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Think NYC Pride is outrageous? Welcome to New Orleans, where 'Southern Decadence' reigns.

Southern Decadence bucked all expectations, and no city does satire better than New Orleans.

Think NYC Pride is outrageous? Welcome to New Orleans, where 'Southern Decadence' reigns.
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New Orleans Tourism

The year was 1972, and New Orleans was having the quintessential queer party.

The theme was Southern Decadence. Partygoers were expected to dress up as their favorite “decadent” Southern elite.

The more outrageous the better of course.


40 or 50 friends gathered just outside the French Quarter at a rundown cottage house called Belle Reve, drinking, smoking, and lounging beneath a big fig tree, dressed to the nines.

It was meant to serve as an epic send-off for a friend leaving New Orleans, but it soon became much more than that.

The following year, they gathered again in a French Quarter bar, showing off their costumes and then walking along Esplanade Avenue.

From that point on, the “parade,” as it was later named, became an annual tradition — a very queer, very Southern tradition that is now recognized around the world as the Gay Mardi Gras of New Orleans, which over 200,000 people attended last year.

Paul Broussard and NewOrleansOnline.com

Southern Decadence now spans an entire weekend full of events celebrating queer culture and everything that makes New Orleans unique.

Southern Decadence bucked all expectations, and that's largely because no city does satire better than New Orleans.

That's how SarahJane Guidry sees it, at least.

“Satire is one of the best ways marginalized people can have an impact on public conversations," explained Guidry, the executive director of Forum for Equality, a statewide human rights organization. “It publicly celebrates outrageous and fun personal expression."

Image via Derek Bridges/Flickr.

Being visible as queer, transgender, or gender-nonconforming is already a powerful form of resistance, and at a time when LGBTQ people were expected to cower in the closet, such an outward celebration of Southern queer culture became so much more than a party.

New Orleans has always been considered a home for queer outcasts, no matter where "home" actually is.

Paul Broussard and NewOrleansOnline.com

That's partly why there is an amazing history of queer creatives and artists in New Orleans, Guidry explains.

From the Gay Mardi Gras Krewes of the ‘50s to bounce music made popular by queer artists like Big Freedia and Katey Red, the queer community brings a kind of energy to New Orleans that’s unlike anything else.

“The LGBTQ community in New Orleans is as unique as the city itself and has always taken the best of what we have and made it better,” Guidry said.

And the party's unique spirit remains.

The Southern Decadence of today is a nod to that “outsider” feel, evolving from a bar crawl to a full-blown weekend-long event, complete with a parade that anyone can join. The music, costumes, and dancing are all an invitation, a “come as you are” to every person who’s ever felt a little bit (or a lot) different.

Image via Infrogmation of New Orleans/Wikimedia Commons.

As people continue to gather for the parade every year, Southern Decadence is perhaps as political as it is whimsical.

Southern Decadence saw some of its biggest crowds on Labor Day weekend, markedly claiming the public space so often denied LGBTQ people, particularly trans and gender-nonconforming people.

Paul Broussard and NewOrleansOnline.com

And while there is always still more work to be done, real progress is happening.

Beyond the meticulously crafted costumes and dazzling music in the streets, Louisianians are making real strides. Just recently, the governor signed a fully inclusive executive order protecting LGBTQ state employees — hopefully a sign of things to come.

“New Orleans stands as a beacon for equality in the South and can throw a hell of a party,” Guidry said. “So, we celebrate these victories."

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Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


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