Home to Southern Decadence, the largest gay gathering in the South, New Orleans has long welcomed gays and lesbians. Founded by Frenchmen in frilly clothing, the “Queen of Southern Culture” gave rise to the nation’s first opera house and cinema, its oldest active art enclave and community theater—and one of the longest operating gay bars in the United States.
Now nearing the half-century mark, Decadence draws thousands of revelers over Labor Day weekend to take part in the outlandish, four-day French Quarter affair. But there’s more to Crescent City gay life than just partying in the streets.
With its vibrant arts and entertainment scenes, renowned culinary and cultural institutions, trademark hedonism and laid-back attitude toward alternative lifestyles, New Orleans promises a good time whatever side of the street you parade on.