Tourism leaders, businesses take stock of Carnival impact - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Tourism leaders, businesses take stock of Carnival impact

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For tourists roaming around the French Quarter Wednesday, it was a much different experience compared to the previous day.

"Warmer, dryer and a lot quieter," said Nick Faello, who traveled to the city from Punta Gorda, Fla. "I mean, first time to New Orleans. First Mardi Gras, of course, and it's really been fun."

Another Carnival season is now in the books. So, how did the city do?

While final numbers aren't in, it seems businesses may have taken a hit due to the rainy and cold conditions on Fat Tuesday. However, taking a look at the bigger Carnival season, tourism leaders say early indications point to a success.

"I think the weather constricted the normal activity (Tuesday), but the hotels through the weekend and into Mardi Gras were almost sold out," said Mark Romig, President of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. "The fact that this was a little bit later in the year - it wasn't an early February Mardi Gras, it was into March - you were touching on some of the spring break."

Crowds fanned out across the city the past couple of weeks and especially, the last few days.

One of many businesses that looks forward to the busy spring tourism season is Louisiana Music Factory.

"(Tourists are) out and about all over town, and they're hearing bands that they like, and they want to take a sample home," said Owner Barry Smith.

Smith, who moved his record shop from the French Quarter to Frenchmen Street last month, says he's noticed a trend when it comes to Carnival business.

"There seems to be two days when people really come out and start spending money and shopping, and that's Lundi Gras and Ash Wednesday, and so far, we've done pretty well here - even it seems, a little better than the locations where we've been for the past 18 years, at the other end of Decatur," Smith said.

While Carnival is now officially over, on Wednesday, sizable crowds of tourists were still in town strolling down Royal Street and across Jackson Square.

Nick Faello and his wife say they planned it out to experience both the festivities and the quieter side of the city. They're staying through Sunday.

"We're on the other end of the French Quarter, so, we were able to see a little more of the Garden District and the cemeteries (Wednesday) and then we're going to do the riverboat on Friday," Faello said. "It's great. It's really great."

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