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Business leaders hope Mardi Gras boosts economy long-term

By Eileen Fleming

New Orleans, La. – The secretary of the state economic development agency, Stephen Moret, said New Orleans has gotten the longest sustained international news coverage since Hurricane Katrina. He said that's in large part due to the Saints Super Bowl win, with media reporting the team story as linked to the city's recovery. And the landslide victory of Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu as the mayor-elect is getting national political coverage as symbolic of a city uniting. Numbers aren't in yet on how much money the city's pulled in this Mardi Gras, which featured the Saints victory parade that drew record crowds. But tourism officials say New Orleans still faces economic struggles from the national recession. While the city hosted more meetings last year than the prior three years after Hurricane Katrina, attendance dropped as much as 25 percent with companies sending fewer representatives.

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