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Bill Radke: Well this being Fat Tuesday, more than a million people are expected to turn out in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. And there’ll be some extra “bon temps” this year thanks to the Saints Super Bowl win. Some people are calling this “Lombardi Gras.” Reporter David Weinberg says along with the good times, the money is rolling.
David Weinberg: The Avenue Pub is located in New Orleans’ Garden District, a usually sleepy neighborhood compared to the French Quarter. But it’s been so busy recently, owner Polly Watts says she hasn’t slept for days.
Polly Watts: We’ve had tons of tourists just for the Saints games. There are a lot of people I think that have changed their plans and have decided to come down for Mardi Gras because this is going on, because they know this is just the place to be right now.
It’s the same story across much of New Orleans. Hotels are 90 percent full and retail and entertainment spending have jumped.
Mary Beth Romig: When you look at the amount of exposure the city got, the amount of increase various businesses received, it’s gotta be in the millions of millions of dollars of economic impact. I mean it’s just been incredible.
Mary Beth Romig is with the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
Romig: We see this victory by the Saints in the Super Bowl as a game-changer for us.
Since Super Bowl Sunday, public parades and parties have been a daily occurrence. Local Resident Kristian Rotherford says the civic pride is palpable.
Kristian Rotherford: I don’t know, there’s just been this theme of unity, and the theme of unity is destiny or fate smiles on the unified.
New Orleans is still struggling to re-establish its tourism industry since Hurricane Katrina. And there’s hope the Saints’ victory will be the beginning of a long-term boost for the city’s image and its economy.
In New Orleans, I’m David Weinberg for Marketplace.
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