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Happy Mardi Gras!

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Today’s guest author is Ellen Terrell, Business Reference Specialist

Crowd of Mardi Gras revelers packed on Canal street with buildings in the background
Mardi Gras scenery, New Orleans, La. c1910.

Today is Fat Tuesday the culmination of the Mardi Gras season. This is a HUGE event for the city of New Orleans, my hometown.

There are many ways to gauge success from a economic standpoint – revenues, hotel room occupancy, tax collection, money spent by the krewes, etc. Hard numbers are difficult to come by because of how and what data is reported. It is also hard to measure the actual number of people who attend Mardi Gras because there is no one entrance. Hotel occupancy for the two weeks prior to Fat Tuesday is high but doesn’t tell how many people occupy a room (of course anyone who is familiar with going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras will tell you, it is almost impossible to find a hotel room and many locals have visitors sleeping in their extra rooms, on their sofas, and sometimes on their floors).

Mardi Gras Parade float with a masked rider taken from above
Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans, Louisiana, a few months after Hurricane Katrina. Carol M. Highsmith, 2006.

A look at the amounts spent in restaurants, in retail establishments, and for transportation reveals that there are qualifications for that data as well. To give an idea of the total direct economic impact, a study was done on the 2009 Mardi Gras season that gave the figure of $322.2 million. That was likely understated!

For me, one of the funniest, if unusual “statistics” that is no longer commented on, was the estimated tonnage of trash that was collected (yes it is gross but more people = more trash = more money spent).

Comments (6)

  1. I would imagine as New Orleans continues to rebuild, those numbers will grow.

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