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Trash, Arrest Records The Gauge of A Successful Mardi Gras

March 5, 1987

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A record 4 million pounds of garbage were swept from city streets after Mardi Gras and the two weeks of parades leading up to it, officials said.

″If you measure Mardi Gras success by the garbage, it’s the most successful this city’s ever had,″ Sanitation Director Patrick Koloski said Wednesday.

An estimated 1.3 million people took part in Tuesday’s Mardi Gras, a bawdy, boozy last fling before Lent that is estimated to pump $250 million into the local economy. Lent began Wednesday, and the parades started Feb. 20.

Cold weather held Mardi Gras attendance last year to about 1 million, while in 1985 it was estimated at slightly more than 1 million, officials said.

Police, citing another popular gauge of a successful Mardi Gras, reported 214 arrests on Tuesday, many for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, and 1,887 arrests for the Carnival season, which began Jan. 6.

Total Carnival arrests were down from 2,000 last year, police said. Last year’s Mardi Gras arrest figure was not immediately available.

Mardi Gras was a bonanza for the city’s hotels, which have been struggling with an occupancy rate of about 50 percent during the past two years. All 25,500 hotel rooms were booked through Tuesday, officials said.

An AIDS information center on Bourbon Street measured the success of Mardi Gras by the 5,184 condoms handed out free, while one French Quarter eatery said it dished up 10,000 eggs over the weekend and needed two hours to scour the grill of grease.

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