Published Date:  Thursday, January 25, 2018

Celebrity guests, local musicians and Carnival royalty raise a toast with Moët & Chandon for the annual, one-of-a-kind cultural tradition during the New Orleans Tricentennial


NEW ORLEANS (January 24, 2018) – Royal Sonesta New Orleans will host its annual signature event “Greasing of the Poles” at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 9. 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. This year's theme, “Cheers to 300 Years,” is inspired by the excitement and unique legacy surrounding the New Orleans Tricentennial, as well as the iconic celebratory global champagne house of Moët & Chandon. Special guests, event participants and the gathering crowd are all invited and encouraged to come decked out in festive costumes and attire reflecting Tricentennial celebrations or the deep traditions of Carnival in the Crescent City. This year, renowned actor, author and tastemaker Bryan Batt will serve as master of ceremonies.


Now in its 48th year, “Greasing of the Poles” has earned its place in Crescent City history as a landmark experience, and is considered by many as the French Quarter’s official kickoff to Mardi Gras weekend. This year adds special meaning with the completion of the newly revitalized Bourbon Street corridor. Royal Sonesta New Orleans, ranked a top hotel in the city by Condé Nast Traveler, 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. Nearly five decades 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 appearances by Carnival royalty from the Krewe of Zulu, plus other special guests. Leroy Jones and the Original Hurricane Brass Band will entertain the revelers with performances of Mardi Gras classics during the show, while New Orleans' original all-female marching group The Pussyfooters will deliver one of its signature special routines. The fabulous and fun Merry Antoinettes will join members of the We Heart Veterans non-profit organization for several surprise moments. 


Greasing the landmark hotel’s poles will be a cultural cross selection of contestants representing the distinctive character of New Orleans. Cajun fiddle player, singer and actress Amanda Shaw, the New Orleans ‘songbird’ Robin BarnesWGNO ‘News with a Twist’ Anchor Tamica Lee and world-famous, award-winning chef Nina Compton, 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.


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: 48th Annual Greasing of the Poles 

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 9 from 10 – 11 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, drop in PJ’s Coffee Café to indulge in Executive Pastry Chef Jacquelyn Lopez’s special Carnival confections. This year, the popular limited edition king cake returns in the flavors of New Orleans Traditional or the signature Bourbon Caramel Apple. The delicious sweet treats are priced at $4 per slice or $15 for a whole traditional cake and $5 per slice or $20 for a whole bourbon caramel apple with dulcey glaze cake. King cakes are on sale exclusively for Carnival season and are perfect to share at the office on Fridays, on the parade route or just to satisfy a sweet tooth.


Come celebrate 300 years at 300 Bourbon Street with Royal Sonesta New Orleans during Mardi Gras! 


About Royal Sonesta New Orleans:

Located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter and steps away from some of the city’s finest shopping and visitor attractions, Royal Sonesta New Orleans is a hub of authentic jazz, vibrant night life and refined southern design. The hotel is home to several dining and entertainment venues, including Restaurant R’evolution, Bar R’evolution, The Jazz Playhouse, Desire Oyster Bar, Le Booze and PJ’s Coffee Café. In addition to world-class amenities, Royal Sonesta New Orleans offers 20,000 square feet of meeting and special event space. With 483 newly appointed rooms, including 36 suites, the luxurious hotel is one of nearly 70 properties within Sonesta. For more information, visit or call 504-586-0300.