SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) -Mardi Gras season is back, and while it’s always a fun time for the family, it’s also great for the Shreveport-Bossier economy.
The Shreveport Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau shared that Mardi Gras in our area has a $22 million economic impact on our community.
Thousands of people head to our area to experience everything we have to offer including the parades.
“Our major parades are the Centaur and Gemini, but on those parades, we have over 100,000 attendees,” said Public Relations Manager Shalisa Roland. “A lot of them come in from east Texas.”
Roland says they spend time trying to target a lot of people from the Texas area and they even have plans to visit the Dallas area at the end of the month with a pop-up event.
“We’ll bring a chef, we’ll bring king cakes, we’ll bring a local band... we’re basically packing up Shreveport-Bossier and placing it in Dallas," she said. “I feel like sometimes it’s not enough to say ‘come to Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier,' sometimes we got to bring the party to them.”
This year they are also offering something new...the opportunity to ride on a float next month.
“A lot of people don’t even realize that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Roland said. “Many of us have spent countless Mardi Gras seasons and have never stepped foot on a float.”
Small businesses like the Lowder Baking Company have really benefited from Mardi Gras season. Sarah Lowder owns this business with her husband and says selling king cakes have helped them grow after being opened for just one year.
“Our Lowder King Cakes are really what we’re known for and how we started,” she said. We’ve already shipped to over 30 states with our king cakes and so it’s not just a local economic impact but we’re getting a lot of customers from all over the U.S."
They sell over 100 king cakes a day during Mardi Gras season, and those sales helped them physically grow their location and hire more people this year. They’ve also gained exposure from all across the state.
“Louisiana cooking magazine put as number one on their list of Louisiana’s best king cakes which is huge 'cause that’s a New Orleans based magazine and for north Louisiana to be able to have that exposure, that’s just been not only great for us but also I feel like great for our area.”
Lowder says they plan to continue selling their king cakes until Mardi Gras season is over and then focus on offering other pastry items and also commercializing their fresh baked bread by partnering up with local restaurants.
The Krewe of Sobek will kick off the first parade of the season from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 in Shreveport’s Queensborough neighborhood.
You can view the rest of the parades schedule this season HERE.