Mardi Gras Hotels Full

If you don’t already have a hotel reservation for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you might want to look at a different celebration, or buy a tent.

This is the 10th Mardi Gras since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city and cuts in gas prices and a holiday trifecta are contributing to strong lodging demands. Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 17, the day before is Presidents Day and the Saturday before is Valentine's Day.

Hotel occupancy is usually about 95 percent for Mardi Gras, which draws an estimated 1 million visitors. One booking site on this week showed 184 hotels with no rooms for the weekend. Another 53 hotels had some availability, but some of them were as far as 30 miles from New Orleans, and only a dozen cost less than $300 a night.

For more on Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana, see the February issue of Smart Meetings Magazine.