Despite the arrival of Hurricane Isaac, which has been pounding much of the Southeast this week, revelers at this year’s Southern Decadence Festival are moving forward with their public celebration of homosexuality.
The festival, also known as the “Gay Mardi Gras,” officially began on Wednesday, and is expected to continue through Labor Day. Over 100,000 participants from around the world flock to the event, which is mainly attended by homosexual men, but also sees a number of lesbian attendees as well. It is held around the clock, 24-7.
Known for its numerous parties and parades that are similar to Mardis Gras, the event is stated to be even more sexual and explicit in nature. According to the schedule for the weekend, following a street parade tomorrow night, homosexuals will be gathering at The Bourbon Pub for a strip contest. Tonight’s event at the pub is too explicit to repeat, centered around male private parts. Saturday night’s event is of similar nature.
When specific scheduled events are not taking place, dance parties continue throughout the city, most notably in the French Quarter. Many attendees come dressed in wild costumes, some as crossdressers. Some men arrive only in their underwear. Sex acts are a common sight in the streets.
According to reports, the Southern Decadence Festival was established in 1972, and first began as a citywide costume party. As the years progressed, it developed into an event that reveled in the homosexual lifestyle, but with even more decadence than other events in cities across the nation.
Seven years ago, in 2005, the Southern Decadence Festival was canceled due to the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, which decimated New Orleans and the surrounding cities. However, days later, smaller groups of homosexuals celebrated in streets.
“Amid the death, the destruction and suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a small parade behind a tattered rainbow flag made its way up Bourbon Street on Sunday,” wrote the news site 365gay.
One evangelist, simply identified as Jeff, recalled what took place in 2005 and the atmosphere he witnessed in the city.
“I was in New Orleans … just before Katrina preaching and witnessing with a team,” he said. “I could discern a deep, demonic, occultic presence as we drove into the city, especially the French Quarter, but [also] the whole city. This was affirmed by all the open perversion, the shops full of idols all the way back to the Egyptian ones, the deep stranglehold Roman Catholicism has over that place, all the fortune tellers and palm reading psychic tables on the streets, the open perversion and homosexuality celebrated in the street, drunkenness and [the] sorcery of rampant drug use.”
“I went back a couple years ago, and it was worse than before Katrina,” he lamented.
While some wondered if the pending storm might again warrant the cancellation of the the event this year, event organizers state that festivities are going forward as planned.
According to the latest reports, cities surrounding New Orleans are experiencing severe flooding, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents. Numerous families and their pets are being rescued by helicopters or life boats. Half of the state is without electricity, and all of Louisiana and Mississippi is under a state of emergency.
“The slow motion and large size of this system are making the impacts more severe and more wide ranging than some folks might have perceived would be the case from a Category 1 hurricane,” stated Rick McNabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center.
Numerous Christians and others in the region have lodged complaints with government leaders about the Southern Decadence Festival for years, but city officials have allowed the celebration to continue, even calling it an “exciting event.”
New Orleans has become infamous for its public reveling, most notably its annual Mardi Gras festival, where drunken men throw large beaded necklaces at women in exchange for the exposing of their breasts.
Main photo: Mike Bresh