Ahead of Mardi Gras celebrations, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation recently hosted a "Reverse Parade" to remind locals and tourists alike that the city stands with the LGBTQ community.
Staged in partnership with agency 360i, the parade kicked off with members and supporters of the LGBTQ community walking backwards instead of forward when their accompanying music began to play at New Orleans' famous Bourbon and St. Ann streets. As they walked backwards, the marchers started to shed their festive beads and wigs, wipe make-up off of their faces and retreat into nearby doorways.
As the streets turned quiet and perplexed observers looked on, a flag reading "we are never going back" appeared in the streets. The brass band then resumed their music as marchers returned to the streets with their parade garb on to march forward in celebration.
The parade, which was captured in a film directed by Trent Jaklitsch, was put on to send the message that New Orleans is "always open." According to the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, roughly 400 citizens gathered and volunteered their time to help spread the organization's message of diversity and equality.
“New Orleans has a history of welcoming all people all the time,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, in a statement. “The amount of excitement and numbers of citizens who came to participate in the parade and film is a testament to the city’s determination to never relinquish its achievements in human rights.”