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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- While Mardi Gras in New Orleans takes a one week hiatus during the Super Bowl festivities, Carnival will be in full swing just down the road in Jefferson Parish.

'Come to our Mardi Gras,' said JP Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng. 'Experience our Family Gras.'

That's the message from parish leaders as they announced the Family Gras lineup on Tuesday.

This year's big acts include Soul Asylum, Blues Traveler, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Cowboy Mouth, Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Amanda Shaw.

'The visitor can enjoy free music, savor our southern cuisine, and marvel at our Mardi Gras celebration,' said Sheng, whose district includes the Veterans Boulevard neutral grounds across from Lakeside Shopping Center where the Family Gras extravaganza takes place.

The Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau produced a commercial inviting the Super Bowl masses out to Metairie on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, the Friday and Saturday before the big game.

'We'll be airing commercials in the New Orleans properties,' said JCVB President and CEO Violet Peters. 'We'll also be in the airport, so that when the visitors are coming and they're grabbing their bags, they'll see commercials there.'

The JCVB is now making plans to create a shuttle system from downtown New Orleans to Metairie to take Super Bowl visitors out to the parish to enjoy Family Gras.

'That will make it convenient for people just to hop on and catch an act they want to see, catch the parade and hop back,' said Peters.

JP President John Young said so far there has been no push back from New Orleans which made the decision to suspend Mardi Gras to concentrate on the Super Bowl.

'I think that this is a positive thing,' said Young. 'It's complimentary to the Super Bowl. I think it's going to make the Super Bowl experience even better.'

Family Gras organizers hope the Super Bowl crowd will help push attendance over last year's total of more than 85,000 visitors.

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