Yesterday was the day New Orleanians were waiting for all year: Mardi Gras, one of the biggest and best free parties in the world! While many have only been getting into the Mardi Gras spirit within the last few weeks, our New Orleans Specialists have been preparing for this day as far back as October. Today, General Manager Kim Smith shares what Shiftgig’s NOLA crew has been doing to support Carnival 2017.
Our Specialists bring New Orleans’ unparalleled hospitality to the city’s Mardi Gras visitors from the moment they land at Louis Armstrong International Airport. We have team members working across the city, taking care of our city’s guests as bartenders, servers, hosts, cashiers and more. Back in the kitchen, our Specialists have been working hard to make iconic dishes including jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp creole, red beans and rice and po’ boys.
Some of our team members have been making New Orleans’ iconic king cakes, shown below, since October. Our Specialists have also welcomed visiting guests at hotels across the city, working as everything from housekeepers to hosts to room service attendants.
Finally, while out of sight to many visitors, there were a myriad of Specialists that worked tirelessly to help set up and tear down the events that make Mardi Gras an unforgettable experience.
And don’t forget the parties!! We talk about Mardi Gras being the world’s biggest free party, but it’s really comprised of hundreds (feels like thousands!) of individual parties throughout carnival season. And Shiftgig was there for many of them this year.
We helped staff numerous Mardi Gras events, celebrations and balls at venues all over the city, including the Convention Center, Monastery, WW2 Museum, Gallier Hall, Board of Trade and Orpheum Theater. Just a few of the “Krewes” that we’ve helped put events on include: Nyx, Endymion, Nomtoc Zulu, Bacchus and Orpheus.
Check out Emily, Shiftgig Field Manager and bartender extraordinaire. She’s on the left, with two of her Nyx sisters on their float. Shiftgig was there to help make sure the Nyx Coronation Ball was a roaring success. And it was. One of the best parts of working for Shiftgig is the flexibility. Emily picked up numerous shifts during the busy All-Star weekend which was one week before Mardi Gras, but then was able to take time off so she could enjoy Nyx and the festivities. A perfect fit for all!
And here’s Bernadine, one of our favorite cooks and a proud member of the historic Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Here she is all decked out in her 2017 float costume. The Zulu parade rolls on Mardi Gras morning – decorated coconuts are its most coveted throw. Despite being part of one of the biggest krewes of Mardi Gras, Bernadine still managed to pick up numerous cooking shifts in February. The Shiftgig team worked the Zulu Coronation Ball on Friday night – but we are happy that this was one event that Bernadine got to enjoy instead of work!
Here’s part of the Shiftgig team on Lundi Gras getting ready to help serve breakfast to over 1400 hungry Bacchus riders as they start their long day on the parade route. Bacchus is one of New Orleans most famous “superkrewes” due to its enormous size, with 33 large animated super floats. This year actor Jim Caviezel served as King of Bacchus. Look at these smiles and keep in mind that this picture was taken at 6:00 in the morning after days and days and days of parades and balls – these are true hospitality professionals!
As I sit in my office today, I finally have a moment to reflect on the past few weeks. I think about the countless hours spent crafting, cooking, costuming, decorating, planning and performing. I think of the time, effort, energy and money spent by so many individuals in New Orleans to make Mardi Gras happen. I’m so proud and humbled to be a tiny part of it. I’m also incredibly thankful for our team of Specialists who battled traffic, insane parade routes, tourists and general exhaustion to make it to work throughout this busy season. As many Mardi Gras’ as I’ve seen, I remain in awe of the generosity of our city and its people. I appreciate the delight of visitors witnessing our many spectacles and incredible creativity, and overwhelmingly, the sense of happiness and community is simply unparalleled. I hope everyone has the opportunity to come visit our amazing town and experience the joy of Mardi Gras for themselves – it’s so good for the soul!
General Manager, Kim Smith and her Mardi Gras flamboyance of flamingeauxs on Mardi Gras day 2017.
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