January 10, 2024 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Echoes Significant Findings of 2023 Mardi Gras Economic Impact Study

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans today echoed the significant findings of the 2023 Mardi Gras Economic Impact Study that was conducted by Tulane Economics Professor Toni Weiss.

This study was jointly commissioned by the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council (MMGAC) and New Orleans & Company, and the results were presented at the King’s Day Celebration at Mardi Gras World to officially commence the 2024 Carnival season.  

“Mardi Gras means so much to our city, to both long-time residents and first-time visitors coming together to experience the greatest free show on Earth,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “To the culture-bearers, artists, Mardi Gras krewes, both big and small, our unified public safety command and our hospitality and tourism industry, thank you for preserving our unique traditions and making this spectacular season happen year after year. We embrace Mardi Gras as a time of celebration with family and friends, and now, thanks to Professor Weiss, we have even more concrete proof of its incredible economic impact as well. I look forward to another successful and beneficial Carnival season as New Orleans shines on the global stage, attracting millions of tourists.” 

This is the fourth study on the economic impacts of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras published by Professor Weiss and Tulane University since the initial one completed in 2009. The 2023 economic impact report includes the following findings: 

  • Total direct and indirect impact of Mardi Gras on the New Orleans economy: $891 million 
  • Percentage of New Orleans Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 3.07 percent
  • Net fiscal benefit accrued to the City of New Orleans as a result of staging Mardi Gras, including franchise value: $28 million 
  • Return on the City of New Orleans’ investment in Mardi Gras: $2.64 for every $1.00 spent 
  • Increase in State of Louisiana tax revenues as a result of Mardi Gras within the City of New Orleans: $14 million 

“Thanks to the help of Carnival, City and business leaders throughout New Orleans, and the participation by krewes and their members, this is the best informed and most accurate study of Mardi Gras I have been involved with to date,” said Professor Toni Weiss. “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.” 

“On behalf of everyone who enjoys Carnival, we are grateful our elected leaders so strongly support our city’s cherished Carnival traditions,” said Rex Official James Reiss III and Zulu President Elroy JamesMMGAC Co-Chairs. “We are also grateful to the many City of New Orleans officials and employees who work to make Carnival safe, enjoyable and clean for our entire community. As Professor Weiss’ study 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. 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.” 

“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, city and state is a testimony to the unique way we live and seamlessly blend creativity, history, culture and celebration with business and innovation.” 

A copy of Professor Weiss’ economic impact study may be downloaded here.  


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