The streets of New York and the 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade had a distinct Louisiana feel today with the debut of the “Celebration Gator” float encouraging millions of spectators along the parade route, and millions more on television to celebrate in Louisiana style, promoting the state as a place where you can Feed Your Soul.
Inspired by all facets of Louisiana’s culture and thriving tourist appeal, the 60-foot-long “Celebration Gator” featured a colorful street view of Louisiana: a blend of the New Orleans French Quarter architecture with heavy influences of Spanish colonial rule and Creole fashion. In addition to celebrating the state’s unique fusion of European, Caribbean, African, and Native American cultures, the float was joined by people dressed in lavish baby gator costumes, as well as a team of stilt walkers, all done in an elaborate celebration of Louisiana traditions for millions of spectators in New York City and TV viewers across the nation.
“We are excited about all the attention the Celebration Gator will bring to Louisiana after a challenging 18 months that included not only the pandemic but two major hurricanes making landfall in the state. Hopefully this will send a signal to the almost 75 million people watching to come to Louisiana and check out the fantastic Mardi Gras parades we have every year in all corners of the state,” said Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “We wanted our float to be special and unique just like Louisiana. The experiences you can have in Louisiana are entirely different than in any other state, and that’s what our float shows. We want to show people Louisiana is a state where you can Feed Your Soul, and when you are here, we treat you like family.”
Performing aboard the “Celebration Gator” was none other than renowned musician and entertainer Jon Batiste. Since 2015, Batiste has served as the bandleader and musical director for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Just this week, Batiste was nominated for 11 Grammy awards. Additionally this year, he received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Film Award for his work as co-composer on the Pixar animated film, Soul.