Mardi Gras Means Big Business For Coast Merchants

Some Hancock County businesses are reaping the benefits of Mardi Gras. Managers at stores and motels in Bay St. Louis say they have seen their business pick up since Mardi Gras season started.

Elise McCollister manages a souvenir shop in the area, and she says business has gone up 20 percent from the tourists in town for the Mardi Gras celebration.

"They like to pick up souvenirs and since Mardi Gras is so popular around this area, they get souvenirs for to take home to friends and family," McCollister says.

Several motels along Highway 90 also reaped the financial rewards of the season.  Motels were full this weekend as the Krewe of Nereids parade rolled through Waveland.

"We've started getting a lot of inquiries, and we have made a number of reservations for two or three days," hotel manager Hayath Ahmed said.  "Hopefully next week will also come out to be very busy and it will be a very successful week."

Ahmed says that many of his customers come from an overflow of people who couldn't get rooms in New Orleans.