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America, Illustrated:…

Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

Art & Soul NOLA Vinyl

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Ashe Cultural Arts…

Nov 24 - Dec 31, 2015
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Black and White Krewe

Nov 24 - 24, 2015
Play like you work... On a Tuesday. We know you work hard in your fancy black… more

Canal Street Lighting…

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Stroll along Canal Street and watch as the Downtown Development District and… more

Clyde & Iggy

Nov 24 - Dec 31, 2015
Join us for the local musical duo Clyde & Iggy.  Their repertoire… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Nov 24, 2015
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Holiday Camp at NOMA

Nov 24 - 24, 2015
Explore your artistic side this holiday season! NOMA offers single-day Holiday… more

Jasper Johns:…

Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 31, 2016
Prints from the Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen Collection: Jasper… more

Maple Leaf Bar…

Nov 24, 2015 - Sep 27, 2016
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Newcomb Art Museum of…

Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
Join us for the  Exhibition: "A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum,… more

Patriot, Planter,…

Nov 24, 2015 - Mar 20, 2016
NOMA will present the first exhibition to focus on the works of Pierre-Joseph… more

Saenger Theatre…

Nov 24 - 24, 2015
As Joe Bonamassa approaches his 26th year as a professional musician, he… more

The Historic New…

Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Photography of…

Nov 24, 2015 - Mar 01, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

Tim Youd: 100 Novels

Nov 24, 2015 - Feb 21, 2016
Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd will visit NOMA to perform the… more


Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 10, 2016
This exhibition features work by the Japanese artist Bidou Yamaquchi. Trained… more

Visions of US:…

Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 24, 2016
Visions of US explores evolving ideas about American cultural identity from the… more

Blaze Pizza's Wine…

Nov 25, 2015 - Feb 24, 2016
Join as at Blaze Pizza New Orleans for Wine Down Wednesday. Purchase a glass of… more

Lakefront Arena…

Nov 25 - 25, 2015
The Festival of Praise Tour is bigger and better than ever! The tour was an… more

America, Illustrated:…

Nov 24, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

New Mardi Gras Study Shows New Orleans Realizes Continued Strong Economic Impact and Increasing Returns Over Direct Services Costs

Media Contact:

King Logan

New Mardi Gras Study Shows New Orleans Realizes Continued Strong Economic Impact and Increasing Returns Over Direct Services Costs

(New Orleans) - A new study on the economic value of the 2011 Mardi Gras season showed a total contribution to the New Orleans economy of $300.7 million, while providing the City of New Orleans with nearly $8.50 in tax revenues for every $1 the city spent in direct services support like police, fire and sanitation.

In addition, Mardi Gras 2011 represented slightly more than 1.5% of the city's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when combining direct expenditures and a "brand value" estimate to the calculations, commented Tulane economics professor Toni Weiss, who performed the new study on behalf of the Carnival Krewe Civic Foundation.

Weiss stated, "What is most interesting about these numbers are how they compare to the City's expenditures in 2009; a 29% decrease in City outlays from two years ago. This is obviously a benefit for the citizens as it illustrates a greater degree of fiscal responsibility. Additionally, it means that every tax dollar generated as a result of Mardi Gras generates a greater return on the City's investment."

A spokesman for the Carnival Krewes Civic Foundation, John Charbonnet said, "Mardi Gras as the iconic celebration for New Orleans has proven to be consistently resilient for our economy, and our city leadership is to be commended for their efficient and thorough approach to spending city tax dollars in support of the related activities. Mardi Gras continues to be a substantial revenue producer for the city and a significant part of the lifeblood of the community's economy."

Weiss stated that her report was compiled using economic data on Mardi Gras spending in the City of New Orleans exclusively, and is limited to actual expenditures obtained from out of town hotel visitors, local citizens, carnival krewe officials, krewe members and city government. Using this information, she placed the total direct economic impact and brand value of Mardi Gras on the New Orleans economy at approximately $300.7 million.

An earlier study conducted on the 2009 Mardi Gras celebration concluded that the event had a slightly higher impact. The interesting question this year was whether the current economic situation nationally and to a smaller degree locally would affect the ability of Mardi Gras to generate the amount of expenditures and the fiscal impact on both the City and the local economy as it had previously.

Weiss added, "the answer to this is both a yes and a no. Local expenditures on parading, parties, food, alcohol, and related items were stronger in 2011 than in 2009 and this created, obviously, a very positive movement in the economic impact of Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, this positive impact was not enough to offset the influence that the national economy has on tourist expenditures. Hotel room revenue, while achieving enviable occupancy rates, was down 5% from 2009 due to a decrease in average room rates of 7%. While this reduction in lodging expenditures was too great to overcome increases in local spending, the good news is that the overall decline in direct economic impact was minimal. Additionally, once tourist dollars rebound there is every reason to believe that future Mardi Gras seasons will be stronger than ever."

While the decrease in average hotel room rates created a downward pressure on the economic impact of Mardi Gras 2011, Weiss cited three positive factors that helped keep the numbers strong. First, Shrove Tuesday 2011 was March 8th; the latest it has been in over 60 years. The later Mardi Gras is the better for the economy. The king cake season is longer; people have recovered from the Christmas season; Valentine's day, traditionally a very strong day for jewelers and florists in other parts of the country but often overlooked here, is less marginalized; and the excitement and therefore the willingness to spend money has time to build. Second, though related to the first, is that the 12 day season corresponded with students' spring breaks around the country, allowing people to not only come to town but to stay for a longer period of time. Because of this factor, occupancy rates were very high especially in the middle of the week between the two main weekends and on the evening of Fat Tuesday. Third, krewes and individual members of krewes increased their aggregate expenditures on throws, events, parties, gifts and balls.


(All data - 2011 Mardi Gras)

Total direct economic impact of Mardi Gras on the New Orleans economy


Total direct and indirect impact of Mardi Gras on the New Orleans economy


Percentage of New Orleans GDP


Net fiscal benefit accrued to the City of New Orleans as a result of staging Mardi Gras including franchise value


Return on City's investment in Mardi Gras



Note: City information obtained from the Office of Chief Administrative Officer; Smith Travel Services (STR) is source of hotel occupancy data for 2011 Mardi Gras