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Friday, February 17, 2006

Return to New Orleans

The first Mardis Gras after hurricane Katrina is upon us and people are starting to trickle in to the town on the limited amount of airline seats available. Normally Mardis Gras brings in about US$1 Billion to the local economy and there's absolutely no expectation that it will hit that mark this year. Though residents and visitors alike are looking forward to something to take their minds off things, no one really knows what to expect.

The restaurants that have actually opened (only about a third of them) are understaffed, hotels still have a lot of refugees and recovery workers occupying them (14,000 of the available 26,000 rooms), and this year's Mardis Gras is being shortened from its normal 12 days to 8. For the first time in its history, they're looking for corporate sponsorship to underwrite the cost of the celebration.

So even if you can't make it, a tip o' the drink to Mardis Gras and it's recovery for New Orleans. Here's hoping it takes off.