Royal Sonesta poles are greased and ready for final days of Carnival 2019

NEW ORLEANS — It is a tradition at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans Hotel, and it has also become part of the theater of the Friday morning before Fat Tuesday.

But this year, the event is also part of the hotel’s 50th birthday.  The theme for the greasing of the poles is, “Hail to Half a Century.”

Actor and New Orleans business owner Bryan Batt served as master of ceremonies.  This year’s pole greasers included Ashley Hansen of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, Desiree Ontiveros of Badass Balloon Company, and chef Justin Devillier.  A panel of judges and audience applause decides who did the best job.

The performances from the pole greasers can be pretty entertaining, but the work also serves a purpose.  The grease prevents any over-served people in the crowd on Bourbon Street from climbing the poles to get onto the hotel’s balconies.

The event also included Carnival royalty from some of the krewes as well as appearances from singer Robin Barnes, the Brass-A-Holics, Leroy Jones and others.

Oh, and the winner of this year’s contest is Desiree Ontiveros. But chef Justin Devillier won the award for crowd favorite.

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