Local Mardi Gras parades bring multi-million dollar economic impact
Mardi Gras in the Shreveport-Bossier area is about much more than catching a few beads and finding the baby in the king cake.
It's about a multi-million dollar boost to the local economy.
"Those people don't just go to the parades. They also go to area businesses and leave some of their money behind."
Chris Jay, with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, says all that reveling means upwards of $32 million funneled back into the local economy.
"You're going to buy gas, you're going to go to restaurants to get some lunch before the parade day. You're gonna get yourself positioned on the parade route and probably gonna go out and have some fun afterwards."
And putting Shreveport-Bossier on the map as a tried and true Mardi Gras destination is the ultimate goal.
"If we can get people to visit for Mardi Gras, we know, our research shows that they'll come back to enjoy the casinos, to enjoy the Boardwalk, to enjoy area restaurants," Jay says.
Restaurants like Julie Anne's bakery on Kings Highway, which ships king cakes all across the country every year.
"We've shipped to 25 states already and we still have a month to go," says Manager Gary Galle.
He says on their busiest days, the bakery can fill as many as 500 to 600 orders for the popular Mardi Gras treat.
"Until you experience [Mardi Gras], you really don't realize what it really is."
All of which makes for a recipe for success.
"We're rising through the ranks of Mardi Gras destinations," says Jay.
Shreveport Public Assembly & Recreation is selling spaces along E. Kings Highway for parade goers to reserve.
Of the 367 available spaces, SPAR says there are still a few left.
The spaces are 10 feet wide, cost $75, and once reserved, can be used the entire day of the parade.
To reserve a space, call SPAR at 673-5100.
New this year, is the Parti-Gras 2013, put on by the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, Downtown Development Authority, Twine on Line, Holiday Inn Downtown and SPAR.
A $40, $45, or $50 ticket gets you a climate-controlled tent, 2 drinks, along with Louisiana cuisine, custom Mardi Gras beads, entertainment, royalty appearances, prizes and an invitation to an after party at Twine on Line.
The event takes place on Saturday, February 9th, from 1pm - 6pm, in Downtown Shreveport, at the start of the Krewe of Gemini parade route at Clyde Fant Parkway and Lake Street.
For more information on Parti-Gras 2013, click here.
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