New Orleans, which continues to recover
slowly from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, celebrated its
second Mardi Gras since the storm hit with a larger turnout than
last year and at least 95% of its hotel rooms filled, officials
police estimated that about 800,000 people attended parades and
festivities over the main Mardi Gras weekend, which culminated on Fat
Tuesday Feb. 20.
While tens of
thousands of residents continued to be displaced, state tourism
officials estimated that the Mardi Gras festivities have pumped
millions of dollars into the city and state economy. Visitors and
returning residents reclaimed some of the past glory of the event
and shunted aside the ongoing problems of recovery -- business
failures, insurance woes and recovery funding -- that continue to
trouble southeast Louisiana.
president of the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association,
told reporters that more than 28,000 of the 30,000 hotel rooms
available were filled during Mardi Gras weekend.
Events for the
annual celebration began in January. While no firm statistics were
available, tourism officials said the pre-Lenten weekend parades
and events drew an estimated 100,000 more people than last years
To contact reporter Dan Luzadder, send e-mail to [email protected].