Southern Decadence — the annual Labor Day gay gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana — just held its 47th annual event. Also known as ”gay Mardi Gras,” it’s the city’s largest gay event and features numerous around-the-clock parties, drag and porn performers, guest DJs and even a ‘big dick’ and ‘hot ass’ contest.
An eye-popping “electrified parade” through the French Quarter
The celebration, which started as a small gathering of friends in 1972, culminated in a Sunday afternoon parade of 50 groups and 700 marchers walking through a throng of thousands in the French Quarter.
The parade reportedly included local groups with eyebrow-raising names like the Jailhouse Rockers, Organ Grinders, Big Easy Rollergirls, Streetcar Strutters, Pussy Footers, the Ritmeaux Krewe and The Lords of Leather.
This year’s parade also included a tribute to Rip Naquin, a local LGBTQ activist who was co-publisher of Ambush (a local LGBTQ magazine) and was one of the first gay men to register under Louisiana’s “domestic partners” law in 1993.
True to this year’s theme of “Electrified,” revelers were encouraged to wear bright neon, though other popular attire from this year’s event included “large white Marie Antoinette-style wigs, white lace gowns, hot pink corsets, lots of feathers … neon rainbow hoop skirts, tutus, tie-dyed flags, miniskirts and fans” — and, of course, black leather.
How Southern Decadence impacts the local economy
Souther Decadence’s organizers say it ranks as the one of New Orleans’ top five tourist events in terms of attendance and economic impact, attracting more than 200,000 (predominantly gay and lesbian) participants generating over $250 million in tourist revenue.
While Southern Decadence has an overtly sexual tone and is geared towards adult and moneyed attendees, visitors of all ages, genders and economic levels come in from around the world to take place in the party.
Check out these sexy shots from Southern Decadence 2017:
Photos courtesy of Dusti Cunningham