New Orleans is already preparing for its 2013 Mardi Gras celebrations as artists build the best floats.
You can bet that New Orleans is about to get crowded and Barry Kern and his team are prepared for Mardi Gras.
“One of the biggest free parties in the world fuels a multimillion-dollar industry for the city of New Orleans and the lifeblood of businesses like Kern’s studio, which has been operating for more than 50 years and makes or repurposes some 400 floats a year, or roughly a float a day,” Kern stated.
“The Mardi Gras season, which includes weeks of parades, fancy balls and parties leading up to the big day, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to New Orleans each year,” stated Kelly Schulz, the spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
According to a recent study conducted by Tulane University, the direct economic impact of Mardi Gras is roughly $144 million. However, other studies have estimated it to be over $500 million, stated Arthur Hardy, a Mardi Gras historian.
“There’s no way to know for sure because we don’t sell tickets,” Hardy said. “Mardi Gras started small, in private homes and private balls, and it’s evolved into this festival that some estimate produces more than a half-billion dollars a year.”
“Attendance is also hard to gauge, but every Mardi Gras hotel is full, or close to it,” Schultz said.
“The city will be virtually sold out,” Schulz added. “Mardi Gras and music, especially on the international scene, are our big sells.”