Mardi Gras season is winding down, but its economic impact will be felt long after the last float rolls through town. That's because the annual celebration pours about 17 million dollars directly into Shreveport-Bossier's regional economy.
Angela Gomez Smith and her family are perfect examples about what makes the season so successful. She says they've come from Idaho to visit family for the holiday, and they've spent money eating in restaurants and browsing in shops. She says she chooses Shreveport-Bossier's celebration because it's a family-friendly environment.
"I don't have to worry about the crowds getting too much out of control or problems with alcohol or anything like that. It's just very family friendly," she said.
That's on purpose, says Don Tubbs of Tubbs Hardware and Rentals and Cajun Gifts in Bossier City. "The goal was always to make it different from New Orleans. We wanted a place where the whole family could come and have a good time. Family-friendly is the key," he said. Altogether, Mardi Gras makes up about 70 percent of Tubbs' business during January and February.
The total impact of Mardi Gras is estimated at 32 million dollars, with an additional 15 million dollars in indirect revenue, according to a study by the tourism bureau.