Ultimate Southern Decadence 2023 Guide

Southern Decadence started forty-seven years ago as a simple going-away party. As a top gay Labor Day Weekend destination, it has become one of our world’s major annual events.

  • Southern Decadence packs the city, so book early. Check out the best places to stay and grab a hotel deal in the French Quarter, the heart of all the weekend’s festivities. Stay at the stunning Virgin Hotels New Orleans, rated “Superb” by guests and host of official pool parties, beautifully decorated rooms, and a great location.

    The Event

    • The theme for 2023 is “Wicked, Wild & Wet” and the official colors are Black, Royal Blue, and Kelly Green.
    • It is one of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in New Orleans, and has become known as the “Gay Mardi Gras.”
    • Visitors begin to arrive on the Wednesday before Labor Day and generally don’t even think about stopping or going home until the following Tuesday.
    • Attendance during previous years has been record-breaking with over 300,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender participants visiting New Orleans for the party.
    • Southern Decadence is the fifth largest annual event in the City of New Orleans, exceeded only by Mardi GrasJazz Fest, Essence Festival, and French Quarter Festival.  As Liberace once said, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful.”

The Gay Neighbourhood

  • New Orleans’ wildest neighborhood gets even crazier as the French Quarter is packed for the entire event; however, the big day is Sunday. That’s when the Grand Marshals lead the annual walking parade through the streets beginning at 2 p.m.
  • The corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets is generally considered to be the epicenter of Gay New Orleans, and even more so during the Southern Decadence festival weekend.
  • At that intersection is the largest gay nightclub, The Bourbon Pub video bar and The Parade dance club, which is home to the hottest dancers in town. And most of the city’s main gay attractions are within a few blocks.
  • Stay at the Brakeman Hotel, a charming 3 star hotel with a perfect location, spacious rooms. The hotel has been classically restored and is one of our top recommendations in New Orleans.

The Street Parties

  • Most street party activities take place in the immediate area of the French Quarter, and the dance parties are in the clubs. Since the gay bars never close, there is something happening around the clock.
  • Some of the nation’s best DJs work the crowds to a frenzy. No wonder the weekend is often referred to as Southern DecaDANCE!
  • The Bourbon Street Extravaganza, the FREE outdoor concert at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets, is one party not to miss.

Southern Decadence Circuit Parties 2023

  • Thursday, Aug 31st to Tuesday, Sept 5th, 2023 – The Phoenix Block Party will run each night over the weekend, the place to be! Don’t miss their “Hungfest” Musical Showcase on Friday night.
  • Thursday, Aug 31st to Monday, Sept 4th, 2023 – The daddy of all parties takes place at The Bourbon Pub & Parade, the official home of Southern Decadence.
  • Thursday, Aug 31st to Monday, Sept 4th, 2023 – Oz, New Orleans’s #1 Gay dance club on  Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, will have tons of fun happening all weekend.
  • Thursday, Aug 31st Lust Filth – Dive into our world of depravity in this immersive homage to the obscene. Experience the unforgettable displays of debauchery with works of art that redefine entertainment.
  • Friday, Sept 1st & Saturday, Sept 2nd, 2023 – Hit It – the sex-positive party in secret locations returns for two nights of hardcore fun.
  • Friday, Sept 1st – Don’t miss Bearracuda’s big takeover of The Toulouse Theater on Canal Street for an epic Saturday night bearfest!
  • Saturday, Sept 2nd – Horse Meat Disco returns to New Orleans for the 8th year, bringing underground classics that have rocked the dancefloor since ’09. Join them at The Fillmore on Canal Street to celebrate 51 years of  Southern Decadence!
  • Sunday, Sept 3rd – Party with the Pornstars at Southern Decadence Fornication – a play party, not a performance.
  • Sunday, Sept 3rd Bette, Bathhouse, and Beyond – Step back to the 70’s at Bette, Bathhouse, & Beyond during Southern Decadence! Grooving out to Amber Martin’s stunning vocals, DJ Johnny Dynell’s disco beats, and a wild party you won’t forget.
  • Saturday, Sept 3rd and Sunday, Sept 4thJoe Fiore brings a special edition of Furball to New Orleans on Saturday Night at Santos on Decatur Street, followed by a Dirty Disco Tea Dance from 4 pm on Sunday at The Toulouse Theater.

Southern Decadence Bourbon Street Extravaganza

  • Saturday, Sept 2nd, 2023 – The Bourbon Street Extravaganza, the FREE outdoor concert produced by Napoleon’s Itch on the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets on Saturday afternoon, will return in 2023 for its 16th
  • Awaiting line up and details of the event.

 The Southern Decadence Parade

Sunday, September 3rd, 2023 – The SUNDAY AFTERNOON parade is the traditional Southern Decadence Grand Marshal Parade.

  • The parade formation time is 1:00 P.M.
  • The parade starting time is 2:00 P.M.

 The Parade Route 2023

  • Here is the confirmed route for 2023
  • The parade starts at the corner of Barracks and Royal, then turns on to St Louis, heads along Rampart turns at St Phillip, back to Dauphine, St. Anne and ending at Bourbon Pub/The Oz.
  • The parade ends at 4:00 P.M.

Southern Decadence, Where to stay?

The best place to stay is in the French Quarter, which is where you will find most of the gay bars and clubs.

The following NOLA hotels are currently trending with our readers:

The Roosevelt Hotel,    Omni Royal,    Royal Sonesta Hotel,    French Market Inn.