- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A band at New Orleans Pridefest 2016 played the Mardi Gras Indian song “Iko Iko” with a gay pride twist, singing, “We won’t run and we won’t hide, Iko, iko unday; Gonna fill this world with love and pride, Jock-a-mo fee nah nay.”

About 100 people listened, danced, and took selfies behind the barricade on that block, and about as many more stood around to listen to The Nawlinz Johnnies farther down Bourbon Street, where it was possible to talk.

Sheila Frost of Slidell was in the close-up crowd with her 14-year-old daughter, Emma Frost, and a friend of Emma’s, a 14-year-old boy. Frost said she hadn’t been worried about security even before New Orleans authorities held a news conference Thursday to say extra officers and state troopers would be on duty.

Crystal Luna of Tampa, Florida, and Joelasa Oquendo, of Odessa, Texas, a married couple in the Navy, said they’d been a bit worried, but were reassured by seeing uniformed police officers. Oquendo said she’d seen about five.

Frost’s sentiments were shared by other locals.



“New Orleans is a safe city,” said restaurant manager Brent Chauvin, dressed in drag that included pink cheeks, white pancake makeup and blue glitter lipstick as a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an international community service and outreach group that raises money for LGBT causes.

Dance teacher Bill Anderson, another suggestively-named “Sister,” wore a white tulle veil and skirt. The skirt was a single layer, allowing a view of the tattoos covering both legs.

“I wasn’t worried. I never felt afraid,” he said.

Sharon McCall, who identified herself as a contract worker for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was handing out postcards for the website cdc.gov/HIVTreatmentWorks and getting the recipients to sign releases so she could post photos of them holding the cards on Facebook.

On the curb a couple of blocks down Bourbon Street, a man slept on his backpack and skateboard while his dog stretched out in the gutter next to him. The man’s slack hands held a sign: “Help fight hobo-phobia.”

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