Louisiana returning to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with giant alligator, Trombone Shorty
Louisiana is returning to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with Trombone Shorty entertaining from the Celebration Gator float after generating more than $20 million in earned media tourism marketing from last year's inaugural appearance, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told USA Today Network.
Nungesser, who oversees the state's tourism effort, said Louisiana will also return to the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade Jan. 2 with a riverboat float featuring festival and fair queens from throughout the state.
Nungesser said the state invested $1.3 million for a three-year contract to appear in the Macy's parade.
"The first year people said we'd never get our $1.3 million back and we were concerned, but it's come back more than 10 times our investment in national and international press," he said. "Our website traffic after these events spiked."
The 60-foot-long Celebration Gator float remains stored in New York.
"When people see that 60-foot alligator rolling on the streets of New York City wagging its tail and blowing confetti out of its mouth it makes a statement," Nungesser said. "Nobody puts on a show like we do."
Trombone Shorty, which won his first Grammy this year and recently released his latest album "Lifted," "will put on a show that won't be matched by any other float," Nungesser said.
"It is an amazing opportunity to share with the world our music and 'Feed Your Soul' with our celebratory spirit," Nungesser said. "The musical talents of Trombone Shorty will definitely ensure we provide a terrific show.”
Celebration Gator features a colorful street view of Louisiana with a blend of the New Orleans French Quarter architecture with heavy influences of Spanish colonial rule and Creole fashion. It is the longest float to ever roll in the parade.
In addition to celebrating the state’s fusion of European, Caribbean, African and Native American cultures, the float will include participants dressed in baby gator costumes and a team of stilt walkers.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air nationwide from 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 24 on NBC and stream on Peacock.
Greg Hilburn covers Louisiana politics for the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.