It’s the time of the year for Baton Rouge residents to slip on their rainbow-laced boots and celebrate Pride Month New Orleans-style. Baton Rouge Pride Fest shows that you don’t have to be in the Big Easy to honor the LGBTQ community.
Baton Rouge Pride was established in 2006 as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing community-building events, resources and education for the Louisiana LGBTQ community. The 2019 festival will take place on June 15 from noon to 7p.m. at the Raising Canes River Center. Admission is free and open to the public.
In 2007, the organization hosted its first Pride Fest. It drew around 500 local attendees, but has since grown into the largest Pride celebration in the state. The event also claims to be the largest “family-friendly” Pride festival in the south, possibly even the world. This year, Baton Rouge Pride Fest is only getting bigger.
Instead of just one day of celebrations, the non-profit will host a full week of events, from Bowling with PRIDE to a Star-Studded Drag Brunch. Tickets for these events are available at batonrougepride.org, and profits from these ticket sales go toward keeping the festival free for everyone who wants to attend.
The festival will also feature same-sex relationship blessing ceremonies, performances from Broadway singer Frenchie Davis, local band Hip Deep, drag queens Miranda Mann and The Austin Babtist Women and the all-drag-queen Krewe of Divas.
The newest addition to the Baton Rouge Pride Fest lineup is Drag Queen Storytime, an opportunity for kids to listen to drag queens read inclusive children’s books to promote acceptance and familiarity with all parts of the LGBTQ community from a young age.
After enjoying the event itself, attendees can head upstairs to the Queerative Market, a pop-up market featuring LGBTQ artists and makers, to take home their own piece of Pride and further support the Louisiana LGBTQ community.
While most of the events are celebrations of strength and identity, Baton Rouge Pride uses the event to tackle the more serious issues that many LGBTQ people face. The event will feature booths for free HIV testing, as well as support groups and spiritual advisors. Additionally, the event will feature educational resources for all ages.
Since 1999, June has been the official Pride Month in the United States. June was chosen in commemoration of the historic Stonewall Riots of 1969, widely considered to be the turning point of the fight for LGBTQ rights.
Pride was born as a celebration of progress and identity, but more importantly, it was developed as a way for the community to rise above discrimination, harassment and even criminalization. Since its revolutionary beginning, it has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon that can now celebrate the wins of the community as well as its losses. Cities all over the world, big and small, celebrate Pride in their own ways. Baton Rouge is no exception.