Decadence has come and gone, but I'm still reveling in the high of an amazing weekend. For those of you not from around here, Southern Decadence is a festival that has its roots in a party thrown by 17 friends in 1972 as a gay-going-away-costumed-gala. It's a wonderful way to end summer. Now the festival draws over 100,000 people, the vast majority gay men, though this year I'm proud to say the festival has become much more diverse. It's a weekend of events, from burlesque to hard-on contests. There are queens and kings and leather daddies and bears and freaks of all sizes, shapes, and colors living it up in a city that embraces every minute.
It's always an amazing feeling to wander the French Quarter on Decadence weekend and see the flags out, everywhere, in gay and "straight" bars. Though the best bars here are full of people who don't really care who you fuck or how you fly your freak flag, Decadence turns most Quarter bars into out-and-proud venues. I spent the weekend partying with new and old friends, many of whom are locals, though others came in from NYC, Shreveport, and Dallas to join the fun. I'm blessed to say I spent time with everyone I hoped to see.
From Ani Difranco's acoustic set (which seems like a surreal dream) to brunch with awesome Centenary alums and dancing to the beat of the brass band in the parade, this was an incredible weekend. Late Friday, when I was closing down my favorite bar with a group of friends around 4am, I heard this incredible brass band version of "Sexual Healing." I used the play the Ben Harper cover of this song when I had a radio show, and for me, this song will always be a reminder of the sun setting over campus. It's comfort and love, New Orleans-style. After so many years living in places where queer is an afterthought, a sin, a misfortune, a slur, an embarrassment... it is so fulfilling to live in a city where there is not simply acceptance, but LOVE. And freaks :)
I leave you with a photo --