Event-filled weekend draws tourists, boosts economy

Event-filled weekend draws tourists, boosts economy

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans has become a year-round tourist destination, but fewer holidays draw a bigger crowd than Halloween. Yet, this year, it's not just Voodoo fest and Bourbon Street drawing visitors to the Crescent City.

From life-sized chickens, to undead dancers and a slew of superheroes...

"It just seems like the place to be," said Marilyn McGivern from Denver. "The best Halloween party in the US."

October 31st has become a huge economic generator for New Orleans.

"It's all festive, everybody's dressed up, everything is decorated, everybody's having a good time. I love it," said Mo Olivo, visiting from Pennsylvania.

Local businesses are already reaping the benefits.

"Friday night we're at 95-percent, tomorrow night we're close to sold out. We're at 98-percent and that was just as of mid-week, so we have a little bit more to sell in but we think will be close to sold out for Saturday night," explained Mark Romig with the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Romig says hotels are seeing even better numbers than last year.

"Not only are the hotels doing well this weekend, but you'll have lots of business with our restaurants and retail will do well, too. We see a lot of people up and down Magazine Street, in the downtown area and also getting out into the Mid City and lakefront parts of the city to experience all that New Orleans has," said Romig.

"This is my first time, actually. It looks like there's so much happening all at once. It's a lot to take in," said San Diego resident Thomas Nesbitt.

That's especially true this weekend, with hundreds of audiophiles flocking to New Orleans for Voodoo Fest.

"Voodoo fest for Canadians, it's going to be Kendrick Lamar, The Killers and the Foo Fighters," said Canadian Mark Czovek. "I have to represent the great White North."

There's also the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the WWII Air, Sea and Land Festival on the Lakefront.

For sports lovers, the Pelicans face off against the Cavaliers, Saturday, and football fans are already in town, pre-gaming for Sunday's matchup between the Saints and the Bears.

"I've been a Bears fan since 1957. I haven't missed a home game since 1970, so I have to come here to see the Bears kick Seattle's butt," said Illinois resident Rich Kearn.

While rain may make a brief appearance, tourism industry officials say it won't be enough to scare away visitors.

"I've seen hundreds of people walking on this when there's bad weather and in the rain. I mean, it's New Orleans. People really love New Orleans. They'll tolerate a little rain and sometimes, they'll enjoy it," said Executive Director of the Hotel and Lodging Association Mavis Early.

Fox 8 spoke to some businesses on Bourbon Street who say they don't expect construction to deter tourists, this weekend.

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