Get ready for some beads, booze and bayous. Tourism officials in Louisiana are extending an invitation to Central Texans for Mardi Gras 2014.
Austin is one of the media markets targeted in a new $250,000 campaign promoting all of Louisiana — not just New Orleans — as a Mardi Gras destination. Among the other markets on the promotional map are Houston; Dallas; Jackson and Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Little Rock, Arkansas. All of those cities are within a reasonable driving distance of Louisiana.
“This is Louisiana’s first Mardi Gras tourism campaign, developed to make sure people understand the different ways they can experience Louisiana’s largest festival throughout the state,” said Ashley Herrick, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism.
To reach Austin travelers, Louisiana’s Mardi Gras ads are appearing through March 2 in the Austin American-Statesman and on such websites as Facebook, TripAdvisor, Frommer’s and Fodor’s.
Mardi Gras falls on March 4. In New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana, several weeks of celebrations lead up to Fat Tuesday. The tourism campaign aims to attract revelers to the Pelican State to all of those festivities.
“The message is when they come to Louisiana, they are going to leave with an experience unlike anything else,” Lt. Gov. Jay Darden told The New Orleans Advocate. “When you leave Louisiana, stories will be your best souvenir.”
The most important message, though, is Laissez les bons temps rouler! If you don’t know what that phrase means, then you probably should be banned from Louisiana, at least around Mardi Gras.