New Orleans residents will seize every chance they can get to parade down the streets while dressed up in wild, lavish garb. However, on August 5th, an army of undressed paraders, in nothing but undies, will march through the Bywater in celebration of National Underwear Day. Organized by artist Ryan S. Ballard of the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, and Xena Zeit-Geist of the Society of Sin Burlesque Troupe, the first National Underwear Day Parade in New Orleans will surely be one of the most exciting events of the summer. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, don’t miss out on the event that brings out all of the joyful absurdities of New Orleans.
The pantie parade will begin strolling at 7 p.m. on August 5, but attendees are expected to meet at Washington Square Park at 6 for another exciting prospect. Ryan S. Ballard and Xena Zeit-Geist are not just looking to throw a hilarious street party, but they are trying to make history by setting the Guinness World Record for “Largest Gathering of People Wearing Only Underwear/Knickers.” Surprisingly, the current standing record was set in Salt Lake City in 2011, counting 2,270 people. Ballard and Zeit-Geist are aiming to reach 3,000 semi-naked attendees. Can New Orleans pull it off (literally and figuratively)? Heads will be counted in Washington Square Park at 6 p.m., and then the bare bods will hit the streets.
All parades must have a king and queen, and The National Underwear Parade NOLA is excited to crown Burlesque producer and performer, Trixie Minx, as Queen, and Chris Leonard, Executive Director of New Orleans Pride, as King. The two will join together in this inaugural event to promote body positivity and liberation. It doesn’t matter who you are; you are all invited show up in a goofy or sexy pair of drawers. BUT, make sure to wear or bring extra fresh, clean, or new undergarments, because donations will be collected for the New Orleans Mission, an organization devoted to helping those without homes. Underwear is critical for the homeless, so don’t forget to bring an extra pair (or pairs) for those in need. Event organizers are hoping to collect at least 1000 items of undergarments for the cause, so let’s have fun and make this city a better place while doing it!
New Orleans has an abundance of parades and burlesque performances, and it seems that the two professionals of those fields have come together to make an epic commingle of the two. Ryan S. Ballard, known for his locally loved Chewbacchus parade which takes place during Mardi Gras season; and Xena Zeit-Geist, the pro burlesque dancer known for doing awesome things in her underwear. How can this not be a great time? A parade of beautiful people in lingerie? A chance to strip down to nothing in the New Orleans heat without looking a bit nuts?
The event is entirely free to the public, inviting everyone and anyone willing to enjoy a breezy, liberating walk through the Bywater. Oh, and where is the parade ending you make ask? The parade will stop at Castillo Blanco Art Studio, and from there, a “Free Ball” will commence. The “Free Ball” will kick off at Ballard’s co-owned art studio and Mardi-Gras float storage space, featuring performances by Society of Sin and The Dohm Collective.
This event and its organizers are emphasizing the aspect of body positivity and freeing the cover of outer garments. So, if you have been worried about hitting the pool this summer, scared that you don’t possess the standard image of a “beach bod,” then ditch that invalid perception and show off who you are at The National Underwear Day Parade NOLA!