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Jazz Fest expected to have a $400M plus economic impact

The impact is “huge” according to tourism leaders in New Orleans, but the official numbers are still rolling in.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Jazz Fest is over, but the city is still reaping the benefits as many visitors are choosing to spend a few more days in town. The much-anticipated return of Jazz Fest is giving New Orleans a welcome economic boost.

“We’re doing this tour-- a food tour,” said Terry Zajec from California. She’s spending a few days in New Orleans after coming to town for Jazz Fest. “So that’s a two-hour tour.”

“I would like to spend maybe like another extra day, like go home Wednesday. But you know-- work,” she said.

Jazz Fest attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the area, and many choose to spend their time outside the fairgrounds once the music ends.

“We checked out Frenchman Street a little bit. Saw some bands there. We got to go to Tipitina’s and see Galactic one night. So we’ve had a great time!” said Jack Kalbach from Maryland.

“We’re going for a steamboat cruise!” said Clea Simon from Massachusetts.

“We always stay a couple of extra days just to unwind,” said Stewart Richardson from Maryland. “Because if you try to go to work or do anything after that it’s like your brain is going slow.”

That means more money to restaurants, bars, and shops that have missed out on the Jazz Fest crowds now for several years.

Mary Beth Romig with New Orleans & Company said the return of Jazz Fest is a much-needed boost to the economy and the spirits of the people.

“Generally Jazz Fest has about a $400 million economic impact which is huge and so badly needed,” she said. “So it’s those kinds of little bitty ripple effects that really make a difference when we get to have Jazz Fest in all its glory.”

Just ask Jessica Duggins at the Toulouse Royale gift shop in the French Quarter. She said since Mardi Gras, the store has seen a steady stream of visitors, and that “ripple effect” has been fantastic for business.

“We could not be more thrilled,” said Duggins. “People are in in the morning before they go, getting hats and sunglasses, t-shirts. So it’s been great for the city all the way around.”

But the effects of Jazz Fest go beyond that.

“Those out-of-towners that keep coming back... they’re ambassadors for New Orleans when they go back to wherever they live,” said Romig.

“To just see the streetcars packed and people dining, and going to all the music clubs... Jazz Fest has a life of its own when you think of the gates close at 7 p.m. but the action continues well into the evening.”

And it’ll only get better in time.

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