French Quarter hotel, Royal Sonesta, celebrates 50 years of its signature event “Greasing of the Poles.” The annual, one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras tradition will take place at 300 Bourbon St. on Friday, February 21 for 10 a.m.
To mark the dawn of a new decade, this year’s theme, “Royal Roaring 20s” pays homage to the glamour of the landmark hotel and its distinguished role in the celebration of Mardi Gras.
The greasing of the poles is considered to be the French Quarter’s official kickoff to Mardi Gras weekend.
Royal Sonesta New Orleans originated the ritual of greasing the building’s support poles to deter overzealous revelers from climbing up to the coveted balcony space. Now, in it’s 50th year, the practice has evolved into a star studded and music filled event, even spawning its own international fan club that faithfully hails from Switzerland each year to participate.
Local celebrities will go head to head and pole to pole for the namesake task, each vying for the first place title based on the judges scores. Some contestants include musician Amanda Shaw, jewelry designer and cast member of Bravo TV’s “Southern Charm,” Reagan Charleston Thomas and Bounce music icon Katey Red.
Contestants will also have the chance to win “People’s Choice” award, based on crowd participation, response and applause. Actor, author and tastemaker Bryan Batt will serve as this year’s master of ceremonies.
The event is free for the public to attend and everyone is encouraged to sport festive costumes and attire reflecting the traditions of carnival in the Crescent City. For prime time viewing, spectators should plan to arrive early.
This year’s festivities will include carnival royalty from the Krewe of NOMTOC and Krewe of Cork plus other special elements , including appearances by Miss New Orleans Pride 2020, Lana O’Day, and renowned Big Easy burlesque dancer and performer, Trixie Minx. Leroy Jones and the Original Hurricane Brass Band will entertain along with special guests from Merry Antoinettes and the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale.
This is an “only in New Orleans” experience not to be missed.
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