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Hundreds of people in colorful, elaborate and very flamboyant costumes compete for top honors each year for what are now known as the Bourbon Street Awards on Mardi Gras Day. Participants and spectators alike come to the contest from all over the world and are rewarded with a flashy spectacle that often defies the imagination.
It has been called “the most famous drag-queen contest in America,” and it has been going on for more than five decades. The Bourbon Street Awards in the French Quarter take place around noon at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann streets, in the heart of the city’s gay and lesbian district.
Awards are given for: Best Drag, Best Leather, Best Group and Best of Show. First-, second- and third-place prizes are awarded in each category. Celebrity hostesses (in drag, of course) serve as emcees for the contest and awards ceremonies. The contest is held rain or shine, and it’s hard to say which is better – watching or participating.
To enter the awards, you sign up for your category early that morning at the registration table nearby and prepare to be entertaining. To watch the awards, you arrive early that morning and find a spot on the street and prepare to be entertained.