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New Orleans Attractions: Southern Decadence

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Welcome to New Orleans, a city bursting with vibrant culture, soulful music, and a rich history. Among its many attractions, one event stands out for its decadence and celebration of diversity: Southern Decadence. This iconic festival has become a beloved tradition, especially within the LGBTQ+ community. Each year, New Orleans comes alive with parades, parties, and extravagant displays of fashion and artistry. So get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of this extraordinary event! 

History of Southern Decadence 

new orleans attractions southern decadence attendees marching in the french quarter

Southern Decadence had humble beginnings in 1972 when a close-knit group of friends, known as the “Decadents,” organized a costume party as a playful farewell to Michael Evers, who was leaving New Orleans. The event was filled with merriment, spiked punch, and even some recreational drug use.  

Encouraged by the success of their gathering, the Decadents decided to expand their festivities the following year, adding a parade to the mix. Little did they know that their small gathering would evolve into the vibrant Quarter-wide weekend celebration known as Southern Decadence. It embraced people of all backgrounds, genders, races, and sexual orientations, embodying the inclusive spirit of New Orleans. 

The Festivities 

new orleans attractions southern decadence guests in wizard of oz costumes

The annual Southern Decadence event is a whirlwind of festivities with various activities that contribute to its vibrant atmosphere. From the Beer Bust at the Phoenix on Friday and Saturday evenings to the Bourbon Street Extravaganza at the iconic corner of Bourbon Street on Saturday afternoons, there’s something for everyone. Notably, the highlight is undoubtedly the Southern Decadence Parade on Sunday, which goes through many renowned queer establishments.  

However, what sets Southern Decadence apart is the organic nature of the celebrations. Local businesses host their own events, offering exclusive deals along the way, while the exuberance can even be spotted on the streets, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the experience without needing a specific destination. 

Event Schedule, Admission, and Volunteering 

new orleans attractions southern decadence attendees in colorful costumes

Mark your calendars for Southern Decadence 2023, taking place from Thursday, August 31 to Monday, September 4, in various areas of the lively French Quarter. The iconic Bourbon Street Extravaganza and the vibrant parade are open to all and free of charge. However, for those seeking an elevated experience, VIP Passes are available for purchase, granting access to exclusive parties.  

If you’re looking to get involved, volunteer opportunities await, particularly for the Southern Decadence Parade on September 3rd. Volunteers assist with registration and have the chance to march alongside the organizers. Meet up at the Golden Lantern at 10am to receive a complimentary t-shirt, and don’t forget to don the official colors of green, black, and blue. It’s bound to be an unforgettable time! 

Keep the Fun Going on a French Quarter Tour

If you’re looking for more fun things to do, try embarking on a French Quarter walking tour. Explore the heart of New Orleans, strolling through its historic streets filled with captivating architecture, lively music, and tantalizing aromas.

Uncover the city’s rich history, from the iconic Jackson Square to the enchanting St. Louis Cathedral. Discover hidden gems, local legends, and indulge in delectable culinary delights along the way. A French Quarter walking tour offers a delightful blend of culture, history, and entertainment, allowing you to experience the unique magic of New Orleans firsthand. Reserve your French Quarter tour today and prepare to create some fun-filled memories! 

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
French Quarter Tour  |  Garden District Tour  New Orleans Ghost Tour  |  New Orleans Cocktail Tour

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