For more information and updates about how New Orleans is addressing the Covid-19 outbreak – including restaurants that are currently open for takeout and delivery – please visit
No, thanks

Get the LOCAL Perspective!

Find hidden gems and get insider information on NOLA’s best restaurants, bars, attractions, and events every week.

Best Local Things to Do

Greasing of the Poles: A New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition

Greasing of the Poles
“Greasing of The Poles" takes place the Friday of Mardi Gras weekend at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Picture this: It’s the Friday before Mardi Gras and a crowd has gathered on Bourbon Street for a pole-greasing competition in its 50th year. Only in New Orleans.

Greasing of the Poles (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

This city is home to some strange traditions,  which make us unlike any other city in the world. Greasing of the Poles is one of them. It all started as a practical tactic to keep parade-goers from climbing up hotel balconies for a better view. Today, the tradition lives on and has morphed into a competition featuring categories and celebrity judges.

Fans of the Greasing of the Poles come from far and wide, including a fan club that hails all the way from Switzerland every year. Greasing of the Poles is also the French Quarter’s official kickoff to Mardi Gras weekend – all the more reason to celebrate.

The 50th annual Greasing of the Poles takes place Friday, February 21, 2020 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on 300 Bourbon St. The festivities, complete with live music, will begin at 10 a.m. right in front of the hotel. Don your Mardi Gras costume, come on down, and become a part of the tradition. And be sure to arrive early to get yourself a good spot (but no climbing the poles). Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!

Book Your Trip