TODAY   |  March 04, 2014

Hoda: First time I drank on-air was during Mardi Gras

Hoda Kotb and guest co-host Jenna Bush-Hager look at a photo from the first time Hoda reported on Mardi Gras in New Orleans. She recalls having a little drink on-air and thought her news director was going to fire her.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> hey, everybody. it is tuesday, march 4th , also known as fat tuesday. jenna bush hager is in for kathie lee . kathie lee flew back on the red eye after doing a great job in l.a. she'll be back with us tomorrow.

>> one day off, which she deserves.

>> one day is all she's getting. by the way, i love today .

>> is this your favorite? i want to ask you, is this your favorite day of the year?

>> hadwhen i left new orleans , every fat tuesday i missed it so much. we use ed to do live broadcasts all day. that was first time i drank on air in new orleans . they gave you drinks. i remember going, but we're on the air. they're, like, it's mardi gras , everybody does it.

>> that's when new orleans made this.

>> thank you new orleans . we have great pictures of what is happening as we speak right now in new orleans . amanda avery is one of our producers here. oh, my god.

>> those are the biggest necklaces i've ever seen.

>> that's her. it is mardi gras new orleans . she caught a little b roll. these are the lazy boys. they're going down the street in lazy boys.

>> i love this. this is a club i could be part of. celebrating the art of relaxation.

>> for beads, you've got to, you know, apparently amanda knows this because she's from there, but the bigger the beads, the more you have to --

>> that's what i was wondering. what -- and there you are with the large beads.

>> you know what, let me explain something.

>> what is that?

>> that's a guy called the moss man. i can't believe you found that picture. on first mardi gras in norbs,ew orleans , i was doing a live shot . that guy picked me up. i came back to work, i was apologetic. they said, we love it. we keep reracking it. i said, you do?

>> again, new orleans made you. but i was going to ask you what is the craziest thing you've ever done for a bead?

>> no, i don't do that. i am very, very self-conscious about stuff like that.

>> obviously you're not going to yell out anything?

>> i just screamed and begged, yeah. what do you do?

>> i'm not going to lift my shirt. nobody wants to see that.

>> king cake , one of best bakeries in new orleans , terrific. whoever finds the baby gets another -- has to buy the next king cake .

>> you promise it is not whoever finds the baby has a baby, because i just had a baby. i can't have twins. promise me that.

>> you were gone for a long time during the olympics.

>> three weeks and i was desperate.

>> that little cute thing.

>> i feel like when you're gone from a new child, you learn the meaning of longing. i longed for her. i never longed for anything like that before.

>> what was it like when you saw her and she saw you?

>> henry kept her up and held her by the elevator and the elevator opened and she just giggled. and later henry was, like, she loves the elevator. i'm like, geez, thanks a lot, honey.

>> by the way, in case you're wondering --

>> are we not trying to find the baby?

>> all right.

>> it is going to take a long time.

>> dig in there.

>> oh, yes. oh. no, you didn't -- don't eat it.

>> i'm not eating the baby. i'm eating the cake off the baby's head.

>> if you find the baby, you have to buy the next cake. now it is your responsibility.

>> next year.

>> i can't believe you found it right away. good job.

>> thank you very much.

>> it is national pancake day . if you go to i-hop today, free --

>> it is over.

>> that baby -- we don't have to eat this part of the cake, but that baby wanted to ride on the cake.

>> you sucked on it and put it back on the caic.

>> i sucked on the baby's head. i did tell you i was foalie in feeling a little sick.

>> they're trying to raise money for the children's miracle network, great hospital that helps kids.

>> i love it is from 7:00 to 10:00 , who doesn't love a pancake for breakfast.

>> all day long. so brian williams , first of all, our show loves brian williams for many, many reasons. but there is a piece of video floating around out there that i don't know if brian likes or thinks is funny. anyway, he was on with seth meyers and seth decided to show brian the piece of video that shows not everybody is a brian williams fan. take a look.

>> you watching the news without brian williams . uh-oh, there he is. there is brian williams . dude, what's wrong? uh-oh. it's brian williams .

>> you're not appealing to the younger demo. what happened?

>> it is disturbing. as a father of two, first of all, he's being goaded by the dad.

>> right.

>> and unless diane sawyer put a baby in front of the tv and is using a low voice.

>> that would be beneath her.

>> he's a terrible anchor, isn't he?

>> i love that. i have a friend whose son is obsessed with brian williams .

>> how old?

>> 2 years old and he stands and he's like --

>> he does?

>> would you ask your friend to shoot video?

>> yes.

>> we want to -- i want to put it on tomorrow. that's just not fair.

>> kelly, shoot a video.

>> here is a piece of video that every now and then you come across something and it warms you heart, makes you feel so good. there was one of those 10k races and it benefited pat tillman . this is a 95-year-old world war ii veteran, joe bell . a guy came over and shook his hand and then came a girl, and then one by one the runners shook his hand. he came out just to cheer them on. and you saw this wave of people.

>> thank you.

>> thank you.

>> i love this so much.

>> and every person is thanking him. you can watch that video and it goes on and on and on.

>> and every single person stops.

>> and says thanks. it is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

>> i love it so much.

>> anyway, okay, so let's go on. this is our pop the question contest. we have been asking you to send videos. we found our finalists. these are the four best ones .

>> this is stephanie pace and jason kelly. they have been dating two years when jason decided to pop the question.

>> this is what he did. he rigged it so she would be surprised during a homecoming pep rally . she's a high schoolteacher.

>> stephanie led the school in a cheer. she was asked to stay on the court for a very, very special cheer.

>> take a look at this.

>> here it goes. there she is. she's an art communications teacher. and jason is a firefighter in kansas.

>> let's watch this.

>> so sweet. my favorite part --

>> so happy.

>> are you crying?

>> yes, because i'm so happy. i love stuff like that.

>> the best part -- there they are. the best part is when he went like this, like i did it.

>> that was awesome.

>> the whole school watching.

>> anyway, yea. go to our website,