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Things to Do in the French Quarter This September

When September hits in New Orleans, it doesn’t mean summer has given up the ghost, even if everyone is back in school. As far as festivals and events go, New Orleans doesn’t slow down in this regard either. Here are some of the big happenings hitting the Crescent City and the area around the French Quarter as we enter September.

Southern Decadence

August 31 – September 4, 2023

If you’re in town over the Labor Day weekend, check out Southern Decadence. This popular festival celebrates LGBTQIA+A culture and attracts participants from all over the world. What started as a simple going-away party in the 1970s is now considered the fifth largest event in the city after Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Essence Festival, and the French Quarter Festival.

The festival’s annual hub, Bourbon Pub Parade, will be open 24/7. Just like in previous years, it will serve as an epicenter of the 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.

Beignet Festival

September 23, 2023

Beignet Fest is back for another year, held again at the Festival Grounds at New Orleans City Park. Bring your appetite, as there will be many renditions of the beloved pastry, from traditional sweet treats covered in powdered sugar to savory options bursting with seafood and cheese.

In addition to the dozens of different beignet dishes from some of New Orleans’ best restaurants, caterers, and food trucks, the fest promises to be a family-friendly fun day with live, local music performances, a Kid’s Village, Artist Market, and Beer Garden. Proceeds from Beignet Fest benefit the Beignet Fest Foundation.

Need somewhere to stay during your fall visit to New Orleans? Be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels!

Southern Decadence French Quarter
Photo by David Fary

Southern Decadence

Sep 1-4 The largest LGBTQ party in New Orleans is a major highlight of the gay Labor Day festival circuit. We can’t say this is particularly surprising – New Orleans has a long history of tolerance and promotion of LGBTQ rights, and besides that, we’re a city that likes to party. Qualities like exhibitionism, flamboyance, costuming and unrestrained hedonism are not frowned upon in New Orleans – they’re celebrated. For decades, the lower portion of Bourbon Street – to say nothing of Faubourg Marigny – has been, without hyperbole, the gay friendliest real estate in the American South.

Southern Decadence is a name, but it’s also a theme. This party is an unrestrained celebration of community and pride, which all comes via a few choice drinks and revelry. Bring parasols, carve out a dancing spot at the balcony at Oz or Lafitte’s in Exile, sing karaoke at Kajun’s, drink lots of water, go for a swim at the Country Club in the Bywater, and buy something from the Faubourg Marigny Books. Highlights from this year’s party include:




  • Miss High Hair Contest – A night of celebrating tall wigs and beehive haircuts.
  • Southern Decadence Parade – The main event is an enormous, amazing parade that will ostensibly roll through the Quarter at 2pm.

labor day french quarter
Photo by Gary J. Wood on Flickr

Labor Day Weekend

New Orleans is a top Labor Day destination. Much of that cachet stems from Southern Decadence, but there’s more than the city’s largest LGBTQ party going on during the ‘last weekend of summer.’ Both Danger Zone and Taste the Rainbow will bring burlesque action to September 1, while on the same day, the National World War II museum is holding its inaugural book fair (which lasts through the weekend). There will be comedy all weekend, and many local favorite shows, like Local Uproar (Sat night, Allways Lounge) will be taking donations for victims of the Houston flooding. Plus, the Hollygrove Market will be in full swing on Sunday.