Calling New Orleans gay friendly is like saying red beans and rice is a good idea for Monday supper. The city has long been a landing spot for people of all stripes and polka dots, the artistic, expressive and the type that dances to his/her their own drummer. Although Decadence, aka gay Mardi Gras is ground zero for off the charts partying, there are gay and inclusive bars and clubs that cater to the queer set year round. Cis-genders welcome too.
Picking the bar/club largely depends on your mood. There are low key Cheers-y bars where doggies are welcome and sometimes even command their own stool, dance clubs that attract the young and good looking, bar/cafes for drag shows and brunches and party spots along the "pink" stretch of lower Bourbon closer to the Marigny than the CBD. If it's leather lords you seek, The Phoenix on Elysian Fields is the premier destination for the gay, bear, pup, and leather communities.