For many people, Mardi Gras is all about the three B’s: beads, booze and the Big Easy. But this multi-week carnival, which runs from Epiphany through Fat Tuesday every year, isn’t confined to New Orleans or the tawdry pursuits of partygoers.
Mardi Gras actually has a Christian foundation, dating back to 17th century Europe, as a time for festivities before the fasting and sacrifice of Lent. It was first celebrated in the United States in what is now Mobile, Ala. And it has become an economic force, generating more than $1 billion for the New Orleans and Mobile areas each year.
With that in mind, WalletHub analyzed the event from top to bottom to help all the partiers out there understand what they’re toasting to and how even the raunchiest bashes can pack a big-time financial punch. You can check out all of the Mardi Gras facts we found in the infographic below, followed by a Q&A with a panel of experts. Enjoy and be safe out there!
Top 5 Mardi Gras Facts for 2020:
- Over $1 Billion: The economic impact of Mardi Gras on New Orleans.
- $408.6 Million: The economic impact of Mardi Gras on Alabama’s Mobile.
- Over 25 Million Pounds: Weight of beads thrown during Mardi Gras in New Orleans each year.
- 266,000 Pounds: Weight of beads recycled after Mardi Gras in 2019 (2 times more than in 2018).
- 164,000: Number of people who flew to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 2018, the most since 2010.
For a closer look at all Mardi Gras has to offer and how it can get even better in the future, we posed the following questions to a panel of leading experts in the fields of personal finance, government and environmental studies. You can check out their bios and responses below.
- What tips do you have for a person that wishes to enjoy Mardi Gras on a budget?
- How can local authorities in New Orleans and elsewhere promote safety and reduce alcohol related accidents during Mardi Gras?
- How can we reduce the environmental impact of Mardi Gras, particularly with regard to the plastic beads handed out during the celebration?