LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Thousands of visitors will be flocking to Lafayette soon, ahead of this weekend’s Mardi Gras festivities.
According to the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission, Lafayette Mardi Gras remains the second largest Mardi Gras in the state, which means big bucks for the economy in Lafayette Parish.
“People have access to go in and out for the parade, or they just sit and they drink and stuff like that,” said Kim Peterman.
She’s the manager at Don’s Seafood & Steakhouse in Downtown Lafayette, where she’s worked for 39 years.
“We keep records of everything that we’ve sold, like how many shrimp dinners, seafood platters, gumbos, I mean just everything,” said Peterman.
With the upcoming Mardi Gras weekend in Lafayette, she knows to expect a full house at her restaurant.
“Very busy. We get a lot of locals that come here, because we are on the direct route of Mardi Gras. We get a lot of out of town guests that come too,” said Peterman.
“I expect to sell out Friday and Saturday night this week,” said James Thackston, General Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton on Pinhook.
Most local hotels are already fully booked for this weekend.
Or like the DoubleTree by Hilton on Pinhook, will be sold out of rooms soon.
“Festival (International) is still a very high demand weekend, but typically the weekend before Mardi Gras has kept right along with the Festival, the bookings are about the same,” said Thackston.
“Millions of dollars. People staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, and that’s really what it’s all about for a tourism standpoint,” said Ben Berthelot, President & C.E.O. of the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission.
And with more than hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to come from out of town to Lafayette, it’s critical to the Parish’s economy.
“It’s about jobs, it’s about driving in new revenue from people outside the community and into our community, and so that’s why it’s important to have big events like that,” said Berthelot.
In 2010, UL Lafayette conducted an economic impact study on Mardi Gras in Lafayette Parish.
– That year more than $110 million were spent
– Resulting in over $4 million in direct taxes
– And over $9 million in overall taxes generated for the Parish
Berthelot says those numbers have grown exponentially since then.