French Quarter chapel says same-sex ruling provides business boost
A wedding chapel in the French Quarter says it has already seen an uptick in same-sex wedding bookings. And they say with a little work, New Orleans could become one of the wedding capitols of the country.
At the French Quarter wedding chapel, bookings are up, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"As soon as it did pass, all our phones lit up," said chapel employee Katie Myers.
The chapel has been performing weddings on Burgundy Street for 18 years, but the court's decision affirming gay marriage has opened a brand new window.
"We are probably seeing a 30 percent increase," said the Rev. Tony Talavera, with the chapel.
But while business has picked up, chapel operators say it could be better.
"We leave about $2 billion on the table every year because we are not paying enough attention to the wedding industry," Talavera said. He said if Louisiana did away with laws requiring waiting periods for marriage licenses, the state could rival Las Vegas for wedding business.
"When they come here to get married, they don't have a budget," Talavera said. "They say we're going to stay at the nicest places, eat at the nicest restaurant, so they spend a lot more money and they bring people here, and they come back."
While he lobbies to make marriage laws even more favorable, he'll be enjoying the boost in the business provided by the nation's high court.
"All across the country, we're still the romance capitol of the world," Talavera said.
Talavera says when it comes to weddings, Las Vegas has the U.S. market cornered because licenses are available 24 hours a day. The website Wedding Report says last year Las Vegas conducted more than 110,000 weddings, nearly four times more than Louisiana.
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