Thea Austin. There are cabaret shows, outdoor concerts and dance nights with Deca-Dance XX being the largest dance event of the weekend.

Sounds like you’ll want to get in there early and the good news is that you can buy tickets in advance for many of the scheduled events. To read more about what’s going on and to buy tickets you can go to the official website: where you will also see the events schedule, a map of the area, the venues and pictures from previous Mardi Gras.

I say ‘official’ website as that is what it calls itself. So does where there is information about who is sponsoring what. For example the official beer sponsors are Bud Light and the media guide is provided by Ambush Mag. There is also a comprehensive history of the event and lists of accommodation, transport notes and much more. Both sites are as good as each other for information, I just wonder why there are two “official” sites?

If you want to hear and see what goes on right now you can log into the Tube sites and do a search under ‘Southern Decadence’ I found loads of clips this way. You’ll hear guys talking about the day, you’ll see guys flashing their dicks too and this is a good way to get a flavor of the things to come. Why, there are even some websites out there that feature videos filmed at the events, mainly street parties and club movies but every now and then you’ll get someone showing himself off. You get the impression that at the New Orleans Mardi Gras just about anything goes… and that just about everything comes off. It’s a celebration and a chance for thousands of gay folk, both boys and girls, to let their hair down.

So why haven’t you bought your tickets yet?

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