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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 49th year. Only in New Orleans do these things happen.

Greasing of the Poles (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

New Orleans is home to some strange traditions,  which make us unlike any other city in the world. The 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 49th annual Greasing of the Poles takes place Friday, March 1, 2019 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!

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