Tourism leaders expect 95% occupancy for carnival weekend

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 9:07 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - City tourism leaders expect 95% hotel occupancy this weekend, not counting hundreds of people in town staying in Airbnb’s or with friends. Hotel concierges have been working double time handling check-ins, and the final push is on.

Hundreds of carnival revelers arrived at New Orleans international airport ready for a good time.

“I’ve been here plenty of times but I’ve never experienced Mardi Gras. I’m ready for everything,” said Detra Leary from Virginia.

Among Thursday’s arrivals were members of the ‘Dancing Grannies’ from Waukesha, Wisconsin, who lost four members over a year ago after a wayward driver careened through their group.


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The 610 stompers invited the Granny’s to March with them Sunday in Thoth, and the girls are ready.

“My God, we’re on top of the world we truly are on top of the world,” said Jean Knutson.

The grannies are only a part of a sea of people now arriving at the airport, and New Orleans hotels, are expected to be 95% complete this weekend and strong business through Fat Tuesday.

“This is a good year, with Lundi Gras falling on President’s day...and we are encouraging people to make it a three-day weekend and come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras,” said Kelly Schulz with New Orleans & Company.

Years ago, tourists could only come and watch as New Orleans put on parades for their enjoyment, but now they can join the parade and witness the revelry from afloat.

“I rode on one of the floats in druids. Did you have a good time? Yeah,” said George Jenkinson from New Jersey, and though festive ride has ended, for others just arriving the party has just begun.

“Never been here, so I’m open to everything Mardi Gras has to bring, so bring it on,” said Nicole Galbreath from Texas.

Many people we spoke with said they were in town for a convention and were extending their stay through the Carnival season. Tourism officials say it’s not unusual for some groups to coordinate their corporate meetings here to coincide with the carnival calendar.


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