Short Mardi Gras season not stopping the good times from rolling

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The first weekend of Carnival is in the books, and tourism officials are optimistic after the turnout on Twelfth Night.

There has been concern about what effect a shortened Carnival Season would have on tourism.

In case you didn't know - what Easter Day falls on is determined by the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.

This year, that's on April 1st.

Ash Wednesday is 46 days before that - this year on February 14th, meaning Fat Tuesday is on February 13th.

Believe it or not, that's just five weeks from Tuesday.

The carnival season kicked off this past weekend, and Fox 8 Carnival Authority Arthur Hardy said he saw record crowds for Twelfth Night.

The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau said Mardi Gras typically brings more than 90 percent hotel occupancy in the city, as well as hundreds of millions of tourism dollars.

They expect this year to be another good one thanks to the Tricentennial celebration.

"It's looking great, all last year we were promoting the tricentennial year so all the pitching and the outreach that we did last year is really paying off now because were being listed as one of the top 10 places to visit," said Kristian Sonnier, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. " We usually host more than a million people during carnival season and it's about an 840 million dollar shot in the arm for the economy and you know I don't want to make the forecast five weeks out, but all indicators are showing that we are going to have a really strong Mardi Gras."

The shortened season has also shortened this year's Family Gras from three days to just two.

The Sunday they would have scheduled is Super Bowl Sunday, which could also be a busy weekend for the city.