Study: Mardi Gras Generates Nearly $900M of Economic Impact

NEW ORLEANS — On Jan. 6, the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council and New Orleans & Company released a new economic impact study from Tulane professor Toni Weiss.

The report found that the total direct and indirect impact of Mardi Gras on the New Orleans economy is $891,202,780, which equals 3.07% of the New Orleans gross domestic product.

Weiss calculates that the net fiscal benefit accrued to the City of New Orleans as a result of staging Mardi Gras, including franchise value, is over $28 million, and that the city’s return on investment is $2.64 for every dollar spent.

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In addition, the Carnival season generates more than $14 million in state tax revenues.

“Thanks to the help of city and business leaders and the participation of krewes and their members, this is the best informed and most accurate study of Mardi Gras I have been involved with to date,” said Weiss, who has released three previous studies, starting in 2009. “While my report found the positive economic impacts of Mardi Gras for New Orleans are substantial and far-reaching, my strong sense is that the actual impacts of this internationally renowned celebration are even greater than can be accurately measured.”

“As the study from professor Weiss proves, the celebration of Carnival in the City of New Orleans alone conservatively drives nearly $900 million of spending by individuals, krewes and others, resulting in a robust, two-and-a-half-to-one return on investment for the City of New Orleans,” said Rex official James Reiss III and Zulu President Elroy James, the co-chairs of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council. This economic activity in turn supports tens of thousands of jobs, our creative and cultural workers and economy, and thousands of small businesses, with those dollars turning over countless times throughout our community.”

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“Carnival in New Orleans is one of the most remarkable and influential events on the planet,” said Walt Leger III, president and CEO of New Orleans & Company. “Only the people of New Orleans could dream of and execute such a technically complex, creative and innovative celebration for our community. The existence of Mardi Gras ensures that the City of New Orleans is known as a city of creativity and celebration. That people come from around the globe to be a part of it, creating such a tremendous economic impact for our people, businesses and city and state, is a testimony to the unique way we live and seamlessly blend creativity, history, culture, and celebration with business and innovation.”

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