Southern Decadence is a week-long, predominantly gay-male event held in New Orleans, Louisiana and its environs by the gay and lesbian community during Labor Day Weekend, climaxing with a parade through the French Quarter on the Sunday before Labor Day. Most events take place in or around the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans, centering especially at the intersection of Bourbon and St. Ann streets.
Crowds range from 100,000 to 300,000 revelers from across the United States and around the world. In 2010 there were over 125,000 participants and the positive economic impact on the City of New Orleans was estimated at over $160 million.
Decadence, as it is known by participants, is marked by parades, bead tossing, street parties and dance parties. In these ways it resembles New Orleans Mardi Gras, however, Southern Decadence is much more sexual in tone and generally geared towards more upscale and mature revelers. Decadence crowds in the Quarter typically match or exceed the Mardi Gras crowds.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the city just two days before Southern Decadence began and the celebration was officially cancelled. 80 percent of the city was flooded.
In 2012, Hurricane Isaac struck New Orleans, 7 YEARS TO THE DAY SINCE HURRICANE KATRINA MADE LANDFALL, and ONE DAY BEFORE the 2012 Southern Decadence was set to begin.
...Yet the obvious message was not received and Southern Decadence is now well underway, despite the forced evacuation of 60,000 people, widespread flooding, and literally several FEET of rain.