New Orleans has its festivals and celebrations for every type of person and, more importantly, New Orleans has its celebrations for everyone. The most well known will certainly be Mardi Gras, where it costs nothing to participate and people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances equally enjoy the festivities. Another such festival is New Orleans Pride weekend taking place this June 21-24. New Orleans Pride’s festivities “are meant to include individuals from all walks of life.” And they do, offering all inclusive events throughout the weekend, including plenty of family friendly events.
Friday, June 21 - The Kickoff Party is Friday’s big event at Boomtown Casino from 7-11 p.m. and features San Francisco’s DJ Robbie Martin (who got his start right here in New Orleans). While tickets are $20, $10 goes to New Orleans Pride and $10 goes to fighting cancer. And you know we love supporting worthy causes during an evening of fun. Oh yeah, and you’ll get a free $20 to play with at the casino.
Saturday, June 22 - Chevron’s Family Day rocks Washington Park from 1-5 on Saturday afternoon. Music will roll all afternoon, including a three hour performance by 5 Finger Discount (2-5 p.m.), while the city’s favorite food trucks join 30+ vendors to feed your bellies and satisfy your needs for arts and crafts. Children’s games begin at 3 p.m. and will roll the party right into the parade.
The Dow Pride Parade starts rolling from Washington Park at 6:00 p.m.. However, unlike most Mardi Gras parades, the Pride Parade isn’t a members only event. It’s open to everyone and anyone, whether you’re walking, biking or riding your way along the route.
Sunday, June 23 - Sunday belongs to the Bourbon Street Block Party (at the intersection of Bourbon and St. Ann). From 1-4 p.m., Elon Hornsby, whose voice has been described as a “mix between Macy Gray, Missy Elliot, and Mary J. Blige,” and an ever-growing list of other performers will keep you entertained all day long.
Monday, June 24 - Monday’s activities take on a more somber tone, with two memorials and a musical to commemorate the fire at the Upstairs Lounge. On June 24, 1973, the deadliest fire in New Orleans history raged through the Upstairs Lounge, a well-known New Orleans gay bar. While the cause and the culprit have never been officially determined, the horrific results have not been forgotten. Monday’s events seek to remember and honor those who experienced and were lost in the Upstairs Lounge that fateful day.
New Orleans Pride weekend is organized by New Orleans Pride, whose “objectives are to create an atmosphere in the Gulf Coast Region, where everyone can feel comfortable, safe and respected. It’s time to stop segregation. New Orleans Pride is trying to create unity in all communities, bringing together the straight and homosexual communities.” With this mission statement in mind, it is easy to see why New Orleans Pride weekend is a celebration of everyone. No matter what walk of life you come from, you’ll be welcome all weekend long.