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Em6554

Southern Decadence Festival

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For all of you who live in New Orleans, exactly what goes on during Southern Decadence Festival? My boyfriend and I are going to be in New Orleans 9/4/04 for the night before our cruise and will be looking for a fun night out on the town. All I keep hearing about is the Southern Decadence Festival and I was just wondering exactly what takes place during this time. I even went to the website someone had posted on one of these boards about the festival but I was looking for more of a first hand view. I am by no means a conservative person, but I was just wondering if we would feel out of place as a straight couple hanging out downtown. I'm sure we would at least have some interesting stories to tell when we got back! haha

 

Thanks for any input you might have!!

 

~E

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Em,

 

I personally enjoy going to the French Quarter on the Sunday of Southern Decadence. I'm straight, but a group of friends and my husband and I try to go every year.

 

I'm the one who posted the website. That OP was looking specifically for someplace to go on that Sunday night with her 10 and 14 year old kids. Personally, I don't think the French Quarter at night is a place for kids at any time of year. I just wanted to let her know that it might not be a good place for kids, especially on that weekend.

 

I'll put my flame retardant suit on for my next comment--if someone is easily offended or homophobic, the French Quarter might not be the best place to go on Labor Day weekend.

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A lot goes on that you probably won't want to see. It's like a gay Mardi Gras: lots of partying and socializing, but also some public sexual activity that not just straights find offensive. The police have been trying to enforce the obscenity laws while still letting everyone have a good time, with mixed results.

 

Most of the gay bars are straight-friendly, and welcome everyone who behaves themselves. They can be a lot of fun. I would avoid the leather bars, even on regular weekends. Some rough characters there. The Southern Decadence web site will list most of the scheduled activities, such as fashion shows and open dances. Dykes on bikes are always here for that weekend.

 

The parade is something you have to see to believe. Lots of costumes, leathers, themes, etc. Very crowded, though. Don't take the kids.

 

Once you get away from Bourbon Street, and especially the area north of St. Ann Street, things are pretty much normal.

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Question: Are you saying don't take kids there PERIOD. Or just at night. We didn't realize what was going on in New Orleans until recently. My husband & I, two kids (11 & 13) and my parents will be there that Thursday and are leaving Friday morning. We probably won't won't be out towards the later part of the evening anyway, but just curious. I really don't think any of this will bother us. Hey, we want to have a good time sightseeing & shopping just like anybody else.

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The festivities don't get started until Friday night, so you probably won't even know that it is SD weekend.

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Thanks for all of the great info!! My boyfriend keeps joking that we should see who picks up more men that night!! At least he is laughing about it. . . .

 

Can any of you recommend a good casual restaurant for us to eat at on Saturday night? We are staying on Camp Street at the Clarion, so somewhere in between there and Bourbon Street (where we are planning on hanging out after dinner) would be great! Nothing fancy, just looking to get a taste of some of the local cuisine. Also, what bars are a must see in downtown?

 

Thanks for all of the great advice.

 

~E

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NO kids period once the festival starts. There are daytime and night time activities.

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Can any of you recommend a good casual restaurant for us to eat at on Saturday night? ... Nothing fancy, just looking to get a taste of some of the local cuisine. Also, what bars are a must see in downtown? ~E

Em, I always suggest visitors go to GUMBO SHOP in the Quarter for a true taste of cajun and creole cuisine. The food is moderately priced, and the variety is great. You can even get a 'cajun sampler platter', which is wonderful, and includes a cup of their fantastic gumbo. This is a favorite for locals, as well as visitors. It's on St. Peters, just to the left of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. Can't miss it, and I can 'ga-ron-tee' y'all will love it! They have a website you might want to check out: http://www.gumboshop.com

 

As for bars - my all-time favorite is Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon. It has quite a history. It was actually the pirate Jean Lafitte's blacksmith shop. I LOVE that place, and go there everytime I'm in the Quarter. Unfortunately, you'll have to fight your way thru the "Decadence" crowd to get to Lafittes.

 

EDITED: Sorry. That link doesn't work. Try this:

http://www.accesscom.net/gumbo/gumbomain.html

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I like The Gumbo Shop too, but the French Quarter is going to be a complete zoo on that Saturday night, and it just isn't a good time to try to eat there.

 

There are some very good places in the warehouse district, which will be a fairly easy walk or a short cab ride from your hotel. One of our favorites is Tommy's, in the 700 block of Tchoupitoulas Street. It is Creole-Italian: not typically Italian (no spaghetti & meatballs) but a very uniquely New Orleans spin on Italian. Unless you are big eaters, you can split entrees, which run $16 to $24 or so. The last time we ate there, my wife and I had salads and an appetizer and split the soft-shell crab. It was excellent. They tend to be crowded with mostly locals. Their phone number is (504) 581-1103.

 

Another is the Bon Ton Cafe at 401 Magazine Street. (504) 524-3386. Not as good as Tommy's, but you should have an easier time getting a reservation.

 

We have heard good things about Cafe Adelaide (300 Poydras), but haven't been there yet.

 

Can't help you much on the bars. We mostly go to Kerry Irish Pub on Decatur. A hole-in-the-wall with local music, but not really a party place. Just walk down Bourbon and see what looks good. Watch out for pickpockets: they are out in force on big weekends.

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