Southern Decadence
Tips for Visitors




If you've never been to Southern Decadence, you have an extraordinary adventure ahead! What follows are some thoughts gathered from locals that will help you get the most out of your experience.

Pass by the NO/AIDS Task Force's information tables located on the St. Ann Street sidewalk near The Bourbon Pub / Parade, at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets.  You'll find lots of community information and details of the weekend's events.  The literature racks inside of the clubs and businesses are another great source for much of the Southern Decadence information that you will need.

During Southern Decadence, some streets of the French Quarter do not allow parking - look for, and heed, no parking signs. Plan on doing a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes are a must. Always walk where it is well lit and there are a lot of people. New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods. Like all large cities, the Big Easy does have some trouble spots. Always walk with others, never alone if possible. Don't wander about the city. In New Orleans the neighborhoods can change, literally, when you cross a street. Always carry a map. If you're drinking, don't go stumbling about the French Quarter. Locals know that the people who encounter trouble are usually the ones who have been drinking.

And a bit of urban common sense is in order. When you walk the streets, don't bring your wallet. Take the cash you need and possibly a credit card, along with some sort of identification, and put them in a pocket that no one can slip their hand into. Don't wear expensive jewelry. Basically, don't take anything with you that you would have a hard time replacing if it were lost.

If your car is impounded, it will cost you over $100 plus whatever else the city decides to tack on. Your car can be retrieved from the City Auto Pound, located in a dangerous area of the city, 400 N. Claiborne Ave., (504.565.7236). This will spoil a good time. Uber and Taxi Cabs are not difficult to get during Southern Decadence. If you are going to take a cab, try UNITED CABS: 504.522.9771 or 504.524.9606. Write these numbers down and put them in your wallet. This cab company can be trusted. United Cabs has a sound reputation with the New Orleans gay community.

People are allowed to drink on the streets in New Orleans --  that large 24-oz Southern Decadence cup that you'll see people walking with and drinking from likely contains several shots of alcohol!  However, if your drink is not already in a plastic cup, please ask for one before leaving your favorite watering hole. Glass and cans are not allowed on the streets for safety reasons.

Many bars in New Orleans are open twenty-four hours a day, particularly during Southern Decadence. Pace yourself. Most important, it's easy to get caught up in all the excitement and forget to eat. If you want to make it through the weekend, solid food is a necessity. Of course, New Orleans is world famous for its food and indulging is part of a complete New Orleans experience.

Clean bathrooms can be difficult to find during Southern Decadence. Most businesses close their facilities to everyone but paying customers. If your hotel is far from the action, take care of the more important business before you hit the streets. If you need to, plan on buying lunch or dinner and using the restaurant's bathroom before you pay the check!

The French Quarter is an historic neighborhood. Please respect it. No matter how "bad" you have to go, do not urinate in the streets or on door steps or through iron gates. This is a good way to end up in central lock-up, and people who are arrested sit in jail until the courts re-open after Labor Day.  It will cost you at least $200. And it's not polite. Listen to your body. Get in line before you really have to go. By the time you're crossing your legs, you might be at the front of the line.

During Southern Decadence weekend, you're guaranteed to get an eyeful of great costumes and fabulous bodies. Officially, public nudity is not allowed and there are obscenity laws on the books. Better judgment should be the rule of the day.

Southern Decadence is a BIG non-stop party. People drink and are having a good time. It's easy to forget that there is a real world out there. Free condoms are available from the NO/AIDS Task Force station located near the Bourbon Pub / Parade.  Don't allow the party to overwhelm your better judgment. We want you to come again. Have fun and play safe!


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