Mardi Gras Madness: Marketing for French Quarter Businesses

Mardi Gras season in New Orleans is a time of excitement, debauchery, and fun. Everywhere you turn there are people laughing, living and celebrating everything that is New Orleans. But besides the revelers, how can French Quarter businesses maximize their revenue for the Carnival season?

Obviously, the restaurants and bars in the French Quarter receive the largest amount of people on Fat Tuesday, but how can other businesses cash in on the festivities? They can do so by remembering that Mardi Gras is not just one day, it is an entire season. A season that has at least a month’s worth of build up and that is the time that businesses should be adapting their marketing strategies for the locals and the influx of visitors to the city.

It Beats Getting Thrown in Jail

This suggestion may seem troubling, but hear me out. If you are a restaurant, try letting people use your restroom without having to purchase something. This is a controversial technique because people are extremely intoxicated and sloppy, but people appreciate having a sanitary place to relieve themselves without judgment. Even more, on their way to the restroom they can see people eating, drinking and enjoying themselves and they may decide to stay and have a bite. Since you’ve already begun a friendly relationship with these new customers, they decide to stay, enjoy your establishment and hopefully give it a great review. In the business world, that is called a “win-win.”

Help the People Keep Their Clothes On

If you are a clothing store, try to include merchandise that can be translated into a Mardi Gras ensemble. This does not necessarily mean you need all of your products to be yellow, green and purple, but try having NOLA inspired products, 50% off Saints merchandise, costume items, sparkles and sequin, or humorous shirts. People have a variety of costumes and outfits on Mardi Gras day and the parades leading up to it, so just because you don’t have the usual fare doesn’t mean that you can offer something to the public.


Lagniappe is an old New Orleans tradition that you just never see anymore. And that’s terrible especially for exciting holidays like Mardi Gras. For those that don’t know, lagniappe means “a little something extra” in French. It is just a little something that a business or restaurant gives to their customers for free. People appreciate the businesses that implement this tradition because it brings them back to classic New Orleans, a time where your waiter knew you and your mother’s name. Instead of giving something like bread or crackers (which isn’t a bad idea considering the amount of drinking going on) try giving away like pieces of king cake or an oyster. Something that won’t bust your bank but shows your customers that you care about them. And for visitors to the city, this idea goes over really well.

Spread the Word

By posting information about your discounts, specials, coupons, happy hour prices, and Mardi Gras day plans on social media and New Orleans hotel sites you can get the word out about your business before Fat Tuesday. Feel free to offer things like coupons so that people will want to come to your business over another. If you have a band playing at your establishment, advertise that. There is so much variety on Mardi Gras day concerning what to do and where to go, if you have a fun schedule planned, people may want to jump on your float instead of your competition’s.

If you need help marketing your business for Mardi Gras, get help from a local business: Online Optimism. Our internet marketing specialists are just a phone call away, at 504-521-6222.