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How much money does Mardi Gras bring in for SWLA?

Updated: Jan. 7, 2017 at 7:10 PM CST
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(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Mardi Gras officially began in Lake Charles Friday night with its extravagant Twelfth Night Parade.

While there is plenty of food and festivities to enjoy just how big is it economically to our area?

"Mardi Gras in Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana is big business," said Public Relations manager for the Lake Charles Visitors Bureau, Amanda Reeves. "We bring in thousands of tourists to the area, as well as our local community really comes out for Mardi Gras."

Reeves says that Mardi Gras brings in a lot of money for our area.

"It's an estimated more than 16 million in revenue a year." she said.

And revenue can come from the events and attractions, hotels and restaurants.

Pujo St. Cafe is just one of the many local restaurants that benefit from Mardi Gras.

"This time of the year it does pick up until Ash Wednesday, so it definitely has an impact on our business for sure," said owner Dan Chaad.

Chaad starts prepping for Mardi Gras right after Christmas, and even offers special food items just for the event.

"This time of the year we do offer our Mardi Gras cheesecake which I've done for the past four or five years." he said.

While that revenue does come from our local community, a lot of it also comes from visitors.

"People who've never heard of Lake Charles are seeing these stories about Mardi Gras and it's bringing in new visitors to the area," said Reeves.

For Chaad a lot of his Mardi Gras customers in years past weren't that far away.

"A lot of out of towners especially from Orange and Beaumont, and even east of here," he said. "Lafayette and the smaller surrounding areas too."

As things start kicking off, it's something everyone can agree they are excited for.

"I think 2017 is going to be a good year," said Chaad.

To find out more about events and activities for this year's Mardi Gras click HERE.

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