New Orleans is the It place to be right now. Even before Super Bowl Sunday, hotels near the French Quarter were reportedly all booked up, and the partying was expected to spill into Mardi Gras celebrations this week, culminating on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 16. But just because you’re not in the heart of “who dat?” nation, don’t despair – there are plenty of ways to bring a taste of Mardi Gras into the workplace.
To incorporate the best of Mardi Gras, just borrow from the traditional Super Bowl bet between mayors. In the event of the Colts prevailing this past Sunday, Ray Nagin of New Orleans promised to hand over to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard CDs of New Orleans-based musicians, beads, King Cake, beignets and coffee. The Colts lost to the Saints, though, so Mayor Ballard is on his own to gather up those tunes and treats. Here’s how Ballard – and anyone else – can create their own Mardi Gras. Hand out beads. Mardi Gras can be a pretty raucous party with beads traditionally thrown from balconies to ladies who lift their tops. Try that in the office, and someone is likely to get sued. But you can still hand out beads to customers, clients and employees. Add a bit of marketing flair by attaching a hang tag or your business card to the necklace. Bake a King Cake. A King Cake is a fun and delicious tradition. Shaped like a wheel, the cake contains a ceramic or porcelain baby. The person who gets the slice with the baby is responsible for holding the next party. In my family, we always shared a King Cake on the Epiphany, Jan. 6. Now the tradition has evolved into weekly King Cake parties, ending on Fat Tuesday. Try this recipe for King Cake from the Food Network. If you’re concerned about choking hazards, substitute a bean or nut for the baby. Play Mardi Gras music. Get your customers and employees in a festive mood by making a mix CD of Mardi Gras music. You’ll want lots of Cajun, Caribbean and brass flavors. Fortunately, the Mardi Gras Digest has made it easy by compiling its top 40 tunes. In addition to playing a CD on Fat Tuesday, hand out your mix to customers inside a customized CD sleeve – it’s a marketing tool that will be enjoyed all year long! Serve beignets and coffee. One of the first places people savor when they think of New Orleans is Café Du Monde, world-famous for its beignets. You can re-create the experience by making your own beignets. Brew up a pot of coffee, play your mix CD, and you have the makings of Mardi Gras from the comfort of your workplace!