"The month of October is kind of like a gift to Shreveport-Bossier," says Chris Jay, with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. "I spend almost all day everyday trying to get national media exposure for things happening in Shreveport, but in the month of October they come to knocking at my door instead of me trying to sell them."
The first weekend in October offered a half dozen events. Thousands of people came through the Red River Revel and packed screenings at the Louisiana Film Prize. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition continues at Sci-Port while Titanic: The Musical sailed onto the Strand's stage Saturday. More than 600 people packed the Taste of Shreveport-Bossier.
Organizers say these attendees spend more than time at the weekend festivities. One way they calculate the economic impact is by charting hotel occupancy rates.
"Across the board, the seem to be up between 10 and 30 percent, depending on which hotel property you're looking at," says Jay.
The inaugural Louisiana Film Prize only adds to an already busy Revel opening weekend. Contest officials estimate directors spent $550 thousand in Shreveport during the production phase alone.
"We were expecting about 800 people down here," says Gregory Kallenberg with the Louisiana Film Prize. "We got 1,500. People saw the films. People packed downtown. I can't think of a better turnout for our first year."
All of this helps fuel the local economy even after the crowds leave.
"When people come downtown for an event, they're looking at all these great buildings and they're thinking about potential development opportunities as well," says Downtown Development Authority's Liz Swaine. "It gives us an opportunity to show off the buildings and the spaces to people who might not otherwise see them."