New Orleans’ biggest bash of the year, Mardi Gras, may be less than two weeks away, but that doesn’t mean the city won’t be partying extra hard in honor of the Super Bowl it’s hosting this Sunday. From Bourbon Street to Bywater and from the Marigny to Metarie, the whole metro area will be getting in on the action – and that includes the gays. But whether you’re a crazed football fan or a rabid football foe, there’s always plenty to do in the Big Easy. Here’s our guide to how best to spend this Super Bowl Sunday, no matter which side of the fence you’re on.
Wake up late (this is New Orleans) at the fabulous Hotel Monteleone (right) in the French Quarter, or at the fantastic Harrah’s complex just a few blocks away. Both are among the city’s top-rated hotels. Grab brunch at the phenomenal Stanley, where your Eggs Benedict become a po’ boy, New Orleans-style.
Offset what’s sure to be a sporty evening by loading up on culture. First stop: the outstanding Angela King Gallery right in the French Quarter, which shows works by renowned contemporary artists like Peter Max. Next, head over to the Central Business District, where you’ll find the two of the city’s biggest artistic gems right across the street from each other, the exceptional Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the very forward-thinking Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans.
For the Super Bowl-minded, it’s now already time to commence the revelry, with the ever-fun Good Friends Bar (left) back in the French Quarter kicking off its Tailgate Party at 4pm. A few blocks away, the notorious Corner Pocket also revs up its Giant Super Bowl Party at 4, with multiple viewing screens and food and drink specials before and after the game.
For the gridiron-haters, there’s still time to squeeze in some shopping (and we don’t mean for football jerseys!) along hip Magazine Street in the Uptown and Garden Districts, where can’t-miss stops include quirky emporium Plum and cool T maker Storyville. For a sweet break, pop next door from the latter to stylish Sucré, where folks go nuts for the chocolates and macaroons. If you’re a bit hungrier, dig into some tasty tapas at nearby Salú; just be forewarned that they’ll be showing the game later on, so if it’ll burn your eyes, get out before sundown.
With the Ravens and the 49ers facing off at 5:30pm CST, it’s time now to really separate the fans from the foes. For fans, one of the most logical options is New Orleans’ “sportsqueer” bar, Cutters in the Marigny, which kicks off its Super Bowl party at 5pm. Cheer loudly for your favorite team, and a free shot will be yours every time said team scores a touchdown. Also offering this sure-to-be-messy-making strategy are The Double Play in the French Quarter and 4 Seasons & The Out Back Bar in Metarie. Other big game party-hosting gay bars include The Phoenix, Michael’s on the Park (serving up something called Mike’s Famous Frito Pie for the occasion), and the 700 Club (which is offering a special Super Bowl menu, as well as drinks specials during the game). For what’s likely the biggest gay screen in town, settle in at The Country Club in the Marigny, which will be showing the game on big huge flatscreens, on an indoor 11 foot projector, and on its granddaddy 25 foot projector outside over the pool.
Meanwhile, for those who’d do anything to avoid football this Sunday, there are a few (but only a few) New Orleans gay bars that aren’t throwing Super Bowl parties. These include Napoleon’s Itch, Rawhide 2010, John Paul’s, and the biggest Big Easy disco of them all, Oz, which will be behaving as if this was just another Sunday: Starting at six, Blanche Debris hosts an evening of Dingo (drag bingo), the Boy Next Door Strip-Off, and the glittery Show Time! (exclamation point theirs, but we’ll take their word for it).
Of course if you shun the game, you also shun some of the wonderfully gay stuff that comes with it, namely hot players (like Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, swoon, right) and Beyoncé’s halftime show. We’re just saying.
For a complete gay breakdown of the game itself, check out Outsports.com’s excellent guide.
Ravens vs. 49ers: 49ers by 6
Fans vs. Foes in New Orleans: Tie, everyone wins