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Halloween 29 in New Orleans: Our Big Gay Weekend

by Mickey Weems
Monday Sep 24, 2012

Everyone, LGBT and Straight, knows that the best place for adults to engage in Halloween revelry is the nearest Gay Ghetto. This year, New Orleans is the place to be on the last weekend of October. The Big Easy will be blue-hot for the Gay Halloween weekend, thanks to Halloween In New Orleans (HNO) and Madonna.

HNO is a 4-day fundraiser for Project Lazarus (a nonprofit that houses people with AIDS, and the Trevor Project for LGBT youth ( Madonna is, well, so many things.

The big night of HNO's extended weekend is the Saturday costume ball, a Circuit event with style, plenty of wow factor, and an open bar. The title of the ball is Monsterbrawl, an epic clash of divas, demons and dedicated athletes. At midnight, there is a contest for best costumes. DJs and go-go boys are on tap on the corner of Bourbon and Saint Anne, Gay Central in NOLA and only a short distance from the Main Event. As is custom in the French Quarter, it is perfectly legal to drink liquor in the streets.

I attended HNO in 2006, only a couple of years after Katrina. I also paid a visit to Project Lazarus, met staff and clientele. Since HNO supports Project Lazarus, the weekend was even more fun.


The Saturday of HNO is the same night as New Orleans' Madonna concert. On top of a totally glam costume ball, the MDNA Tour makes this weekend in New Orleans even better.

Realizing many of the attendees of HNO will also go to see Madge, the staff of Halloween in New Orleans simplified things in some ingenious ways. The theme for this year is sports, with an emphasis on wrestling and boxing. As with HNOs in the past, costume is mandatory. But this year, dressing up can be as easy as wearing typical workout gear, although hardcore fans of the event can be super-extravagant. Expect guys to dress up together in the garb of their favorite sports teams. No doubt there will be no shortage of Madonnas.

It is possible to go directly from Madonna's concert to Monsterbrawl, HNO 2012 features an on-site locker room, quite possibly the best idea to mesh the concert and party together.

There are 3 other events in the days before and after the costume ball. Every night features further festivities at Oz and Bourbon Pub, both at the corner of the aforementioned Bourbon and Saint Anne.

Message from Dustin Woehrman, HNO Marketing Chair

"Halloween's in New Orleans" is the Ultimate Benefit Weekend.

This is our 29th year of donating 100% of our proceeds to our beneficiary, Project Lazarus - we are one of the only parties in the country left like this. This year, taking a stand against bullying, which has had such tragic consequences over the past year, Halloween's in New Orleans, with the support of Project Lazarus, is pleased to announce that The Trevor Project will be an additional beneficiary of our fundraiser.

Our Thursday night black tie event will be held at the Ogden Museum and kicks off the weekend with great food, a silent auction, and entertainment. This is a chance for locals and friends to show their dapper side before the craziness of the weekend sets in.

Friday night is our "club" event at the House of Blues-New Orleans with DJ Corey Craig (back by popular demand)! This event is your chance to mingle, dance and "play" costume-free. There is a Host Lounge for Hosts (our fearful supporters that make this event a reality).

Saturday's "Monster Brawl" is our main dance party/costume event and will not disappoint. Held at the Contemporary Arts Center Sheds, this gritty, sexy costume party will feature a "locker room", dancers, fighters, boxing ring, outdoor activity area, amazing "New Orleans bounce" show, and Host Lounge.

Sunday's chill cruise down the Mississippi is a perfect end to the weekend. The Steamboat Natchez offers an amazing brunch and music.

Halloween is big here because of New Orleans' rich history. You've got the vampire allure largely promoted from Anne Rice's literature, tales of haunted houses in the historic French Quarter, ghosts from the city's unique above-ground cemeteries and all kinds of spooky nooks and crannies throughout the city. Halloween and New Orleans go hand-in-hand because of the mystique and allure of the city at night. Other than that, people who live here have always been a little eclectic -- some live it 24/7, but for those of us that don't, Halloween weekend is the one time of the year where we can let our freak flag fly a little higher. Madonna being here that weekend just adds to the craziness and excitement!

Message from Johnny Chisholm, Owner of Oz

Madonna being in town is great! More people will come to town for the concert, so that will make the weekend even better.

For more information, go to See also the following articles in the Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay Folklife (

Dr. Mickey Weems is a folklorist, anthropologist and scholar of religion/sexuality studies. He has just published The Fierce Tribe, a book combining intellectual insight about Circuit parties with pictures of Circuit hotties. Mickey and his husband Kevin Mason are coordinators for Qualia, a not-for-profit conference and festival dedicated to Gay folklife. Dr. Weems may be reached at


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