By Jodie Teuton, Chairwoman, American Truck Dealers

What do Mardi Gras, NADA’s centennial celebration and I all have in common? We all have a connection to the city of New Orleans, where the biggest celebrations take place. And whether you had the fortune to experience NADA’s 100th anniversary in 2017 or this year’s Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, those of us in the commercial truck industry should always find reasons to celebrate.

As a Louisiana native, I wanted to take the opportunity to share the rich history of Mardi Gras with you and encourage truck dealers to take time to celebrate your own legacies and traditions. The first Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, thanks to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville, who landed near present-day New Orleans. The explorers held a small celebration and dubbed their landing spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other settlements began marking this “holiday” with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. In 1837, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place and eventually evolved into a weeks-long festival, a rich tradition that continues to this day. My family and I have had the fortune of being on the streets of New Orleans to experience the revelry with locals and visitors from all over the country. It’s amazing how a celebration brings people together.

Although Mardi Gras is over, I hope a similar positivity and upbeat spirit continues to flourish wherever you are in the country. While you may not hold parades, we should celebrate our successes such as meeting our dealership objectives, hitting high sales numbers and furthering our fleet with the safest and most fuel-efficient trucks ever. We should appreciate good moments such as supporting our local communities and making a difference as philanthropists and engaged members of our community. Most of all, we should always note our own histories: where we came from; how we started in the truck industry; and how we can keep our traditions alive so that they are preserved for future generations to come. NADA’s own 100th anniversary in New Orleans was a prime example of how worthwhile it is to celebrate our shared history and everything we’ve worked toward through decades of change and evolution.

As truck dealers we will always have peaks and valleys, so strive to find your own Mardi Gras and celebrate the good times when they come around.

Teuton is vice president of Kenworth of Louisiana, a full-service dealership with locations in Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport; full-service Hino dealerships in Baton Rouge and Monroe; and Southland Truck Leasing at all dealership locations. ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships.

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National Automobile Dealers Association