Watch: Kelsey Campion wins the 51st Annual ‘Greasing of the Poles’ at Royal Sonesta New Orleans


Winners announced!

Viewers Choice Award – Tammy Oshea

Safe But Not Safe For Work – Jeez Loueez

Sanitized But Not Clean – Malik Mingo

2021 Greasing Champion – Kelsey Campion

NEW ORLEANS — Royal Sonesta New Orleans presents the 51st Annual “Greasing of the Poles” as a virtual event, on Friday, Feb. 12.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans keeps traditions alive with a Mardi Gras MASKerade theme, incorporating the importance of safety into an event made famous by “irreverent, audacious performances.”

Greasing of the Poles is considered by many to be the French Quarter’s official kickoff to Mardi Gras weekend. Royal Sonesta New Orleans originated the ritual of greasing the building’s support poles as a practical means to deter overzealous revelers from shimmying up to the coveted balcony space. Over half a century later, the practice has evolved into a star-studded and music-filled event, even spawning its own international fan club that will be joining this year’s virtual celebration from their home country of Switzerland.

A cultural cross selection of contestants representing the distinct character of New Orleans will compete for the coveted title of 2021 Greasing Champion, showing off their talents for virtual audiences from around the world.

This year’s contestants, all masked and socially distanced, include the number one burlesque figure in the world Jeez Loueez; TV reporter Malik Mingo; local entrepreneur and owner of Fringe Co Kelsey Campion; and, for the first time in the event’s history, a contest was held to select a lucky local to partake in the event. The contest winner, Tammy Oshea, will compete alongside our celebrity greasers.

Kenny Lopez, 2020 Greasing of the Poles Champion

Celebrity judges, all masked and socially distanced, include the reigning 2020 Greasing of the Poles Champion, and WGNO’s very own Kenny Lopez; candidate for Louisiana’s second congressional district, founder of Badass Balloon Co., and 2019 Greasing of the Poles Champion Desiree Ontiveros; and renowned local musician and frontman of Big Sam’s Funky Nation Sam “Big Sam” Williams.

Contestants will go head-to-head and pole-to-pole, getting greasy along the way. Each contestant vying for the first-place title of 2021 Greasing Champion, based on the judging panel’s scores.

In honor of this year’s Mardi Gras MASKerade safety theme, additional titles will be awarded by the judges to the Greasers who show off their best “Safe But Not Safe For Work” and “Sanitized But Not Clean” performance skills.

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