Few cities are as “spirited” as New Orleans. Join us on this classic walking tour to see the sites of legendary hauntings and macabre stories that are too gruesome to be made up!
LGBT Queer History Tour
- Per Person
- Private Tour Starts at
Explore the French Quarter’s LGBTQ History
Home to one of the first gay neighborhoods and first gay bars in the United States, the country’s queer history has deep roots in the French Quarter.
Whether a Gay Pride parade, our annual Southern Decadence festival, or an afternoon Drag Brunch, New Orleans is one of few places in the world where members of the LGBTQ community can truly embrace – and are applauded for – being their authentic selves. The French Quarter has long been a gathering place for LGBTQ writers, artists, chefs, and performers, so it’s no wonder we have gay bars and social clubs dating back to the 1930s. But the acceptance of LGBTQ people was not always with the open arms we see today.
The LGBT Queer History walking tour delves deep into the complicated past of gay New Orleans. You learn about the struggles faced by gay community members over the decades, such as brutal beatings, disowned sons and daughters, and the Upstairs Lounge fire that tragically killed over 30 people.
But with each struggle, you hear about hope. From gay Mardi Gras krewes to supportive clergy members to the creation of gay rights political groups, New Orleans now lets “you be you,” in all your glory!
This tour will take place rain or shine, so please dress for the weather. At least 2 people are required to run this tour, but they may be booked separately.
Where Do We Meet?
We’ll meet at the outdoor JAX Brewery Shops staircase where Wilkinson St. meets Decatur St. (right between Kilwins and CVS) in the French Quarter, just a short block from Jackson Square. Use 616 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 for directions.
While there are many different opinions and debates around whether this word has been “reclaimed” by the community, it is used as part of the title of this tour primarily in a historical context; many of the first activist groups changed the word “queer” during marches and banded together under the word. In addition, the academic field of study related to the history of our community also calls itself “Queer Studies.” On a more personal note, the author and primary provider of the tour strongly and proudly identifies as queer, and she considers it a powerful, unifying identifier.
Because this is a French Quarter walking tour, much of the tour focuses on LGBTQ history as it relates to the French Quarter neighborhood and also during the 20th century where the documentation has been more readily available. However, because history is never so simple as to be confined to one place or time period, this tour often includes references to events outside of that scope as well. And of course, questions for more information about anything relating to the community’s history and gay pride in New Orleans are always welcome!
The history of the LGBTQ community in New Orleans is a mix of fun stories and important political events, and we endeavor to cover a good range of both on the tour. That said, the tour tends to lean more toward the informative side. (This isn’t a New Orleans gay bar crawl, but we can recommend some great gay clubs in New Orleans for you to enjoy after the tour!)
While the tour deals with heavy themes and events at times (the arson of the Upstairs Lounge and the murder of Fernando Rios), there are no graphic forensic details of these events, and all stories are endeavored to be handled with respectful truth. Think of it as rated PG.