NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Royal Sonesta New Orleans will host its annual signature event “Greasing of the Poles” at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21. 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 public is invited to gather at the main entrance of the award-winning, resort-style luxury hotel at 300 Bourbon Street to view the Mardi Gras spectacle. Special guests, event participants and the gathering crowd are all encouraged to sport festive costumes and attire reflecting the deep traditions of Carnival in the Crescent City. In addition, revelers are encouraged to celebrate the occasion by getting decked out in their best garb representing the glitz and glamour of the Roaring 20s. Once again, actor, author and tastemakerBryan Batt will serve as master of ceremonies.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Greasing of the Poles, the hotel’s world-renowned balconies will be adorned with a custom installation by Badass Balloon Co., and returning to toast to this year’s momentous anniversary festivities is the iconic celebratory global champagne house of Moët & Chandon.
Greasing of the Poles is considered by many 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 as a practical means to deter overzealous revelers from shimmying up to the coveted balcony space. Half a century later, 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.
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 Bandwill entertain revelers with performances of Mardi Gras classics during the show, and special guests from Merry Antoinettes and the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale will join the festivities.
A cultural cross selection of contestants representing the distinct character of New Orleans will grease the landmark hotel’s poles. This year’s greasing contestants include nationally recognized musician and actress, Amanda Shaw; designer and founder of New Orleans-based Reagan Charleston Jewelry and cast member of Bravo TV’s Southern Charm Nola, Reagan Charleston Thomas; WGNO-TV reporter and weekend co-host of “News With A Twist” Kenny Lopez; and Bounce music icon Katey Red. The contestants will go head to head and pole to pole for the namesake task, each vying for the first-place title based on the judging panel’s scores. Contestants will also have the chance to win the coveted “People’s Choice” award, based on crowd participation, response and applause.
Guest judges for Greasing of the Poles 2020 include Desiree Ontiveros, founder of Badass Balloon Co. and the 2019 Greasing of the Poles Champion; acclaimed photographer and New Orleans ambassador David Mora aka David Nola; Moët Hennessy USA Champagne Business Development Manager Trisha Cancilla; internationally recognized chef, restaurateur and television personality John Folse; and Q93 radio personalityWayne “Wild Wayne” Benjamin.
Greasing of the Poles is free and open to the public. For prime viewing, spectators should plan to arrive early.
WHO: Royal Sonesta New Orleans
WHAT: Greasing of the Poles 2020
WHEN: Friday, February 21 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: 300 Bourbon Street
WHY: This is an ‘only in New Orleans’ experience not to be missed.
While visiting Royal Sonesta New Orleans this Carnival season, stop by PJ’s Coffee Café to indulge in special Carnival king cakes, including the King Avery Bliss, a brioche pastry layered with fresh ground cinnamon, vanilla bean whipped cream cheese, house made Louisiana strawberry filling and coated with sweet white chocolate ganache accented with TABASCO sauce. The special king cake strikes the perfect balance between sweet and heat and is decorated with gold paint & flakes, rich red highlights and a mini TABASCO bottle. Miniature king cakes layered with fresh cinnamon, raw sugar, bourbon baked apple slices, strudel crumble topping and icing drizzle are also available, along with the hotel’s standard king cake, which comes decorated with mirror glazed icing and drizzles of bright purple, green and gold glaze.
Come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Greasing of the Poles with Royal Sonesta New Orleans this Mardi Gras!