Southern Decadence

Labor Day Weekend - New Orleans

Thursday, August 30 through Monday, September 3, 2018

Southern Decadence Official Website Southern Decadence Hotels and Travel Schedule of Events DJs and Entertainment Southern Decadence Website Southern Decadence

If nothing else, New Orleans certainly knows how to throw a party, from the world-famous Mardi Gras to other, more specialized celebrations. One of those began quite inauspiciously on Labor Day weekend 1972 and has evolved into Southern Decadence, which is today the #1 gay and lesbian event in New Orleans.  It was originally just a small party to mark the end of summer.   Now in its fourth decade, it has evolved into one of the best-attended events in New Orleans.  It is fondly referred to as the Gay Mardi Gras.  In 2017, over 210,000 people participated, according to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors' Bureau.  Held annually during Labor Day weekend, people begin to arrive on Wednesday and most stay right through Monday. The festivities are non-stop.  The annual effect on the economy is estimated to be approximately $250 million, making it one of the top five events held in New Orleans.  The dates for 2018 are Thursday, August 30 through Monday, September 3.

The French Quarter is the epicenter and is crowded for the whole weekend. Sunday is the big climax, with the streets crowded from one side to the other.  It is all in anticipation of the parade led by the Grand Marshals.  For almost thirty years the parade route was a guarded secret, often decided on-the-fly as the procession meandered through the French Quarter.  Now there is an official parade route, which is available here: Southern Decadence Parade Route.  Many revelers are oblivious to the parade, content to party in the streets and the bars. 

Ground-zero of Gay New Orleans is the intersection of St. Ann and Bourbon Streets, and this is even more evident during  Southern Decadence. On this corner is The Bourbon Pub / Parade, the city's largest gay entertainment complex, and the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, home to many visitors and ghosts alike. In fact, for 2018 The Bourbon Orleans is the official host hotel for Southern Decadence. All of the main gay landmarks are located within a couple of  blocks.  And in New Orleans you are generally allowed to take your cocktail with you as you sashay from one establishment to another.

There are no large organized events away from the French Quarter, with the clubs hosting all of the dance parties. The bars remain open 24 hours a day, and the partying seems to never end. During the day the celebration encompasses the bars and the streets, which are generally closed to vehicular traffic.  At night, many of the best DJs from the circuit rule the dance floors, as the beat of the party moves inside.  But make no mistake, the streets are active all night long, with the energy and excitement filling the sultry end-of-summer air.

The Bourbon Street Extravaganza, now in its 14th year, is the FREE outdoor concert at the corner of Bourbon and St Ann Streets on Saturday, September 1st beginning at about 6pm. This year we are in for a triple treat of entertainment.  Recording, film, TV and Broadway sensation DEBORAH COX returns for her fourth time to headline this event, along with the truly legendary Tony and Grammy award-winning JENNIFER HOLLIDAY.  And the Queen of Southern Decadence, JEANIE TRACY, returns for her fourteenth appeareance.
For complete information about this amazing event, click here: The Bourbon Street Extravaganza.

Here's what some people have said about Southern Decadence:

Email us at with any questions.  More detailed information is available here: Southern Decadence Official Website.   And please remember that this wonderful event would not be possible without the generosity of the Official Sponsors of Southern Decadence.







updated 8/11/2018