Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in the French Quarter

Labor Day Weekend in the French Quarter
Photo by Miguel Discart on Flickr

Say goodbye to summer and ease yourself into fall by celebrating Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2023) in New Orleans. Americans do travel a lot for this long weekend ending on the first Monday of September, and New Orleans is a top Labor Day destination.

There are great reasons for the city’s popularity, and don’t let the still-summery temps of early September deter you — the Labor Day weekend in New Orleans will deliver, and then some. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of your stay in the French Quarter, starting with the immensely popular Southern Decadence festival.

Southern Decadence

This massive four-day festival celebrates LGBTQIA+ culture and attracts participants from all over the world. Southern Decadence started as a humble going-away party but is now considered the fifth largest event in the city after Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Essence Festival, and the French Quarter Festival.

Southern Decadence will be held from Thursday, August 31, through Monday, September 4, 2023. It kicks off and closes with dance parties. There will be lots of block parties and dance parties in between. This year’s theme is TBA.

The festival’s annual hub, Bourbon Pub Parade, will be open 24/7. Just like in previous years, it will serve as the epicenter of the annual Bourbon Street Extravaganza, a free show/block party happening on Saturday at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets. The annual Southern Decadence Grand Marshal Parade on Sunday will also end up there, stretching loosely one block over to its ending point at Bourbon and Dumaine Streets.

A lot of events are free, and you can buy passes online to access the events that do charge an entrance fee and may sell out. The VIP Weekend Pass covers all events; the Weekend Pass includes all events held Friday through Sunday.

The Oz dance club and Cafe Lafitte in Exile, both on Bourbon Street, will also host DJ’d shows and dance parties that weekend. Although not part of the Bourbon Street stretch, the 24/7 Good Friends bar at 740 Dauphine Street in the French Quarter also receives a fair share of the festival partygoers each year.

Musical Highlights

Your best bet would be to just head out to Frenchmen Street on any given evening and explore, and there’s something always going on at the iconic Tipitina’s. The Labor Day weekend’s musical offerings are usually excellent. Let the WWOZ Livewire Music Calendar guide you.

Eating and Drinking

For happy hour, various French Quarter bars are offering lots of great deals, including The Bombay Club. For more ideas, check out our guide to the best happy hours in the French Quarter. As for eating, the French Quarter is your oyster, and then some. Check out our dining guides and listings to reserve a perfect spot.

If you’re planning a stay in New Orleans during the Labor Day weekend, be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels.

Eat, drink, dance, stay cool, and happy Labor Day!