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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Wrestlemania has descended on New Orleans, drawing in thousands of pro wrestling fans and celebrities.

The event is marking its first time in the Crescent City and is also expected to bring in big bucks to the area.

On the purple carpet outside the New Orleans Museum of Art, notable faces in the pro wrestling and entertainment worlds, like The Miz, Big Show and Marlon Wayans, turned out to support a star-studded children's charity event.

'This is one of the biggest events in the country,' said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. 'It's like I said, it's like a Super Bowl or an NBA All-Star Game, so we're thrilled to have them. And it really is great. Economic impact is about $100 million, and it brings a lot of fun to the city. So I'm thrilled about it.'

Shane Lannan just got to town from Canada.

'Favorite wrestler, yeah, but he's not here right now. It's cm punk,' he said.

Louisiana State Police say the event is expected to draw crowds bigger than Mardi Gras and near Super Bowl size.

Organizers say the event will also mean another economic tourism boost.

WWE says Wrestlemania generated about $100 million in economic impact to the New Jersey and New York area last year.

'I'm a huge fan, got my tickets like almost a year ago when they were on sale,' said Howard Harper. 'I had to convince my wife that she was going also.'

Harper manages Goorin Bros. Hat Shop in the French Quarter. He also happens to be a WWE fan.

The store is bracing for a rush of out-of-town customers. Harper said big events mean more foot traffic.

'Anytime there's a big event going on, like the All-Star or like Wrestlemania that's going on right now, we usually get like at least a couple athletes that come in here. Also, during the All-Star game Spike Lee was in here. Couple wrestlers came in yesterday.'

As for these WWE fans, they can't think of a better combination than wrestling and New Orleans.

'It's just a bucket list item that I've got to cross off my list,' Lannan said.

The big Wrestlemania showdown is Sunday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Louisiana State Police and the NOPD say they'll be beefing up security and patrols like other big events.

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