Jeff Goldblum was the grand marshal of Southern Decadence 2019

Actor Jeff Goldblum leading . Picture by Bryan Crawley via Facebook.

Southern Decadence—New Orleans’s original end of summer Pride celebration occurring on Labor Day this year—was led by none other than actor Jeff Goldblum as the event’s grand marshal on September 1.

Donning a leopard-skinned shirt and zebra pants, Goldblum strolled through the French Quarter greeting fans, along with co-grand marshal, Countess C. Alice (Daryl Dunaway Jr.).

Goldblum is known for his roles in movies such as “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day,” and “The Fly.” He got his start in 1974 alongside Charles Bronson in the movie “Death Wish.”

New Orleans already has a Pride event that’s celebrated in June of each yea and coincides with similar celebrations across the United States. But Southern Decadence is considered the Big Easy’s largest LGBTQ event. Inspired in part by Tennessee Williams, the jubilee started in 1972 between a group of friends living in Treme who encouraged participants to come dressed as their favorite “Southern decadent.”

Southern Decadence thus became an annual event that attracts tens of thousands of revelers (gay and straight) to the heart of the French Quarter who dress in lavish costumes. The event is often considered the midsummer Mardi Gras and compliments the general drunken tomfoolery that occurs in the Vieux Carré on a daily basis.

How to protect French Quarter buildings as Barry approaches

The edge of the French Quarter showing the high level of the Mississippi River in May 2019. Picture by Infrogmation of New Orleans | CC

Tropical Storm Barry gathered strength as it pushes sustained winds of up to 65 miles per hour, according to accuweather.com, and is predicted to make landfall along the central Louisiana coast Saturday morning as a possible Category 1 hurricane.

Whether structures will be damaged by the wind isn’t so much a concern as the flash flooding from the rain. The National Hurricane Center predicted that New Orleans could potentially experience six to 10 inches of rain as of Friday afternoon. While the French Quarter sits a bit higher than most places in the city, there are still ways to protect its historic buildings from rising water.

Interim Executive Director for the Vieux Carré Foundation Brook Tesler offered some tips to The Quarter Rat that may help protect buildings from flooding.

For one, sandbag your doors. Although the city isn’t distributing sandbags, there are some locations throughout the city. Nola.com provided a handy guide, although nothing for Orleans Parish. Third District City Councilwoman Kristen Gileson Palmer posted on social media that sandbags can be picked up at 530 Powder St. in Algiers. Get them while you still can.

As of this writing, according to the Flood Protection Authority, all of the floodgates along the Quarter and the entire city’s boundary of the Mississippi have been closed.

Park your car on high ground, Tesler noted. Most parts of the Quarter sit at or just above sea level by a few feet.

Close shutters if you’re fortunate to have them, Tesler said, and open up doors between bouts of rain to prevent from getting mold. Telser added that owners are generally allowed to temporarily place boards over windows to protect them from wind damage.

Most importantly, Tesler added, listen to the city if there’s an order to evacuate. No such order has been made yet, but the city advised its residents to shelter in place by 8 p.m. “Your life is more important,” she said.

The city received heavy flooding during the rainfall on Wednesday, receiving more than seven inches in some spots in a matter of hours, causing flash flooding.

The Quarter fared relatively better than the rest of the city. Royal Street in the Quarter received flooding during Wednesday’s rains, Tesler said, adding that Bourbon Street appeared to be draining better since construction.

“Living with water is important here in New Orleans,” Tesler said.

For city updates regarding Tropical Storm Barry, check with NOLA Ready.