by: Luis Damian Vernon

New Orleans Tourism launched its “Always Open” campaign in tandem with its marquee Mardi Gras celebration this week to welcome the LGBTQ community in particular to the city.

Proclaiming NOLA a home for diversity and equality, the city held a first-ever “Reverse Parade” on February 12 in order to proclaim its commitment to the hard-won rights LGBTQ activists have achieved, especially in the face of potential rollbacks under Trump:

Through word of mouth, some four hundred citizens gathered and volunteered their time to create a message of diversity and equality. Donning full make-up, Mardi Gras garb, beads, or just plain clothes, the New Orleans community and its supporters marched backwards in a symbolic gesture shedding colorful clothing and masks along the way. Everything stopped, quiet ensued, then a flag appeared stating “We Are Never Going Back.” Music filled the streets as participants marched forward in celebration.

Volunteers offered their enthusiasm for the event and the city in a behind-the-scenes video. “It’s a great place to celebrate—you don’t have to be afraid of who you are,” said one, while another proclaimed the Big Easy an “[LGBTQ] hub since the time of Tennessee Williams.”

New Orleans Tourism, in conjunction with agency 360i, released a highlights video of the event, directed by Trent Jaklitsch and accompanied by the following message:

After years of positive advancement for LGBTQ rights in this country, the New Orleans tourism community wants to send a message of hospitality to all visitors. We will always be welcoming and continue to move forward.

Source: TowleRoad

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