New Orleans Pride 2016

By : Anna M. Johnson
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The Crescent City was alight with glitter on the night of June 17.

I was visiting with my boyfriend and his family to celebrate his father’s birthday, a trip that had been planned months in advance. In what felt like a wholly appropriate sign, New Orleans Pride happened to fall on the same weekend as our stay. None of us even knew about it until a bartender with a rainbow bandana tied around his bicep handed us our daiquiris and told us to stick around for the parade on Saturday.

Bourbon St. teemed with life in all of its messy forms on the night of June 17 prior to the Pride parade. People young and old stumbled over each other in various states of drunkenness. Young boys danced or drummed on overturned buckets on street corners, near-barren donation boxes eye-catching in front of them. This city, this block, was not prepared for a sudden tragedy like what had happened here in Orlando last week.

Why should they have been, though? I shouldn’t have been thinking about my safety and the lack of visible security surrounding me – I should have been appreciating the poignant tributes to Orlando and enjoying the celebration. I, nor anyone else who wanted to go out and be a part of New Orleans Pride, should not have had to worry about someone else in the crowd being equipped and ready to kill.

We did, though. One person out in public fearing for their life is too many.

I watched the event from the balcony of my hotel. The parade was beautiful and touching. I was proud – to be there witnessing such an unafraid celebration of individuality and to be contributing in my small way to its longevity. I was proud of those walking in it for donating their peace-of-mind to represent the community and proud of them for having fun while doing it.

The unwavering resilience of the LGBT community is obvious. New Orleans Pride was an embodiment of this strength, a reminder that we are a force of nature when we are unified.

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