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Mardi Gras by the Numbers…

What's behind the revelry?

Via Rene Trevino

Tuesdays are generally pretty dull days of the week – the weekend is still far off, and any momentum from Monday is usually starting to wane. Of course, most Tuesdays aren’t known for ultra-rich Polish pastries, dazzling costumes and wild parties, which is why today is different… it’s Mardi Gras!

The last day of annual Carnival celebrations, Mardi Gras is celebrated in various cities around the globe with a Roman Catholic heritage like Rio de Janeiro, Port of Spain, Mazatlan and of course, New Orleans, and consists of the festivals and events that begin on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany. If you’re lucky enough to reside in any of the regions listed above, I recommend you stop browsing financial sites on the internet right now and enjoy the wild festivities right in your own backyard. If not, here are a few fast facts and stats to help get you through another Tuesday… hopefully while snacking on a paczki, at the least:

  • Mardi Gras is an official holiday in certain counties of three US states: Alabama, Louisiana and Florida.
  • You might know that the official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold and green, but do you know why? Purple represents justice, gold represents power and green represents faith. Still no word on a color to represent “hangover”.
  • Mardi Gras has been celebrated in the US since 1830… that’s nearly 200 years of bayou-based debauchery.
  • 142,000 tourists flew to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 2016. A big number, but still a fraction of the total revelers. That’s because…
  • About 1.4 million people make their way to New Orleans each year. That number dipped to 700,000 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but quickly rebounded. Turns out, a devastating flood is no match for the fun of overeating and incognito partying. Good to know!
  • The average Mardi Gras float-rider in New Orleans spends about $500 on masks, beads and other Mardi Gras accessories. Sounds like a lot? It’s nothing compared to…
  • The cost of the most elaborate Mardi Gras float: $250,000. Yes, that’s more than most have saved for retirement… but retirement is rarely as much fun. Anyway, it’s still not a bad investment, since…
  • Mardi Gras brings about $465 million into the New Orleans economy, for a return of $4.48 for every dollar spent. In fact…
  • In total, Mardi Gras makes up 2.2% of New Orleans total annual GDP. Who says economics can’t be fun?
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