METAIRIE, La. - Pop star Cyndi Lauper showed her true colors at Family Gras on Saturday night, rewarding a drenched crowd with her signature voice and energetic personality. After a wet wait that lasted more than four hours, she sang an hour-long string of hits, including "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "She Bop," "Money Changes Everything," and "All Through the Night."
The bad weather kept other national headliners John Oates and Michael McDonald from performing at all, but there was one surprise appearance: Representative Steve Scalise, still recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound that happened in June, came out and addressed the crowd.
"Look, we're from Jefferson Parish, we've been through storms; we've been through a lot. We're not gonna let a little rain deter us from a fun Family Gras night," Scalise announced.
Family Gras was planned for two days this year, in order to allow people to keep their Super Bowl Sunday traditions.
"People have traditions on Super Bowl and we didn't want to compete with that, and Family Gras was created about hotel occupancy, and growing that demand on the first weekend of Mardi Gras. What we've done is grown it from roughly in the 60 percent range to high 90s or sellout," says Violet Peters, the President and CEO of Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Peters also explains the Family Gras motto, Where Music Meets Majesty: It's really about the fact that Family Gras is a music event really helping our Carnival season and our greatest tourism asset, Mardi Gras, and so that meets the majesty of the Carnival Krewes."
It's a fitting theme for the free event that puts family fun on a pedestal and top-notch musicians on stage.
This was year number 11 for Family Gras, which takes place on the neutral ground of Veterans Memorial Boulevard, right outside Lakeside Shopping Center, near the iconic Blue Dog statue.