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A Key Finding from Tulane Economics Professor’s Economic Impact Study Estimates the City of New Orleans Earns $2.64 for Every $1.00 It Invests in Mardi Gras

(New Orleans, Louisiana) This morning at the annual Kings Day Celebration at Mardi Gras World, the official commencement of the Carnival season in New Orleans, Rex Official James Reiss III and Zulu President Elroy James, the Co-Chairs of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council (MMGAC), announced findings from Tulane Economics Professor Toni Weiss’ study of the economic impacts of Mardi Gras in New Orleans that was jointly commissioned and assisted by the MMGAC and New Orleans & Company.

Among the findings in Professor Weiss’ economic impact report:

  • Total direct and indirect impact of Mardi Gras on the New Orleans economy: $891,202,780
  • Percentage of New Orleans Gross Domestic Product: 3.07%
  • Net fiscal benefit accrued to the City of New Orleans as a result of staging Mardi Gras, including franchise value: $28,028,543
  • 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: $14,300,000

This is Professor Weiss’ fourth study of the economic impacts of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras since her first one in 2009.

“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 Tulane Economic Professor Toni Weiss. She continued, “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 James, the Co-Chairs of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council, in a joint statement. Reiss and James continued, “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. Leger continued, “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 and city and state, is a testimony to the unique way we live and seamlessly blend creativity, history, culture, and celebration with business and innovation.”

Copies of Professor Weiss’ economic impact study may be downloaded at

Professor Weiss is available for interviews regarding her study. She may be reached at