New Orleans Pride

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New Orleans Gay Pride began in February 1971, when the newly formed Gay Liberation Front of New Orleans presented a "Gay In" picnic in February in City Park. There was the very first such event in the entire state of Louisiana. Several other gatherings were held throughout the city that year, and intermittently thereafter until it became an annual event in 1978.

In June 1971, the Gay Services Center and the local chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis organized a "Gay Day Picnic" at Popp Fountain at City Park. The 1978 event, held in Jackson Square, was the first to be identified as "gay pride." This event was hosted by the Pink Triangle Alliance. Later that year, a larger event called "Gay Fest" was presented in Washington Square, just outside of the French Quarter.

The first street parade was held in 1980. In 1981, the event moved to Armstrong Park, and was emceed by New Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres. By the mid-1980s, Gay Fest, under the direction of Ambush Newspaper, was plagued by financial difficulties and personality conflicts. In 1988 "Gay Fest" was changed to "Gay Pride." Through the 1980s, several organizations spearheaded the annual events.

By the 1990s, "Pridefest was being sponsored by the New Orleans Alliance of Pride. In 1995, the celebration was rescheduled from June to October. In 1998, the festival was moved back to Armstrong Park.[1]

In 2002 the parade was rescheduled from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night and the event was called "Pridefest" In 2005, Gay Pride was being presented by the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans. The board voted to move Pridefest back to June. At the same meeting, it was decided to schedule only a street parade during the weekend, putting the other daytime events on hiatus during a year of restructuring. There was no parade for 2006 or 2007, with only an organized festival being held. A parade was once again held during the 2008 celebration, with a gathering in Washington Square.[2]

In 2011, The LGBT Community Center decided to no longer produce the Pridefest event. The event struggled several years for many reasons including; personality conflicts, financial problems including bankruptcy and many unpaid checks which led to much of the community not wanting to support Pride. The Pride board decided they no longer wished to try to rebrand the event and gave all rights for PrideFest to the 2010 and 2011 local Grand Marshals.

In 2011, The New Orleans Pride Organization was formed as its own organization and acquired a 501c3 status. The 2011 "New Orleans Gay Pride Festival" only consisted of a parade, pageant, and block party on Bourbon Street with 80's pop star, Tiffany. In 2012, the word "gay" was dropped from the name and the festival officially became "New Orleans Pride". As the times change and the LGBT lifestyle is more acceptable, the board felt that they no longer needed the word "gay" in the title. New Orleans Pride's mission is to create space where individuals from all walks of life can gather and enjoy the events being produced.

Since 2011, The New Orleans Pride board has worked to restructure the organization and repair the many burned bridges in New Orleans. The Organization not only works to produce the New Orleans Pride Festival, but also works year round to raise awareness on the effects of bullying and also suicide prevention. In 2014, New Orleans Pride created the "I'm Bigger" Program, which is an Anti- Bully Program for ages 14–24.[3]

The 2016 Pride Festival was the largest Pride Festival to ever take place in Louisiana. More than 20 events took place over a three-day weekend, which attracted people from all walks of life. The festival brought in more than 70,000 participants (2700 of which were in Louisiana's Largest LGBTQA Parade).

RECOGNITION:

2014 "One of the Fastest Growing Pride Festivals in the Nation" [4] 2015, the New Orleans Pride Parade Officially became the Largest LGBT Parade in Louisiana 2015, Travel & Leisure listed New Orleans Pride #6 in their list of "Top 9 Pride Festivals to Visit This Summer". This list included Prides from all over the world.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ambushmag.com
  2. ^ gayprideneworleans.com
  3. ^ NewOrleansPridefestival.com
  4. ^ gaytravel.com
  5. ^ travelandleisure.com