Westbank community and businesses feel impact as more parades leave

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 23, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

ALGIERS - This Carnival season there are fewer parades rolling on the west bank.

The first one rolled Saturday, and that leaves only two more before Mardi Gras comes to an end this year. You may think that seeing fewer parades on the west bank would cause some hard feelings there, but some local businesses say it is actually helping business.

During Carnival season Jeff's Haberdashery is busy dressing parade revelers for those lavish balls and parties, but Jeff's Vice President Julien Chouest says parade time is another story.

"During Cleopatra, when it used to roll here, and Alla, on Friday and Saturday we had to close, so that was two days of business on a Friday and Saturday that we can't have," said Chouest.

Several businesses along the parade route say during the parades traffic and congestion make it difficult for customers to get to them.

In contrast, food and drink industries thrive off the added business. But now the local economy is feeling the pain as more krewes take their parades Uptown.

"Because we are not bringing as many people over for the attraction of the parade you obviously see less impact, the businesses aren't getting the benefit they got before hanging out, eating, waiting for parades," said D'Juan Hernandez, the President of the Algiers Economic Development Foundation.

Surprisingly though, many businesses say, while the extra Carnival season business is good, they are doing just fine without it.

Hernandez says that is because the community is seeing a lot of economic growth right now.

"We hope that as we see those kinds of things come to bear that krewes start taking a look at how there is an economic resurgence on the West bank and, who knows, maybe that is a carrot that can help lure them back," said Hernandez.

Hernandez says it is not only affecting local businesses that are still trying to grow and attract new customers to the West bank, but it is also affecting the community that participated and enjoyed these parades.

"It's sad because it really is so much harder to get over on the other side," said Westbank resident Jamie Cook.

"Ya know, it brings family together and we have a good time, every time," agreed Algiers resident Roosevelt Goins.

In addition to Adonis, two more parades will roll on the West bank this year.

Nomtoc will parade next Saturday with a circus theme and on Mardi Gras morning, the Krewe of Grela is back after a one-year hiatus. Grela and Nomtoc have both been around since 1951.

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