The Hornet Guide to Gay New Orleans
New Orleans’ reputation is as the place to go for endless parties. Close to the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is famous for its unique combination of French and Spanish Creole cultures, as well as it’s deliciously spicy food and hot jazz. While Mardi Gras may be the busiest time to visit gay New Orleans, the Big Easy will welcome you with open arms year-round.
Fun facts about New Orleans
Voted the second most gay-friendly city right behind San Francisco, it’s no surprise gay New Orleans attracts our community. And while the weather is generally mild throughout the year, summer gets hot and humid.
The city itself is very diverse. Aside from the strong French and Creole cultures everyone hears about, there are also active Brazilian, Honduran and Vietnamese communities. And all those cultures, combined with New Orleans’ rich history dating back to the 18th century, no wonder there are so many historical sites and magnificent architecture to explore.
New Orleans also has a long history and fascination with voodoo. You can even visit a legendary voodoo queen’s home at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, one of our favorite tourist attractions.
Must-visit local attractions
Speaking of attractions, LaLaurie Mansion, the notorious building with a dark history dating back to the 1800s, is one of the most fascinating landmarks in New Orleans. You may even see a ghost or two at this haunted mansion.
If you prefer your dead people to stay dead, Metairie Cemetery offers different experience. While it used to be devoted to horse racing, the cemetery today is famous for its monumental architecture and funeral sculptures.
The Labyrinth at Audubon Park is the best place to relax in Uptown. This outdoor area has the famous Tree of Life, plus two stone labyrinths to get lost in.
The New Orleans Train Garden features a quarter-mile of track carrying 1/22-scale streetcars and freight trains, illustrating what life in Crescent City was like a century ago. And it’s not just the trains — they’ve got magical scenes created in miniature, all made of natural and biodegradable material. Walk around the display while learning all about the landmarks and neighborhoods of New Orleans.
There are plenty of unique museums in New Orleans, too. The Historic Voodoo Museum focuses on the art of voodoo, from artifacts to psychic readings. (Perhaps pair your visit here with a trip to Marie Laveau’s?)
At the Museum of Death, you get to see artwork and letters from infamous serial murderers. There are also body bags, coffins and a skull collection — and even a “theatre of death” showing videos of real deaths.
On a lighter note, there’s the Museum of the American Cocktail, which celebrates the history and evolution of the cocktail. In addition to cocktail and bar memorabilia, they also have on display pro- and anti-prohibition propaganda.
Gay New Orleans Nightlife
Bars are open 24 hours a day, so it’s always a big party in gay New Orleans. The French Quarter, best known as a tourist spot also boasts the majority of gay bars in the city. Cafe Lafitte in Exile, the oldest gay bar in the state, is a must-visit — and famous patrons like Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote would agree!
The Rawhide 2010 Lounge, featuring “leather, dark rooms and bears all around,” is the go-to bar for the leather community. And on the weekends, you’ll want to check out Oz, gay New Orleans’ favorite dance club, which hosts different theme nights, from comedy cabaret to a tea dance.
With a name like “Queens Head Pub,” you know you are in the right place. Located on top of the Good Friends bar, the casual atmosphere and friendly staff will give you a true gay New Orleans experience.
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