Dense Mardi Gras crowds give Shreveport economy a boost

A hundred thousand people visit Krewe of Centaur parade

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - More than 100,000 people were expected to converge on Shreveport for the Krewe of Centaur parade Saturday.

A similar turnout is expected for the Krewe of Gemini parade Feb. 10.

The area economy gets a nice pick-me-up when such dense crowds pack the city.

"Mardi Gras brings in about $16 million in direct economic impact over the course of Mardi Gras," said Brandy Evans, a spokeswoman for the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau.

Each year, she added, the city makes an effort to bring in more visitors to experience the festivities.

Now the Red River Bash is drawing hundreds from all over, Evans said.

"We've had visitors from Georgia, from Texas, from Alabama. And they come because we offer a family-friendly Mardi Gras.

"We started it because our groups were intimidated by Mardi Gras. ... So we created a party that they could come to."

Greg Windsor said he has made the trip from his home north of Dallas to Shreveport's Mardi Gras for the past 12 years.

"We shop, we go to the casinos, we have some parties," he said.

"It's such a great time, and the people here are so much ... . We just like the parade and the people."

Preparations for next year's Mardi Gras party begin right as this year's festivities wind down, Evans said.

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