Hey Green Wave family!

As the vibrant city of New Orleans gears up for the upcoming Pride Weekend from June 7-9, it’s the perfect time to dive into the rich and colorful LGBTQ+ cultural history that makes our city so unique. Whether you’re a lifelong NOLA resident or a newcomer to the Crescent City, there’s always something new to discover about our inclusive and spirited community.

A City of Firsts and Foundations

New Orleans has long been a beacon for LGBTQ+ culture and rights. Did you know that New Orleans was home to one of the first gay rights organizations in the United States? Founded in 1958, the Mattachine Society of New Orleans paved the way for future advocacy and support networks. This early activism set the stage for the city’s progressive stance on LGBTQ+ issues and its welcoming atmosphere.

The French Quarter: Heartbeat of LGBTQ+ Culture

The French Quarter isn’t just a hotspot for tourists; it’s also the historic heart of New Orleans’ LGBTQ+ scene. Iconic bars like Café Lafitte in Exile and The Bourbon Pub & Parade have been safe havens and celebratory spaces for decades. Café Lafitte in Exile, the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the U.S., has been a cornerstone of the community since the 1930s. Here, you’ll find a mix of history, resilience, and a whole lot of fun.

Southern Decadence: Pride’s Rowdy Cousin

While Pride Weekend is a time for celebration and reflection, Southern Decadence is NOLA’s own fabulous LGBTQ+ festival held every Labor Day weekend. Often dubbed the “Gay Mardi Gras,” Southern Decadence started as a small gathering in the 1970s and has grown into a massive event attracting visitors from all over the world. It’s a testament to the city’s embracing of LGBTQ+ culture and its ability to throw a party like no other.

Drag Culture: More Than Just Glitter and Glam

New Orleans boasts a thriving drag scene that goes beyond the glitz and glamour. Local queens like Bianca Del Rio, who got her start in NOLA before becoming a global sensation, have roots in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Drag shows here aren’t just performances; they’re cultural experiences that highlight the creativity and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community. Be sure to catch a show at venues like Oz or The AllWays Lounge for a truly unforgettable experience.

Pride Weekend: A Celebration of Love and Identity

This June, New Orleans will come alive with rainbow flags, parades, and festivities for Pride Weekend. From the Pride Parade that winds through the French Quarter to the Family Equality Day in Washington Square Park, there’s something for everyone. It’s a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, honor those who paved the way, and look forward to a future filled with equality and love.

Tulane’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

At Tulane, we pride ourselves on fostering an inclusive environment where every student can thrive. Our Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity (OGSD) finds its home in the Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life and offers resources, support, and programming to ensure our LGBTQ+ students feel at home. This Pride Weekend, we invite you to join us in celebrating the diversity that makes our campus and our city so special.

So, as you don your best attire and hit the streets for Pride Weekend, remember that you’re part of a long and storied history of LGBTQ+ culture in New Orleans. Whether you’re attending a parade, enjoying a drag show, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere, know that you’re contributing to the ongoing legacy of love, acceptance, and celebration that defines our city.

Happy Pride, Tulanians! Let’s make this Pride Weekend one for the history books.

With love and glitter,

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions