The sights and sounds of Mardi Gras can already be seen and heard around Shreveport-Bossier as the two biggest parade weekends are just around the corner.
Locals and visitors are gearing up to celebrate Mardi Gras with a little help from local shops like Tubbs Hardware and Rentals. Owner of the hardware store, Don Tubbs, told us that Mardi Gras brings them extra business from customers looking to dress up and decorate for the celebration.
Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier draws about 400,000 visitors each year throughout the season. "Past research shows that Mardi Gras generates about $17 million dollars in direct economic impact in our area," explained Brandy Evans, Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. "People are out and about, staying in our hotels. They're getting out and shopping, they're eating, and they're spending money throughout Shreveport-Bossier."
People craving the Mardi Gras flavor will even travel hundreds of miles to be able to take a little piece of Mardi Gras home with them. Thomas Johnson and Tammy Shumach drove through a blizzard to make it down to Shreveport-Bossier from Bismark, North Dakota.
They stocked up on Mardi Gras goodies at Tubbs on Wednesday before they headed back up north to spread the Louisiana culture. With a truck filled with decorations and fresh crawfish, Johnson and Shumach hope to properly introduce the excitement of Mardi Gras to friends and family in North Dakota. "We're going to try to start our own little frenzy up north. Get some of the Yankees to learn the culture," said Johnson.
Shreveport-Bossier holds the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana.