Johnny Passion has a regular gig hosting the LaFamilia Variety Drag Show at the Four Seasons Bar and Patio in Metairie on the third Friday night of every month. Deja Deja-Vue performs regular gigs at clubs around New Orleans.
But on Easter Sunday, the duo will team up to ride as grand marshals in the 16th annual Official Gay Easter Parade. They’ll be in separate horse-drawn carriages, their spouses by their sides.
In all, the parade will feature 29 carriages, wagons and trolleys along with 10 cars, seven marching groups and two bands.
Showcasing the style and creativity of the city’s gay community, the parade is the final procession of a daylong Easter celebration in the French Quarter.
“All of the Gay Easter Parade participants will be attired in their Easter best: the gentlemen in hats and summer suits and the ladies in Easter dresses with hats,” Passion said. “It’s a chance to show another side of gay culture. It’s a family-friendly parade. No nudity or partial nudity is allowed.”
The carriages, Passion said, are open to the elements, but nothing will stop the parade from rolling. “We will roll rain, shine, sleet or snow.”
It’s all for a good cause. Parade participants pay a fee to join, and the proceeds benefit Food for Friends, which provides meals to needy residents year-round. To date, the parade has raised more than $202,000 for charity.
Historic French Quarter Parade
Easter in the Quarter begins with the Historic French Quarter Parade, which rolled for the first time in 1956. It was Germaine Wells, daughter of Arnaud’s restaurant founder Count Arnaud, who started the tradition, and until three years ago, the route began in front of the restaurant.
Now, the carriages and convertibles carrying about 40 women dressed in their Easter finest line up outside Antoine’s, 713 St. Louis St., and take off from there at 10:30 a.m. The procession heads to Jackson Square for the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Louis Cathedral.
“Everybody wears Easter Sunday attire, and we wear big hats,” said Amy Carbonette, the parade’s president. Riding in an open carriage in the Quarter on a warm spring day could make wearing all that finery uncomfortable, but Carbonette isn’t worried about that. “More than anything else, it’s the wind.”
After Mass, the parade makes its way from Jackson Square and through the Quarter as participants hand out plush Easter bunnies and other throws to revelers along the way. Then it heads back to Antoine’s.
Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade
French Quarter royalty takes to the streets in this 32nd annual procession featuring Grand Duchess Chris Owens, whose career as an entertainer at her own Bourbon Street nightclub is unparalleled.
Beginning at 1 p.m. at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets, Owens will lead her procession of flowery floats and bands down Bourbon Street, turning right onto St. Philip, then right again on Decatur, where the parade ends near where it began.
After the Owens parade, Quarter revelers will have time to brunch or have cocktails before the next parade begins at 4:30 p.m. The gap between parades is the best time to stroll the streets and take in the often hilarious concoctions that men and women have made to wear on their heads just for the day.
You’re not seeing things if you spot a crowd of exotic bunnies strolling through Faubourg Marigny on Saturday: It’s just NOLA Bunarchy, a bar-hop that raises money for Used Dogs animal rescue.
It begins at 6 p.m. at Marie’s Bar, 2483 Burgundy St., then heads to Mimi’s in the Marigny, St. Roch Tavern, The Always Lounge, The John and ends at 11 p.m. at Blue Nile. Care to put on a bunny suit and join in? Check out the NOLA Bunarchy page on Facebook for details.
Outside of the city, St. Charles Parish will hold its sixth annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday in Luling at the West Bank Bridge Park. Register at 9:30 a.m. so you can enter the hat contest at 10 a.m. Children ages 1 to 3 will hunt eggs at 10:30 a.m.; 7- to 10-year-olds at 11 a.m.; and 4- to 6-year-olds at 11 a.m. Bring your own basket. Admission: $2 for St. Charles Special Olympics. For $5 more, get a picture with the Easter Bunny.
The strawberry capital of Louisiana gets in on the Easter fun Saturday. The Ponchatoula Easter Bonnet Stroll gives the townsfolk a chance to show off their Easter attire beginning at 9:30 a.m. Prizes are given to the most creative bonnets.