Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS-- With just a few days left before Christmas stores are hoping this weekend will bring in a surge of last-minute shoppers. For some businesses in Downtown and the French Quarter, construction and infrastructure work has not made it easy.

At Southern Candymakers in the French Quarter, the pralines are hot and right now so are their sales.

'We're just to a point now that we're starting to wind down a little bit, but it's been fantastic,' said Peter Thompkins, owner of Southern Candymakers. 'We've been very happy.'

For a while there, though, Thompkins' store on Decatur Street, was at the epicenter of the city's onslaught of infrastructure and road repairs ahead of the Super Bowl.

'It caused some problems with customers trying to get pick-up orders and we have another store in the French Market, which made it a little difficult to get product there and back,' he said.

For Andre Rubenstein, the Canal Street location of his clothing store, Rubenstein's, put them in the crosshairs of the road construction and impacted their bottom line.

'We find business being off a little bit,' Rubenstein said. 'It's been good, but it's not as good as it should be. I think a big part of the problem is the fact that traffic has been just horrendous in the downtown area and it really has deterred people from coming downtown.'

Stores, however, hold out hope for visitors like Ronald Hebert.

'It's kind of like being in Lafayette, it's kind of the same culture,' said Hebert, a UL-Lafayette fan.

Hebert and others from Lafayette, along with East Carolina fans, who are in town for this weekend's New Orleans Bowl.

'We're staying 'til Sunday morning and trying to look for a place to eat right now,' he said.

Those kinds of weekend stays have businesses Downtown looking forward to more bowls in the weeks ahead.

'We're expecting to be very busy,' Thompkins said. 'Sugar Bowl is always great for us, but the Super Bowl-- is just going to be fantastic.'

First, though, they will try to get the most out of the remaining days until Christmas.

'We're going to open Sunday because we think that it's important to do as much business as we can and it's right before Christmas, so we think we can do some business,' said Rubenstein. 'But that's unusual-- we don't open on Sunday.'

Some Downtown and French Quarter business owners said what has been great this holiday season is the number of visitors in town and the business they bring.

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