New Orleans The economic impact of the 2007 Carnival season was strong, if not quite up to the levels it reached before Hurricane Katrina, city officials said Monday.
The real financial effects of the two-week party that ended last week on Mardi Gras won't be known until sales tax figures are compiled in mid-March.
However, an enthusiastic Mayor Ray Nagin said he thinks the 2007 bash brought in about 80 percent of the $250 million that economic experts say Carnival generated before Katrina struck in 2005. That means about $200 million was spent this year.
"We had an incredible Mardi Gras season," Nagin said, touting the success of everything from hotel and restaurant business to police protection and sanitation.
The city reported that the number of permits and licenses for vendors during Carnival more than quadrupled from last year, when Mardi Gras arrived just months after Katrina's flood waters receded.
Nagin said restaurants reported business was strong, and hotel occupancy was at 90 percent or better both weekends leading into Fat Tuesday.