If you’ve ever been to New Orleans during the month of February, you know that the city’s Mardi Gras celebration is weeks long and features parades in the streets from morning until night. For Enterprise employees working in or near New Orleans, it’s the time of year when they see the city awaken.
Rich with Area Rental Manager Dominique W.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Group Truck Rental Manager Rich H. was looking for a way to boost morale and celebrate the spirit of New Orleans with the employees in his area – and that’s how the Enterprise New Orleans annual Mardi Gras event began. Now, the extravaganza brings hundreds of employees and their friends and family together to relax, have fun, and celebrate.
We sat down with Rich to find out how the event began and what he does to prepare for it each year.
How did you come up with the idea to host an Enterprise Mardi Gras event?
I started the Mardi Gras event when I was an area manager. The branch where we hold the event is right on the route of Endymion, the largest parade in New Orleans.
The idea for the event came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A lot of folks were working really hard, and most of them were not able to enjoy the city at the time. Many local businesses were closed and after-work events had to be held in Baton Rouge. I brought the idea of a Mardi Gras event to my Group Rental Manager as a way for our employees to be able to get back to enjoying the beautiful things New Orleans has to offer.
What is the event experience like for employees and their guests?
It’s a big party for our employees and their families, so we make it as relaxed as possible for them. We set up food and refreshments in the parking lot, and the parade passes by right out front. Then everyone comes inside to dance and socialize. It’s very laid-back – no speeches or set activity times. Just time to be with your family and peers.
We also make sure to plan something for the employees who work at the airport and can’t make it to the event – we’ll bring them king cakes and red beans and rice so they can celebrate, too.
How has the event evolved over time?
It started as something for employees just in the area, but we eventually extended it to be an event for the whole region. At first, we invited employees and their significant others. But Mardi Gras is a family event, and many of our employees host people from out of town during that time, so we eventually opened our event up to friends and extended family, which made the experience even better. As the event grew, we added more entertainment, such as a DJ, a bounce house, and other activities.
How do you prepare for the event each year?
I start planning about a month in advance, and I have a committee that helps me. I work with the Area Managers at the airport as well as the Group Rental Manager to plan for food, drinks and entertainment, as well as to set up security. We promote the event to employees during other group events leading up to Mardi Gras.
Rich and his committee’s hard work only adds to the excitement leading up to Mardi Gras every year for local employees.
Marshall J., a Management Trainee who transferred from the airport to the branch right on the parade route just in time for the festivities, was especially excited to be able to head straight to the parades each day after work.
Group HR Manager Leslie E. says the city-wide celebration has a positive effect on everyone’s mood. If you ask her how she’s doing, she’ll tell you: “It’s Mardi Gras time. I’m doing fabulous!”