Southern Decadence has become a huge event attracting hundreds of thousands of people to participate in what organizers say is a celebration of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender culture. "I love it. People coming together supporting each other," said Lauren Foster. She came in from Miami for the event and is also serving as a host.
This year organizers expect at least 150 thousand people to pack the French Quarter for the festival. However most people may not be aware that after organizers pay all of the expenses for the event. They take all of the other money raised at the events and donate it to a different selected charity, yearly. "It is about being able to positively affect the community and have an impact that lasts longer than just the weekend," said Aubrey Synclaire, who will serve as a Co-Grand Marshal for the festival.
This year's selected charity is the local chapter of the group "Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays." It also known as PFLAG New Orleans.
"We were surprised but very pleased," said Julie Thompson, a Co-President of the volunteer group. PFLAG provides support for parents, children and adults of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community.
The money it will receive will pay for scholarships for recipients who lost their family's financial support because of their lifestyle. "A lot of them when thrown out of their homes, their education money is taken away also," said Thompson.
They say they've handed out about $50, 000 in scholarships to Louisiana residents since 1983. "One of our winners got a four-year scholarship of $10,000 and is going to Yale. Two others to Boston but many do stay local."
It is a side of Southern Decadence most people may not be aware of, but its one local organizers say makes them proud.
To find out more about the support group PFLAGG, call 504-862-5912 or click here.