Southern Decadence Parade Will Go On As Planned Today

(September 4, 2011)- Despite the rain, Southern Decadence Parade organizers say the parade is still on for this afternoon.
The parade is slated to begin at 2pm, lining up on Royal and Barracks Streets. It’s expected to wrap up around 4pm at Bourbon and Dumaine Streets.
It’s important to note that this year’s parade is strictly for walkers. No floats or vehicles will be included in the line-up.
The parade route is the same as was originally laid out by organizers, and is in today’s Times Picayune. The only major street that may need to be blocked off for up to 15 minutes is North Rampart. During that brief time, RTA buses that run on that street will be temporarily stopped until the parade has left the area and moved into the French Quarter.
NOPD is ensuring ahead of time that all streets along the route are free of standing water or other hazards so paraders and parade-goers will have a safe, enjoyable time.

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New Orleans Police Department

Southern Decadence is here.

The Labor Day weekend is the time to escape from most cities, heading to crowded beaches or gnat-filled cabins. In New Orleans, we will instead have costumes and parading with all of the attached pageantry, courtesy of our rainbow people. Since the early 1970s, this event has been on calendars of the chosen fey, and since the explosion of the gay rights movement in the 1980s, it has become one of the most anticipated gay community series of events for any New Orleanian. From the history page:

And so it was, on a sultry August afternoon in 1972, that this band of friends decided to plan an amusement. According to author James T. Spears, writing in Rebels, Rubyfruit and Rhinestones: Queering Space in the Stonewall South, this “motley crew of outcasts” began Southern Decadence as a going away party for a friend named Michael Evers, and to shut up a new “Belle Reve” tenant (from New York) who kept complaining about the New Orleans heat. As a riff on the “Belle Reve” theme, the group named the event a “Southern Decadence Party: Come As Your Favorite Southern Decadent,” requiring all participants to dress in costume as their favorite “decadent Southern” character. According to Spears, “The party began late that Sunday afternoon, with the expectation that the next day (Labor Day) would allow for recovery. Forty or fifty people drank, smoked, and carried on near the big fig tree … even though Maureen (the New Yorker) still complained about the heat.”

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