Royal Sonesta New Orleans

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42nd Annual ‘Greasing of the Poles’ Celebrity Packed Lineup Announced

The stage is set, the ladders are dressed, and the 2012 Greasers have all been selected.  On the Friday before Mardi Gras, February 17th at 10:00 a.m. sharp, the Royal Sonesta Hotel officially kicks off carnival in the French Quarter with the 42nd Annual “Greasing of the Poles.”  A star-studded line-up, a colorful New Orleans marching crewe and a 2nd line parade with Mardi Gras royalty are planned with plenty of surprises in store for spectators.  Plan to arrive early for the best viewing spot on Bourbon Street, because this year’s spectacle is something not to be missed.

Four lucky ladies have been handpicked from the membership of one of the quirkiest carnival groups in town, the Pussyfooters.  Decked out in hot pink and orange costumes with signature corsets, candy-cotton wigs and white combat boots, this all female non-traditional marching club is the first of its kind to join the carnival scene in New Orleans. With over 100 members strong, these lovely ladies definitely turn heads with a whole lot of attitude sister!  Each of the ‘chosen four’ will compete before a panel of celebrity judges in a Dancing with the Stars format.  The winner gets bragging rights for one year and a trophy for “Best Greasing Performance.” The crowd also gets a chance to ‘voice’ their favorite performance by selecting the “People Choice Award” winner.  There is a little twist to this year’s competition.  One of the four competitors is award-winning actress Camryn Manheim.  Nominated numerous times by the Screen Actor’s Guild for her role in The Practice, Manheim earned an Emmy in 1998 for that very role.  Her skills as a performer might stack the deck in her favor, but this is after all Mardi Gras in New Orleans and anything can happen!

Local television and radio personality Mike Theis will share MC responsibilities with one of the funniest stand up comics in America, Wanda Sykes.  This multi-talented performer is also an accomplished voice artist and actress.  Sykes earned an Emmy in 1999 for her writing on the Chris Rock Show.  Sykes will be upfront and center stage with Theis for a Greasing of the Poles that they’ll be talking about for years.

Among the panel of celebrity of judges this year is Thomas Morstead, #6 of the New Orleans Saints.  Morstead played a critical role in the Saints Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2009.  He will be joined by a few other surprise panelists who we’ll keep secret until event day. 

Bowing to tradition, the Royal Sonesta’s President and General Manager Alfred Groos will welcome the 2012 King & Queen of Zulu and their entourage for a champagne toast to Mardi Gras.  Greasing of the Poles provides a rare opportunity to view Zulu Royalty up-close before they parade on Mardi Gras day.  If all of this still isn’t enough to convince you to be get here on Friday February 17th, how about a 2nd Line Parade led by trumpeter Leroy Jones and his Hurricane Brass Band. Joining the parade line-up will be members of the New Orleans Saintsations, the Official Cheerleading Team of the New Orleans Saints, and Saints mascots Gumbo and Sir Saint. Don’t forget about the Pink and Orange invasion of the 100-member strong Pussyfooters.

Here’s a quick recap of this year’s Greasing highlights:

WHO:   Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans

WHAT:  42nd Annual Greasing of the Poles

WHEN:  Friday February 17 at 10:00 a.m. Sharp

WHERE:  300 Bourbon Street

STAR WATCH: Camryn Manheim & Wanda Sykes

WHY:   Because its fun!

The Greasing of the Poles ceremony embraces the true spirit of Mardi Gras. The event is a spectacle to be experienced on one of the world’s most famous entertainment corridors, Bourbon Street.   The Royal Sonesta Hotel originated this long-standing tradition of greasing the support poles as a means to deter over-zealous revelers from shimmying up to coveted balcony space above.  “This popular Mardi Gras event has evolved into one of the most unique carnival displays of the season and is a popular must-see for locals and visitors,” explains Alfred Groos, President and General Manager of the Royal Sonesta.  Where else in the world can you take part in a ceremony centered around petroleum jelly!”
The 500-room Royal Sonesta Hotel is located in the heart of the fabulous French Quarter, just steps from world-famous restaurants, antique shops, jazz clubs and premier tourist attractions. Its atmosphere reflects a strong European influence and Southern charm. The hotel surrounds a tropical courtyard, just off an elegant marble lobby. The guestrooms offer views of the beautifully landscaped pool, secluded patios or French Quarter life. The hotel boasts over 20,000 square feet of functional meeting space as well as a brand new, luxurious Board Room equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology. For hotel or restaurant reservations or more information, call your travel agent, 1-800-SONESTA, or visit their website at Sonesta.com
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