Gay Scene in New Orleans

New Orleans has a laissez-faire attitude about many things, and that includes sexual orientation. The city has one of the oldest and most vibrant gay, lesbian, and transgender communities in the nation, which is just part of the reason that New Orleans has long been a popular destination for gay travelers. Another key factor is partying. The GBLT community is famous for their megacelebrations around holidays like Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence (held Labor Day weekend). Social clubs, often organized around bars or other gay-owned business sponsors, join forces to throw parades, costume balls, and themed parties. The street party at Bourbon and St. Anne streets in the French Quarter is always a popular event. This intersection tends to be a main hub of the gay social scene, with Bourbon Pub and Oz perched on each side of the street, pumping out music from the dicothèque-style dance floors. Great crowds also turn out for Halloween and for Easter, when a gay Easter parade rolls through the Quarter. The city celebrates Gay Pride in October, but it actually tends to be a fairly low-key affair compared to these other more lavish parties. It's probably because gay pride is evident here 365 days a year.

Most of the social scene is focused in the French Quarter, but the Faubourg Marigny has some great gay bars, restaurants, and other destinations.

Stop in FAB—Faubourg Marigny Art and Books (600 Frenchmen St. 504/947–3700), one of the oldest (and funkiest) gay bookstores in the nation, and pick up a copy of Ambush Magazine, the alternative biweekly. Or visit www.gayneworleans.com, another great resource.

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