Thanksgiving, Bayou Classic pack one-two punch for N.O. tourism - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Thanksgiving, Bayou Classic pack one-two punch for N.O. tourism


NEW ORLEANS - The French Quarter was buzzing Thursday with visitors who showed few signs of any turkey hangover.

"First time (in New Orleans). We're actually down here celebrating our anniversary, 32 years married and came to the Big Easy to take it easy," said Raul Garcia from Killeen, Texas.

Thanksgiving and the holiday weekend is another welcome time for the city's tourism industry,  from those who simply come to enjoy all things New Orleans to fans in town celebrating one of the season's biggest events - the Bayou Classic.

Thursday afternoon crowds lined the streets downtown for the Bayou Classic Parade, with fans from across the country seeming to love every minute.

"We came down for the holidays," said Will Anderson from Columbus, Ohio. "We have relatives down here. We came for the Battle of the Bands."

Former New Orleans resident Charlene Andrew was happy to be back home.

"I'm glad to see the city, and I love my city," she said. "It feels good."

According to tourism leaders, the combined events this weekend typically bring in more than 200,000 visitors to the tune of a $50 million economic impact.

"There are certainly a lot of people in town. It's been pretty busy most of the afternoon," said Valerie Brown, Manager of Forever New Orleans, a shop on Royal Street. "Even though it's been really really cold, there's been a lot of people coming in today, and there's been a lot of people walking around enjoying the sights, and I think it's going to be a good holiday. We're all looking forward to the season coming up."

For David Kendall and his wife, who are traveled here from Charlevoix, Mich., it's the perfect getaway - even with the surprising chilly weather.

"We were hoping it was a little bit warmer than this. It's not much warmer than Michigan," he joked. "We were kind of alone for Thanksgiving and thought, well, let's go down to New Orleans and see what's happening."

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