The boys are back! This was New Orleans’ most profitable Southern Decadence yet with at least 125,000 people spending $100 million at local clubs, hotels, restaurants and shops. Last year, we were still recovering from Isaac and there was a tropical storm the year before drenching the festivities. This year it was sunny and warm, perfect for a giant scantily-clad 5 day party. The French Quarter decorated with rainbows and LGBT imagery and hosted contests for things like best costume and largest penis (no, I didn’t attend).
As the streets and bars filled with revelers and tourists kept thanking me for my “tolerance,” I remembered that I get to take for granted that I’ll be accepted as myself most of the time in most places. For those in the LGBT community who don’t get to take that for granted, it must be a joy to spend a vacation in a city that has rolled out the rainbow-colored carpet. For more of the history and founding of Southern Decadence, click here.
As always, the party pooper street “priests” with signs saying things like, “Homo sex is a threat to national security,” parked in front of Good Friends Bar and told everyone how much God hated them, but there were only 5 this year. Perhaps the 2011 arrest of their former leader, Pastor Grant Storms, for masturbating while watching children on a public playground, has reduced their numbers. Keeping a sense of humor about it all, several bar patrons came out and used the protesters as a backdrop for photos.
This year’s parade chose “Live, Laugh and Love” for their theme with “fuchsia pink,” “tangerine orange” and gold as their colors. Pink and orange also happen to be the colors of the Pussyfooters, the dance troupe I recently became a member of, so they were invited to parade along with the Roux La La female dance troupe. There were actually quite a few women’s groups in the mix this year. Other groups marching included The Big Easy Sisters, Dykeadence, The YES Girls, Grrl Spot, New Orleans Radical Faeries, Loyola Lambda Law Alliance, Super Heroes of Drag and The Voodoo Bone Lady. My personal favorite was the Million Mrs. Roper March featuring men in red afros wearing muumuus and carrying Mrs. Roper on-a-stick faces.
The unofficial accessory of the day seemed to be a fan. I saw many beautifully decorated fans as people tried to stay cool while marching in wigs and costumes. I didn’t get a lot of photos of Grand Marshals Tami Tarmac and Venus Santiago, but there are plenty of fun shots, especially of the Pussyfooters – my sisters in pinkatude.