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Hot Halloween Party in New Orleans Helps People with HIV

Hot Halloween Party in New Orleans Helps People with HIV


Imagine spending Halloween in the Big Easy and knowing it'll help other people without you having to lift a finger.

If there was ever a reason to go to New Orleans it’s this: The 31st annual Halloween New Orleans, October 23–26, is a weekend-long extravaganza benefiting Project Lazarus, a home in New Orleans for men and women with HIV or AIDS, so that the home may provide health care and support services for their residents. (See for more info.)

Since its inception in 1984, HNO has raised nearly $5 million for Project Lazarus and has become one of the few volunteer-run events remaining in the U.S. to donate 100 percent of its proceeds to benefit a nonprofit (and it’s the largest gay Halloween charity event in the country).

Project Lazarus provides transitional housing for people with HIV or AIDS who would otherwise be homeless. Established in 1985, Project Lazarus has provided medical care and support to over 1,200 people. The services provided by Project Lazarus are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or any other insurance, so the organization depends completely on public and private support to continue its mission.

But you don’t have to be gay to join the fun. This year’s HNO follows the seductive and riotous journey through a playfully staged fiery underground world with the theme “Descent: Journey Into the Inferno,” based on the 14th-century epic poem by Dante Alighieri.

“The event was created to celebrate the gay community in New Orleans, to share love, a sense of family, a unique culture, and a love of showmanship, all while supporting Project Lazarus in its fight against HIV/AIDS,” says Dustin Woehrmann, HNO executive board chair.

In appreciation of HNO’s fundraising, Project Lazarus recently presented Halloween New Orleans the Pawell-Desrosiers Award, the organization’s highest honor. It has been awarded only three other times in the last 30 years.

Scenes from Halloween NOLA



If You Go
Stay…at the newly restored Bourbon Orleans Hotel, a gay-friendly, upscale but affordable hotel, which has often been called the nation’s preeminent haunted hotel. Look for the dancing girl seen in the historic Orleans “Quadroon” Ballroom at various times over the past two centuries. It’s in the heart of the French Quarter, close to all the revelry, between Bourbon Street and St. Louis Cathedral (where you can repent Sunday if you need to). (

Eat…at Mother’s Restaurant, which is not just the world’s best po’boy eatery, it’s the best of down home N’awlins cooking, just like your grandmother would make. In part that’s because many of the workers at the super gay-friendly, fast-paced (it serves seven days a week, 15 hours a day) landmark (open since 1938) restaurant are relatives of some of the original  cooks and servers. Try gumbo, jambalaya, red beans, the Ferdi special, whatever seafood sets you on fire, and definitely don’t miss the bread pudding. (

Play…pretty much everywhere, but don’t forget New Orleans has some amazing art galleries, museums, and cemeteries to visit too. (

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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