Event: New Orleans Pride
Main location: French Quarter
Dates: June 17-19, 2016
Host: New Orleans Pride
The scoop: In 1971, the Gay Liberation Front of New Orleans hosted its first event—a “gay in” picnic—that took place at City Park. Several other LGBT events followed, and starting in 1978, the gay pride celebration became an annual occurrence.
Note as of 6/15/16: NOLA Pride will continue as scheduled. The weekend celebration will promote love and unity, while commemorating the victims. In light of the tragedy, the festival will include an Orlando ceremony before the parade and a special memorial march.
An Evening with Bianca Del Rio
Date: Friday, June 17
Time: 8 p.m.
Fee: General admission and VIP tickets are available for purchase
Location: The Joy Theater
Transportation: The theater is within walking distance of the French Quarter and located along the Canal Street streetcar line.
Fast facts: Bianca Del Rio, RuPaul’s Drag Race season six winner, is hosting an event to get everyone in the Pride frame of mind. We 3 Queens, MILK The Queen, and Mr. and Miss. New Orleans Pride, among other special guests, will be joining the “Queen of Mean” on stage for a raunchy evening of laughs. Doors open at 7 p.m.
New Orleans Pride Parade
Date: Saturday, June 18
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: French Quarter: The line-up spot is located at 940 Elysian Fields Avenue, and the ending point is at the corner of Bourbon Street and Esplanade Avenue.
Fast facts: The colorful procession with floats will wrap around Royal, Frenchman, Decatur, Canal, and Bourbon Streets with a 100-foot rainbow flag. Be part of the parade and sign up to help carry the flag. This year’s grand marshals include Sandy Sachs, Robert L. Camina, Breakout, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, while Debby Holiday has been dubbed the celebrity grand marshal. If your kids are along for the celebration, check out the designated family viewing area at Jackson Square.
Date: Sunday, June 19
Time: 2-5 p.m.
Location: Corner of Bourbon and Saint Ann Streets
Fast facts: Billy Francesca and Persana Shoulders are hosting the New Orleans Pride Festival. Debby Holiday, Jai Rodriguez, and local performers will be entertaining the crowds all afternoon.
On June 18, The Bourbon Pub & Parade is hosting the Official New Orleans Pride Party: A Girl Party from 4-8 p.m. The pub, which is NOLA’s only gay nightclub that stays open 24/7, has a balcony that overlooks the parade route.
The guy-centric celebrations are taking place at the Pride Block Party and Pre-Parade Party at the Phoenix from 3-7 p.m. on June 18. This is your chance to meet Chris Harder, Jon Pitcher, and Nigel March.
Oz, which refers to itself as the city’s number one gay dance club, is hosting an after party on June 18. DJ Tracy Young will be spinning and Chris Harder will perform his “Burlesque” Show.
As the oldest operating gay bar in the U.S., Cafe Lafitte In Exile is bound to be a bash this weekend. Every Friday, the bar hosts the Pool Tournament and Beer Bust, and each Sunday everyone counts down to the Trash Disco.
Transportation: Public buses stop along Decatur, Rampart, and North Peters Streets, while the Canal Street and Riverfront streetcar lines offer stations near the events, too. Locals use the United Cab taxi company, Uber, and Lyft to get around as well.
Viewfinder tip: Follow #NewOrleansPride2016 for updates. Can’t make it to NOLA Pride? Check out Southern Decadence, the largest gay event in New Orleans.
Lodging: The French Quarter is going to be a force to be reckoned with during Pride weekend, so if you’d prefer a little break from the revelry, consider booking a New Orleans hotel in neighborhoods on the outskirts of town. The Garden District, Uptown, and Carrollton are known for being quiet areas, while peaceful Algiers, just a ferry ride away, is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.
Attractions: It’s your New Orleans vacation after all, so take advantage of some of the local attractions between party hopping. For a taste of the local eats, try some Mississippi Delta-style catfish and hushpuppies at High Hat Café in Freret, or go for the “Haute Creole” cuisine at the historical Commander’s Place in the Garden District. Other cool things to do in New Orleans include browsing the stalls at French Market, eye guzzling the masterpieces at the Contemporary Arts Center, and even joining a gay walking tour of town to learn about its LGBT history.
Average weather: Get ready to sweat. June brings heat and humidity, and temperatures often reach the high 80s F. Pack plenty of water, a shady hat, and some sunscreen to help beat the daytime heat.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: LGBT Community Center, Fairgrounds Coffee, Jax Brewery, and Café Du Monde are a few of the local gender-neutral options in the area. For additional New Orleans gender-neutral bathrooms, visit refugerestrooms.org.
What other events are on your New Orleans gay pride itinerary?
**Header photo attribution: Flickr via Michael Davis