LAFAYETTE PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Carnival Season has officially begun, and with all the festivities that come along with this time of year, it also means big bucks for businesses across Acadiana, and right here in Lafayette Parish.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our area, and it’s a great opportunity for us to get people here for the first time,” said Ben Berthelot, President & C.E.O. of Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission.
He says that more than 270,000 people usually flock to Lafayette Parish during the Carnival Season.
“People staying at hotels, people going out to eat at restaurants, people spending money on the costumes and krewes, and all those things,” said Berthelot.
According to a study done in 2011 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the total amount spent to celebrate Mardi Gras in the parish was over $110 million.
The season brings in over $4 million in direct taxes, and over $9 million in overall taxes generated for the parish.
Joey Domingue and his wife own Beads Galore in Scott. He says that while business has been steady lately, soon his store will become a lot busier.
“Right after Christmas it starts up. Everybody coming in deciding what they’re going to throw and what they’re going to use at the balls. We get buses coming in with tourists, and they’ll come from Canada, and they’ll just go nuts over here,” said Domingue.
Locals like ‘Dot’ Derouen, who rides in the Krewe of Atlantis, was shopping for throws for the krewe’s Mardi Gras ball.
“You have to come to the parade in Scott, because it’s family oriented and we always have a very good time,” said Derouen.
With the current state of the economy in the parish, the season couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The visitors that we’re bringing to our area is new money. It’s not locals spending the money,” said Berthelot. “It’s new money coming into the area, coming from other parts of the country and other parts of the world.”
For a full list of parades and festivities throughout Acadiana, visit here.