NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The NBA All-Star weekend is being called a slam dunk for New Orleans. The mayor points out that New Orleans is the only city in America that could pull off such a big event while at the same time parades are rolling and disaster recovery is underway in New Orleans East.
When the NBA pulled the All-Star game from Charlotte in July, New Orleans had a short time to plan and organize for the event. An estimated 300,000 people flocked to New Orleans this weekend. City leaders estimated a $500 million economic impact. Parades rolled Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The NOPD, State Police and federal authorities worked to keep people safe. They made more than 100 arrests and seized a dozen guns.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said disaster recovery in New Orleans East continued through the weekend. The NBA even organized volunteer groups to help gut homes and clear debris. Tens of thousands of dollars were also donated to help tornado victims. The Mayor said it was a coordinated effort that landed the city a big win this weekend.
"This weekend was about more than just a good time. That's what our business is, sports, entertainment business. When the final count comes in, Mardi Gras and the NBA All Star game is going to have generated millions of dollars to our local economy. Visitors were here from everywhere. Hotels in New Orleans were at a 99 percent occupancy," Landrieu said.
The mayor said it's only half time for the city of New Orleans. He points to the upcoming weekend of the Carnival season that rolls right into Fat Tuesday.