SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It’s been a pretty lengthy Mardi Gras season already compared to years past — but the last two and half weeks really kick things into high gear.
With the first of the major parades set to roll this weekend, extra money will be rolling in to area businesses.
Inside Tubbs Hardware, Mardi Gras makes up about 60 percent of business this time of year. Shoppers are stocking up on beads, hats and everything in between.
The Convention and Tourist Bureau expects big crowds to enjoy the parades over the next two weekends — including more than 400 visitors who will attend their annual Red River Mardi Gras Bash at the Centaur parade.
“The two big parades both attract about 285,000 people each to the parade in all," explained Chris Jay of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourism Bureau. Only about 30 percent of those folks are from out of town. That’s based on data we collected from surveys. So about 70 percent are locals. That’s still an enormous crowd for Shreveport-Bossier.”
According to a 2016 study of the four largest parades in the area, that enormous crowd means an overall economic impact of more than $16 million dollars.
“Shreveport-Bossier is an affordable, doable, achievable Mardi Gras destination for lots of people," Jay said. “They get out and they spent a lot money, They do a lot of eating and playing and we love that," he continued.
The Convention and Tourism Bureau will be conducting an updated survey on the impact of the parades this year.