New Orleans Pride Fest remembers victims of Orlando mass shooting

New Orleans Pride Fest remembers victims of Orlando mass shooting

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Pride events are in full swing in the French Quarter, one week after 49 people were killed in a mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.

The tragedy gave new meaning to Saturday night's Pride Fest parade, and 18 Pride events, taking place here amid heavy security. The signs are everywhere, remembrances of a tragedy in Orlando, posted by kindred spirits here in New Orleans.

"We attend these events, and pride, but our hearts and our minds are still with the victims there," said parade grand marshal Robert Camina.

Hundreds here celebrating gay pride, united like never before, after  the horror of a mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, that killed 49, one week ago.

"It hurts because that can happen anywhere to any of us, we need to come together as a community and stop it," said Oz club DJ Kyle David.

Tonight's Pride parade, was led by an Orlando memorial vehicle, thoughts of the victims never far off.

"My first thought was that could have been me, or any of my friends in Dallas, or New York," said co-grand marshal Gloree Bea.

Security was heavy throughout the quarter, with many bars beefing up their own security staffs, to keep patrons safe.

"We got homeland security, NOPD, and armed guards," said David.

The events in the quarter are even more poignant, since the nation's second most tragic mass killing of gays, occurred here, at the Upstairs Lounge in 1973. Thirty-two people died in an arson fire, in which no suspect was ever held accountable.

"We have a probable suspect but at this point we will never reopen the case, and tie it up in a tight bow," said Camina , who produced a documentary on the Upstairs Lounge fire, and was also the grand marshal of Saturday night's parade.

Saturday, thousands of members of the LGBT community rally for strength, against deadly violence.

"Love always wins, fear and hate, we can't succumb to that," said Camina.

And they are proving it on the streets of New Orleans.

Several bars in the quarter, and outside the quarter were taking special collections for victims of the Orlando tragedy.

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