The greasing of the poles kicks off this weekend’s carnival festivities in the French Quarter!

The French Quarter’s Royal Sonesta Hotel originated this 43-year tradition of greasing the hotel’s gallery support poles to “deter over zealous revelers from shimmying up to coveted Bourbon Street balcony space during carnival season.” This year’s venerable yet humorous Mardi Gras spectacle delivered wonderfully, featuring “celebrity guests, great local music, and a whole lot of petroleum jelly!”

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The Pussyfooters of New Orleans warming up the crowd and kicking off the spectacle!

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Royal Sonesta’s President & General Manager Al Groos welcoming the participants and spectators.

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Zulu King Cedric George Givens was on hand to witness today’s event.

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A performance to the tune of “Big Spender” set the mood for the pole-greasing contestants: “Hey, pole greaser! Grease that big ol’ pole for me!”

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This year’s celebrity pole greaser, actor Laura Cayouette of HBO’s “Treme,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” and “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” appears enchanted by the song performance tailored to this year’s event!

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The competition begins with three special guest Pussyfooters of New Orleans and celebrity pole greaser Laura Cayouette…

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The competition heats up as Laura realizes that the Pussyfooters are greasing to win!

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Actor Laura Cayouette steps up her performance today, giving her challengers some real competition!

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I salute this Pussyfooter of New Orleans for bringing artistry and grace to today’s messy festivities!

While I’m still not yet certain who officially was voted the champion pole greaser for 2013 (and, really, that’s never been the point of this event), I know for a fact that a fun and unusual “only in New Orleans” tradition was enjoyed by all in attendance!

As my friend @CaptainSwallow quipped, “only in New Orleans could ye use the term ‘celebrity pole greaser’ politely!”