Web Exclusive: Mardi Gras and Super Bowl crowding New Orleans Hotels

(CBS/WWL) - The big push towards Fat Tuesday starts this weekend as carnival parades begin rolling across the New Orleans metro area.  But with Super Bowl 47 less than a week away, finding an available hotel room in the city is about to become a lot harder and it may not get easier until after Mardi Gras.

The sights and sounds of Carnival are on full display this weekend-- and are an added bonus for Stacey and Joel Roudebush, who are visiting from Atlanta.

"We're just here to see some music and parades and have a good time in New Orleans," says Stacey Roudebush, a New Orleans tourist.

The couple are among the hundreds of thousands expected to make their way to the city between now and Fat Tuesday. With the Super Bowl falling in the middle of Carnival season, area hotels are getting more than one chance to cash in during this time.

"It'll steadily build up. This weekend will have a good occupancy level," says Mark Romig, Super Bowl Host Committee. "But then, as we get into the week, we'll get into a technically sold out situation here." A situation brought on by having two major events in the city. The Super Bowl is creating a sold out situation, especially on the days that hotels require a four-night minimum. Beyond that, though, there are expectations that some will come in for the week before the game or stay for a bit afterwards.

"My sense is that people will take advantage of this wonderful celebration," says Mark Romig. "So, you'll have crossover on a regular basis over the next couple of weeks." Several weeks will be ones that are full of celebration.

"It's nice to see a lot of people coming from all over, whether it be locals, or out of town," says Maghan Lala, a parade spectator. "It's wonderful to see such a great amount of people coming together, just for so many different reasons." Reasons that bring together the ultimate football game and parades in New Orleans, the way no other city could.


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