Southern Decadence has become a Labor Day weekend New Orleans tradition— so much so that VIP weekend passes sold out a month before the festival.
An additional 100 were hurriedly made available; regular weekend passes are still up for grabs. As this issue of OffBeat goes to press, the event may totally sell out (maybe it should add another day to its five- day schedule?).
Southern Decadence began in August 1972 as an outrageous going-away party among about 50 friends; attendees were required to dress as their favorite “decadent Southerner,” and included characters like Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Keller and the colorful prostitute Belle Watling (from Gone With The Wind). It has become one of the largest celebrations for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and their friends and supporters.
Attendees have to be 18 years old for events held at the Bourbon Pub, as well as for the float parade on Friday, and Sunday’s walking parade; events are on the streets of the French Quarter and are open to the general public.
First-timers can anticipate an endless array of high- energy entertainment from DJs, dancers and drag queens, including Shangela (“Debutantess of The Deep South”), a contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
New Orleans’ own DJ Sean Michael will spin for the Welcome Party, hosted by Billy Francesca and Nicole DuBois on Thursday, September 3.
On Friday, September 4, DJ Mike Bryant works his fabulous magic at the Boys on Parade party, where Billy Francesca will host again, this time with Rhea Litre. The festivities will offer attendees the invitation to indulge in a bit of scandalous fun with a saucy strip contest.
Speaking of contests, another to be expected at Southern Decadence is Hot Buns, so don’t skip your squats if you want to win! Nicole DuBois and Rhea Litré will host the contest on Saturday, September 5 with music provided by Miami-based DJ Kidd Madonny.
The annual Bourbon Street Extravaganza features Kristine W., Jeanie Tracy, Inaya Day and Rozalla—the latter two are well-known music performers. The free concert event was started in 2004 by Napoleon’s Itch owner Chuck Robinson and this year the event starts at 6 p.m. on September 5.
Adult film stars Hans Berlin and Tyler Rush of Titan Men perform on Sunday night after a special show by Shangela. DJ Ivan will also provide music.
On Monday night, The Ladies of Lipstixx strut their stuff, along with Eros and Poseidon of Scorpio Boys.
This year’s 44th annual Southern Decadence is held on Labor Day from Wednesday, September 2 through Monday, September 7.