Empire State Building – Purple Green and Gold for Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras 2009

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Since January I’ve received two dozen inquiries about my campaign to color the Empire State Building in Purple, Green and Gold. I usually pitch the folks who manage lighting the ESB and emphasize that it’s a

nod to the survivors and lives we lost when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. A silent acknowledgment that “we remember” and understand rebuilding is a slow, painful process.

Since we sucessfully pitched the ESB folks in 2006, requests [via forms, faxes, email, and voice mail] for the past two years to repeat the purple-green-gold lighting tribute led to a dead-end. I assume that the group who manages the ESB lighting is overwhelmed with daily requests and probably feels that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast had their acknowledgment in 2006 and Hurricane Katrina is just a memory.

The Meaning of Purple, Green, and Gold
In 1872 Rex chose PG&G as the official colors of Mardi Gras:
Purple = Justice
Green = Faith
Gold = Power

I’d like to see cities, large and small, who don’t normally celebrate Fat Tuesday, take Purple Green and Gold, and in their own creative way decorate structures to send the “We Care!” message. Fat Tuesday is February 24, 2009: Lets use Social Networking (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc) to spread the word. Reach out to the leaders in your home town.


no Mardi Gras for the Empire State Building

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Today is Fat Tuesday, February 20, 2007. I finally heard back at 1pm from the decision makers at Empire State Bldg regarding the lighting request. Unfortunately “Purple, Green and Gold”* will not be beaming over New York City. We received no specifics from ESBC but they communicated this:

“Many factors go into our decisions to light up for the great many events and
causes that reach out to us through out the year. We have decided the we are not
able to accomodate your request. “

A Post-Katrina New Orleans continues to be in the spotlight, and cities around the world* tip their hats to our Gulf Coast as a reminder rebuilding and recovering is ongoing! It is a long road to recovery. Send your request to ESB for Mardi Gras lighting in 2008, perhaps they’ll be swayed.

And to people in the New York area, lets start a second line across 34th street tonight and encourage festive folks to join in. Below are some featured locations who are celebrating Fat Tuesday!

  • The Big Easy 1768 2nd Ave, New York, NY Shake it on top of the bar at this year-round Mardi Gras dive, pouring $6 hurricanes and $4 jungle juice.

    Go to WebsiteGo to Website | Send 2 Phone

  • Union Hall 702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY Not what we’d expect from a library-style Park Slope bar, but we’ll take it: A New Orleans musicians benefit with five bands, Pontani Sisters burlesque, soul food and a live marching band ($12, 6pm).
  • Bourbon Street 407 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY It’s not live Bourbon Street, but this annual bash gets close enough–with drink deals and tons and tons of beads.
  • TG Whitney’s 244 E 53rd St, New York, NY In midtown? Like models? Meet the Corazon girls 7pm-8pm, with zydeco music afterward–not to mention free beads, cheap beer and hurricane specials all night.
  • Fat Tuesday Celebration Feb 20, 2007 The Town Tavern Bound to get rowdy with a most-beads contest at midnight, bartop can can dancers, free jambalaya all night and happy hour specials from 6pm to 10pm.
Laissez Les Bon Temp Rouler!

*traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple (symbolic of justice), green (symbolic of faith) and gold (symbolic of power).

Empire State Building in Mardi Gras Colors for 2007

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UPDATE on The Empire State in Mardi Gras colors…

We’re talking with the Empire State Building (ESB) management to go Purple-Green-Gold again on Fat Tuesday! (working on making it an ANNUAL event too). It made national news last year 🙂

New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast is still rebuilding and we suggest as
another symbolic gesture to light the ESB on February 20, 2007 in

We filled out the forms and have gone back and forth with emails to justify a purple/green/gold theme on Fat Tuesday.

ESB wants to know what promotional material we have, what sort of media outreach we’ve got planned, etc. I’m not sure but it sounds like a large budget is needed. Maybe St. Patrick can spare some resources from his March 17th publicity ESB in green campaign. 😉

ESB Wrote:
“Last year we received media attention for the special lights, mostly due to it
being the first Mardi Gras since Katrina.
Do you have samples of promotional
materials? What media outreach will be undertaken? What connections do you have
with New Orleans?”

If you’ve got a sec, tell the esb you’d like to see purple-green-gold on Fat Tuesday too. 🙂

I’ve got a buddy who is going to shoot some video of the Empire State Building in Mardi Gras Colors, check back on 2/20 to see if we get the green light from ESB lighting mgt (pun intended)