NEW ORLEANS– Every Mardi Gras, “Greasing of the Poles” is a tradition at Royal Sonesta New Orleans on world-famous Bourbon Street.
“Greasing of the Poles” was originally established to keep Carnival revelers from shimmying up and down the hotel balconies. Because of the pandemic this year, the show took a pivot and moved from the streets to the hotel’s courtyard.
Royal Sonesta New Orleans General Manager Al Groos said, “We really wanted to make sure that we did this safely. We even sanitized the poles and measured the distance between the poles.”
The participants called “greasers” are local celebrities who compete for the title, and slide the spirit of Mardi Gras to new heights, year after year. This year the even was held virtually and fans at home got to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner. This year’s People’s Choice Award winner was Tammy O’Shea who for the first time ever entered a dance contest to be part of the competition.
This year’s 2021 Greasing of the Poles Champion was Kelsey Campion, who is a local fashion designer with Fringe & Co.
“Incredible competition. I really feel like people had creative ways of greasing the poles this year,” Campion said.
With crowds watching the competition streaming online, contestants had to work harder to impress.
“Knowing that there weren’t any people watching, I really had to step my game up,” she said.
Other 2021 contestants this year were burlesque performer Jeez Loueez and TV personality Malik Mingo.
In past years, WGNO’s Tamica Lee won the competition in 2018 and WGNO’s Kenny Lopez won the competition in 2020. Kenny emceed this year’s virtual event.