Showing Our Pride

New Orleans to be represented in New York City’s WorldPride celebrations this month.
Illustration by Tony Healey
Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on BizNewOrleans.com.

 

For six years, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) has been working with industry partners like New Orleans and Company to market New Orleans as a desirable destination to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, and as an inclusive and inviting city for all visitors. This month NOTMC is building on that message by participating in WorldPride in New York City June 22 – 30.

Nearly 20 years old — so not quite old enough to drink at The Bourbon Pub — WorldPride is an international celebration of LGBT Pride Month. This year’s event will be the first WorldPride held in the United States and marks 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising took place in New York in 1969. More than 3 million people are expected to participate in the events and New Orleans will be represented in two culturally iconic ways — in a parade and with a brunch.

“New Orleans strives to be a welcoming and inclusive destination for all travelers, not just for large events and attractions, but every day,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of NOTMC, in a press release. “WorldPride will allow us to showcase our great city on a national scale in a meaningful and authentic way.”

The WorldPride March on Saturday, June 30 will feature the signature Natchez Mardi Gras Float, which will be the largest float in the parade. Kern Studios will transport the float, along with Pride decorations, beads and costumes, from New Orleans to New York via flatbed or semi-trailer. A Kern Studios team will travel with the float to assemble it at 2 a.m. before the parade.

Float riders include New Orleans native author, actor and retailer Bryan Batt, his husband Tom Cianfichi, who co-owns the boutique Hazelnut with Batt, and Matthew Schoenberger from City Councilman Jay Banks’ office. They will be joined by press, influencers and locals who have had an essential role in shaping the New Orleans LGBT community. Participants will also be walking with the float and handing out New Orleans beads to revelers.

New Orleans will also host an activation event during the WorldPride Festival and WorldPride Tastemakers Brunch, bringing some of New Orleans’ favorites to The Big Apple. Those will include a Hansen’s Sno-Bliz stand, Mardi Gras flower backdrop, Krewe Sunglasses and a Mardi Gras 2020 Trip Giveaway. People can sign up for the giveaway at the Tastemakers Brunch, Pride Fest and Pride Island events. The trip includes a hotel stay by Sheraton New Orleans, a ride in Orpheus donated by Kern Studios, tickets to the Krewe of Armeinius ball that were donated by the krewe, a riverboat dinner cruise donated by New Orleans Steamboat Company and airfare that will be paid for by NOTMC.

It is estimated that the spending power of the LGBT market is almost $1 trillion annually and it is a market that likes to travel — with individuals averaging four or more round-trip flights per year, according to the Community Marketing and Insights Travel Survey 2018.

Working alongside New Orleans and Company, NOTMC has established an internal team of local event leaders and hospitality leaders to create NOLHA: New Orleans LGBT Hospitality Alliance. The group meets quarterly to help craft LGBT messaging and keep everyone informed on upcoming events in the community. It has led trainings for the tourism and hospitality industry and recently launched a “Welcoming Sticker” program for New Orleans. Over 150 businesses are currently displaying the sticker.

NOTMC said that when it first started these efforts six years ago, New Orleans was hardly on the map for this audience. With efforts that include creating original video and blog content, working with media partners and putting out a monthly newsletter, New Orleans has climbed to be named the “Second Most Welcoming City” in the world by GayCities readers two years in a row, along with several other accolades like “Best Festival” and “Best Gay Bar.”

New Orleans will have a two-page spread in the WorldPride guide, as well as partner representation throughout the events of the weekend. Also, @nycpride is planning on one Instagram, one Facebook and one Twitter post about New Orleans leading up to the WorldPride event. NOTMC’s summer video campaign is also running on Pride Media outlets.

 


 

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