Businesses say New Year's in N.O. could have been stronger
Thousands of people packed into the French Quarter for New Year's Eve Monday. Businesses say the night was profitable, but some think it could've been better.
At Jax Brewery on Decatur Street, New Year's Day brought a steady stream of people. But it's nothing compared to New Year's Eve. Describing the crowds, manager Joe Barber said, "They were actually much, much more than I anticipated. It was wild."
The Hard Rock Cafe saw the same sort of business. In addition to their new restaurant on Bourbon Street, employees have been serving football fans at the Allstate Fan Fest.
Despite high sales, Hard Rock employee Kiley Martin says he thinks the prediction that tourism officials gave -- of a crowd 50,000 to 100,000 deep on New Year's Eve -- was inaccurate.
"I didn't see people bursting from the seams, you know, bars and restaurants bursting at the seams. I don't know, it just didn't seem like there were that many people," Martin said.
Most people packed into the Quarter are in town for the Sugar Bowl. Many are spending their money at bars and restaurants.
Gator fan Lisa Corrao explained, "We went to G.W. Fins for dinner, we've been to Mr. B's Bistro, we've been eating our way through New Orleans."
But shop owners say they're not spending as much on local New Orleans merchandise. In fact, many shop owners say this wasn't the most profitable New Year's for them.
Kerwin Jesusa, an employee at the Mask Factory, commented, "Better last year compared to this year."
Gator and Cardinals fans tell FOX 8 they're spending more money on their respective team's gear than on other New Orleans knick-knacks.
Chris Colomb said, "We're going to get a football hat and a towel, maybe."
The shop owners, though, are holding out hope that game day may bring additional people to the Quarter and boost sales. "Hopefully it's going to have a big sale. I'm not really sure but we're hoping," Jesusa commented.