Hundreds of thousands of tourists expected in N.O. for the holiday weekend

Hundreds of thousands of tourists expected in N.O. for the holiday weekend

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Tourism officials are expecting as many as 300,000 visitors to New Orleans for the holiday weekend.

Thursday night, the Saints will take on the Ravens in the Superdome. There's also Southern Decadence and another game at the Dome Saturday night as LSU plays BYU.

"We're already back up to 70% occupancy Friday night. We're at 93% occupancy on Saturday night. Because the kick-off is at 8:30, restaurants are going to be able to have an early dining crowd and a late dining crowd - that's going to be great for those for whom tips really make a difference," said Stephen Perry with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

And, we're told Decadence this year has the largest projected attendance in the history of the LGBT celebration.

"The atmosphere, the people, the food, just the fun, free-spirit and just everything about New Orleans and being on Bourbon Street. And it's free-spirited - no judgment," said tourist Tim Smallwood.

Others are in town to experience New Orleans and a Saints game for the first time.

"It's hot, lovely city, very European, I do enjoy it so, have a couple of beers later," said tourist David Walker. "We're going to the Saints game tonight, actually, so, looking forward to that, first football match so, can't wait. It will be good."

Not only will the holiday weekend bring big business to local hotels and restaurants, Saturday's LSU-BYU game will also send money back to Texas. It was to be played in Houston but was moved to New Orleans because of Harvey's devastating flooding.

"Many people don't know all of the ticket proceeds don't go to the Dome, they go back to Texas - all of the concessions, all of the parking, all of these flow back. We're not doing this for us, we are doing this for Texas," said Perry.

You can watch Thursday's final Saints pre-season game against the Ravens on FOX 8. Our coverage begins at 6:30.

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