New Orleans the French district of the Southern US famous for Mardi Gras !
New Orleans is a city famous for the Creole cuisine, distinct jazz music and the annual celebrations and festivals. The most famous is the annual Mardi Gras.
The heart of the city is the French Quarter with the distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street.
Founded in 1718 by French colonists it was once considered the territorial capital of French Louisiana.
Mardi Gras is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about New Orleans. But this city is a fun place to visit all year round with a liberal open minded diverse community and bars open 24-hours a day.
Most of the venues are clustered in a small area in the French Quarter around St. Ann and Bourbon Street which is centre of New Orleans gay life.
New Orleans is a popular weekend destinations drawing large crowds and particularly for Southern Decadence which is an all gay mostly male version of Mardi Gras.
New Orleans public transport was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has managed to restore the streetcars service but not all yet. Some routes have been replaced by bus services.
If you are staying in central location of the city close to French quarter then walking or riding a street car is best way to get around.
The main airport is Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport located in the suburb of Kenner.
The Airport-Downtown Express (E2) Bus operated by JET is the cheapest transport to downtown which takes approximately fifty minutes.
Airport shuttle service is available from the airport to hotels and various other locations in the New Orleans. These fares include three bags per person. Additional baggage may be subject to additional fees. You can purchase tickets at airport Shuttle ticket booths.
Taxi rides cost $40.00 from the airport to the Central Business District (CBD) or French Quarter for up to the first two passengers. For more than two passengers the fare will be $15.00 per passenger.
Places to stay
New Orleans has a small number of gay owned and operated bed and breakfast and small boutique hotels as well as number of very gay friendly places to stay. It is a city that has many conventions and corporate events so it is always wise to book your accommodation in advance to guarantee availability and choice. As the city is a popular weekend destination you should reserve in advance.
It is recommended you stay in the French Quarter close to all the nightlife.
New Orleans has many visitor attractions. The French Quarter (known locally as "the Quarter" or Vieux Carré) is surrounded by the Mississippi River, Rampart Street, Canal Street, and Esplanade Avenue.
Notable tourist attractions in the area include Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and the French Market.
Close to the French quarter is the Tremé community which contains the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and the New Orleans African American Museum.
The Natchez is an authentic steamboat with a calliope that cruises the length of the city twice daily and popular so needed to be booked in advance. There are also a number of museums.
Bars, Clubs & Parties
Typically in New Orleans people have dinner late and therefore the bars and clubs do not get busy before 10 pm as most people stay to after 2 am. The gay night life is in the French quarter and Marigny.
Within the French quarter the Bourbon Pub and The Oz are the two places to see and be seen but there are lots of other places to choose with all types of crowds.
Within the Marigny area are most of the bars more popular with the local from New Orleans as the French quarter is more popular with tourists.
Cafes & Restaurants
The choice of food in New Orleans is varied but you should try some of the local Creole cuisine. Burgers, steak and French cuisine is also popular.
Main LGBT Events
New Orleans has a full calendar of LGBT events throughout the year. Some fun, some spooky and some wild. Below is a glimpse of the annual events.
Mardi Gras is a local Mardi Gras which has existed for over 50 years. It is an event full of pageantry held in February..
Gay Easter Parade is held during the Easter weekend holidays. It a parade to celebrate wearing their favourite pastel coloured Easter outfits but as with any gay parade in New Orleans the outfits worn are very creative.
New Orleans Pride is held at the beginning of June and truly sets New Orleans apart from other southern America cities. The event gets bigger every year so booking your accommodation well in advance is a good idea.