NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As thousands of visitors prepare to leave the Crescent City after Mardi Gras, some hotel managers are pleased with the turnout, even if it seems lower than years past.
Mark Wilson, the general manager of the Bourbon Orleans, said his hotel had fewer rooms booked this year, and he thinks it might be because of the early start to Carnival.
"I do think an early Mardi Gras does have a certain impact on the overall attendance. Occupancy was probably not as high this year as it has been in the past, but the guests that stayed with us did have a great time," Wilson said.
Omar Youssef, who was visiting from New York, decided at the last minute to make the trip to New Orleans and found a hotel with no problem.
"We work for an airline, so we kind of figured, hey there's some space on the plane, let's go to Mardi Gras, let's do it. So we went ahead and did it. We just booked it," Youssef said. "It was a little more than we preferred to pay, but otherwise it was pretty open."
In fact, Wilson said he expects more guests this weekend than the weekend before Mardi Gras, and that trend should continue through the spring.
"We'll roll right out of Mardi Gras into some really good business, and the rest of the month looks really strong. I think this occupancy blip we had may be because of the Super Bowl or may be because of an early Mardi Gras. I think it's behind us for the rest of February," Wilson said.
Wilson is expecting even larger crowds in the month of April thanks to French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, something he knows will bring in more visitors than Mardi Gras did this year.
The Conventions and Visitors Bureau is still compiling data on occupancy rates for the city over the Mardi Gras weekend.