This may be the favorite time of year for Louisiana's tourism promoters. One of the state's top tourism ambassadors says that Mardi Gras done right makes lifetime customers out of visitors.
Mardi Gras is what we're known for, along with hospitality, says Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who oversees Louisiana's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. And he says that's a powerful combination:
"People come here, they meet people out on the parade route, they leave with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and usually are a friend for life," said Nungesser. "They keep coming back to visit."
Nungesser says something as simple as inviting an out-of-town stranger into your parade party creates a repeat customer.
"We treat strangers like they're family, and that is so evident during Mardi Gras where you invite people back to your home to eat crawfish," said Nungesser.
Nungesser says he hears it from people as he travels around the world to promote Louisiana culture and tourism, about how their Mardi Gras vacation turned them into repeat visitors to Louisiana.