What happens at Southern Decadence shouldn't just stay there

Enough with the rumors! New Orleans is open, safe, and ready for the gays. I have just returned from what some are calling the most spectacular Southern Decadence yet. Various sources have claimed that over 100,000 revelers descended upon the Crescent City for this annual event. 

Southern Decadence is a four-day long party in the New Orleans French Quarter. It is a defiant celebration of spirit, sexuality, and who-gives-damn-what-you-think.

My partner, Jason, and I arrived at the Hotel Monteleone around 5:30 p.m. on a Friday. The drive wasn’t bad, about eight hours. The Monteleone family has been taking care of New Orleans’ visitors since 1886. The rooms here aren’t as large as some of the other, more modern four-diamond hotels in town, but the Monteleone’s location (on Royal, one block from Bourbon) and its century of charm and elegance more than made up for this. 

After our brief period of playing ‘high-class gays’ in the art galleries we walked to my favorite New Orleans dive: The Corner Pocket. After a downing a few drinks and handing out some one-dollar bills we grabbed a cab to the Central Business District. I had scored us reservations at John Besh’s new Restaurant, Lüke. 

Lüke is a hip joint that serves fine food in a relaxed atmosphere. I’m not much of a seafood fan but the oysters I had as an appetizer made my toes curl. The rest of the meal was just as amazing. 

Another cheap cab ride and a short walk put us back at Southern Decadence central, the corner of Bourbon and St. Anne. This is where I got a true sense of what Southern Decadence is all about. Partying together on the street where grandpas, grandsons, bears, boys, outrageous queens, bondage freaks, and every other variety and sub-culture of our community. Everyone was out there and everyone was having a good time. Standing on the corner outside of my favorite Bourbon St. club, Oz, I couldn’t help but think “we aren’t just like straight people……we are a hell of a lot better!"

Sunday was parade day and the Southern Decadence Parade was like no other procession I had ever seen. The crowd was full men in trash-drag and wild costume. Many of the participants were older, much older, than Jason or I. In my younger days I would have found this something to laugh about, but the mature me was almost brought to tears. In front of me marched men who spent decades in the closet because there was no other choice, men who feared exposure because it could lead to retaliation, exclusion, or death. I cheered on their defiance of society’s expectations. I supported their inappropriate and loud expressions of freedom. It was important, it was vital, and these types of liberty marches should be supported, no matter what others may think of them.  

Throughout our trip people had been telling us how many Tennesseans were in town. This was strange because we didn’t meet any other Volunteer Staters until Sunday night when we ran into up and coming Nashville-based porn star, Ryan Conners. He is a sweetie; you should Google him. Even though I didn’t bump in to many, I was glad to hear that a good number of fellow Music Citiers were supporting New Orleans.

I love New Orleans, and I desperately want it to thrive. You should too. New Orleans, while its past isn’t perfect, has been there for the gay community longer than any other city below the Mason-Dixon Line (and most above it). The town embraces us and encourages us to be our outrages selves. You don’t have to wait for a gay festival; you can visit year round and feel just as free to be yourself. So, if you are looking for a good three-day weekend or even a week-long vacation, give NOLA a chance. New Orleans has helped lift gay society out of the shadows and into the light. It is time to return the favor.

My big boss, Brent, didn’t give much room here in the print edition. Something about relevance, decency, and word counts. Anyway, I begged and pleaded and he finally promised to give me all the space I needed online. So visit www.outandaboutnewspaper.com and read my complete account of Southern Decadence 2007 including more detail, sarcasm, and exaggeration. Trust me girl, its good.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less