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A Louisiana Parlor:…

Oct 4 - 11, 2015
This exhibition is in celebration of the acquisition of a superb Rococo Revival… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Oct 4 - 4, 2015
Join us for Ashe to Amen: the Enduring Spirituality of People of African… more

City Park Pumpkin…

Oct 4 - 25, 2015
Get ready for some nonstop fall fun at New Orleans' City Park! Located at City… more

Collective Media…

Oct 4 - 25, 2015
Join Longue Vue for the first opening of its three-part "Collective… more

Fats Domino & Dave…

Oct 4 - Dec 27, 2015
Join us at the Carver Theater for a Music Tribute honoring Legendary Musicians… more

Gretna Heritage…

Oct 4 - 4, 2015
Join us in celebrating the Gretna Heritage Festival, encompassing 25 city… more

Hell Yes Fest

Oct 4 - 11, 2015
HUKA Entertainment and The New Movement are proud to announce the 4th Annual… more

Longue Vue House and…

Oct 4 - 11, 2015
For the 10th Anniversary of the storm, Longue Vue will commemorate the revival… more

New Orleans Saints…

Oct 4 - 4, 2015
The New Orleans Saints & the Dallas Cowboys kick-off at 7:30 pm. more

New Orleans Swing…

Oct 4 - 5, 2015
Dancers and vintage enthusiasts from all over the world are preparing to visit… more

Newcomb Art Museum of…

Oct 04, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
Join us for the  Exhibition: "A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum,… more

SoFAB presents Cirque…

Oct 4 - 4, 2015
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is happy to announce that the Cirque de… more

Southern Rep presents…

Oct 4 - 10, 2015
Does art imitate life or vice versa? In this effervescent romantic comedy by… more

The Foundation…

Oct 4 - 30, 2015
Join us at the Foundation Gallery for  House: Group Exhibition with Andrew… more

The Photography of…

Oct 04, 2015 - Mar 01, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

The Sweat Social…

Oct 4 - Dec 20, 2015
Designed for wellness travelers visiting New Orleans, the Sweat Social offers… more

Treme Festival

Oct 4 - 4, 2015
On the first weekend of October, the famous Tremé neighborhood will host… more

Trinity Artist Series…

Oct 4 - 4, 2015
"Uncle Wayne" Daigrepont, presents his special brand of entertaining… more

7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 5 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

Preservation Hall…

Oct 5 - 5, 2015
Live New Orleans Jazz Nightly! more

A Louisiana Parlor:…

Oct 4 - 11, 2015
This exhibition is in celebration of the acquisition of a superb Rococo Revival… 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