BY HEATHER CASSELL
Girls are making their mark on Southern Decadence. Once a sinful week long party for gay boys started more than 40 years ago, four years ago the girls busted into the party with Dykeadence.
Dykeadence is a five daylong celebration, August 30 – September 2, with dance and pool parties, burlesque shows and erotic readings, and more culminating joining in the annual Southern Decadence Parade through the French Quarter in New Orleans during Labor Day weekend.
Seed of passion
The grassroots event is turning into a grass fire since it started four years ago with a small group of women simply seeking to join in on the Southern Decadence party and parade.
Southern Decadence started as a farewell fiesta for a friend who was moving away from the Big Easy in the late 1960s that became an annual event. The party attracts more than 100,000 party goers annually in recent years, says Robert “Bobby” Revere, one of the organizers and promoters of the party, citing information from the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Tired of being on the fringe of the event, queer women developed their own complementary party that has rapidly grown from 300 women attending the first parties in 2009 to an estimated 1,500 last year, says Sara Pic, one of the founding Dykeadence committee members.
Last year was significant, it was the first year Dykeadence broke above the even mark by a few hundred dollars with Queerlesque! raking in $1,500 that covered production costs of the event with a little left over. Nearly all of Dykeadence events are open to the public for free. Organizers marked the party’s growth by incorporating and beginning plans for a foundation to support local organizations, Sara, a native queer woman of New Orleans, says.
Participants in New Orleans’s Dykeadence’s, a new addition to the legendary southern party Southern Decadence. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dykeadence
Organizers anticipate this year’s event to attract queer women travelers and their friends from New York to San Francisco, as well as from all over the South to hang out by the pool at the Get it Wet!, get hot and bothered at the Faster Pussycat Kinky Costume party, and work up a sweat at GrrlSpot’sFleurt.
Flurt is produced by Christine Johnson, director of GrrlSpot, New Orleans biggest women’s monthly parties.
The weekend’s events also include Queerlesque!, a burlesque show, erotic readings from some of New Orlean’s steamiest authors, social mixers and more leading up to the parade.
“I’m very excited about Dykeadence this year,” says Christine, who is also one of Dykeadence’s core committee members, in a June 13 new release announcing the event. “This year, we’re taking out all the stops.”
“It’s going to be a weekend filled with ‘just let yourself go,’” adds Sara. “It will definitely be memory making.”
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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Queerlesque! made $15,000. The correct amount was $1,500 covering the production costs and leaving only a few hundred dollars left over to help produce next year’s event.
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