‘We are ready;’ Mardi Gras success is a sign of things to come in New Orleans

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 4:04 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Tourism leaders are calling Carnival a big success and a signal of more business to come. Officials say business may have been even better than first predicted.

This Ash Wednesday, the streets are relatively clean and traffic is moving once again. Sanitation crews have been busy for days cleaning up after one of the world’s biggest parties and on St. Charles Avenue cleanup continues at the Beaded Oak. Owner Robert Packnett said it was the busiest weekend he’s had since he bought the place.

“The crowds were larger, the people were friendly, it was a great experience,” said Packnett.

Business was so good, in fact, supplies ran short.

Employee Ronald Rouchon is all smiles, as well. In between heavy bar business and cleanup, he had the time of his life riding in Zulu.

“It was great, I never experienced it like that before in my life,” said Rouchon.

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At the Royal Sonesta, dozens were checking out and many said they are eager to come back.

“This was a very important Mardi Gras because it tells the world we are ready,” said Royal Sonesta General Manager Al Gross. He says the first major event since the pandemic went better than expected.

Though hotel business actually fell off a little bit for Monday and Fat Tuesday, overall, tourism officials say hotels did well.

“We went into the weekend saying it looked like 80% occupancy, but it looks like it was closer to 90%,” said Kelly Schulz, with New Orleans & Company. “All indications were this was one of our biggest and best Mardi Gras yet there was a lot of pent-up demand from locals and visitors.”

New Orleans and Company did dozens of interviews with news outlets across the country including the New York Times and the Washington Post. They say the success of Mardi Gras is great advertisement for the city and they anticipate a post-COVID pick-up in hotel business, especially with the upcoming festivals and the NBA Final 4 tournament.

In spite of crime concerns, visitors say they felt safe.

“I saw a large police presence virtually every block there were three to four different officers. I felt safe this year,” said Kenny Mitchell from California.

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