Elaborate costumes abound at annual Halloween New Orleans fundraiser

HNO is one of the only 100 percent donation/volunteer event weekends left in the United States and its sole mission of its fundraising is to support Project Lazarus.

by Matthew Hinton
October 28, 2019

Eye-catching costumes were in abundance at Halloween New Orleans 36th anniversary main event and costume contest at the Fillmore in New Orleans, Saturday, October 26, 2019 with the theme Hallowdays. The annual LGBTQ friendly event has raised over $4.6 million since 1987 for Project Lazarus, an assisted living home for those with HIV/AIDS. HNO is one of the only 100 percent donation/volunteer event weekends left in the United States and its sole mission of its fundraising is to support Project Lazarus.

According to the group’s website “The four-day event includes the famous Lazarus Ball on Thursday night, a dance club night on Friday, the main costume party on Saturday night and a Sunday brunch and French Quarter second line parade. This weekend of fun was originally started as a dinner party given by a few people to honor their friends and loved ones who had died from AIDS and has become the single largest cumulative donor to Project Lazarus since the agency’s inception.”

When the party began in 1984 those “early years were also years of overwhelming loss and sorrow in the gay community. In 1987, a non-profit organization, the official name is Halloween’s in New Orleans, Inc., was created, and proceeds from the event would be dedicated to a home for people living with HIV and AIDS, Project Lazarus. That first year, a donation of $20.00 was requested, and the Saturday party raised over $15,000.00.”

Project Lazarus is an independent and non-denominational and non-profit organization is also sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The Archdiocese donates the use of the buildings for the programs and contributes $50,000.00 annually to assist with the utility bills. Project Lazarus is responsible for most if operating costs which amount to over one-million dollars annually. Funding from federal grants make up about 55 percent of the annual operating costs.

Matthew Hinton is a New Orleans area freelance photographer whose work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Best of Photojournalism Awards in 2014 and 2016, and by numerous awards from the Press Club of New Orleans, including the Hal Ledet President's Print Photography Award, the highest honor the Press Club can bestow upon a photographer. Matthew Hinton has previously been a staff photographer at both of the daily newspapers in New Orleans. His work has appeared nationally and internationally through freelance work with the Associated Press and AFP, Agence France-Presse.

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