City expected to spend more than a million dollars on police protection for Mardi Gras parades this year

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 4:23 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - For some Mardi Gras is about the thrill of catching a throw, but for others the party matters more.

Either way it brings a lot of visitors to the Port City every year.

For Pat’s Downtown owner Mike Piercy he is loving the business right now.

“There have been some of the days that the sales have doubled the biggest years that I’ve had and some of the days have barely beat it, but overall I would say I’m probably up almost 20%,” he said.

Restaurants, bars and other businesses have been craving this year’s Boom Boom. Without it last year, many missed out on what is normally their busiest time of year.

“It helps the employees, myself and just the feel of downtown just to have people out and about,” Piercy said.

To make sure Mardi Gras parades go off without a hitch, it requires hundreds of Mobile Police officers. This year the city expects it will cost a little over a million bucks to protect the parades. That is up about $50,000 from 2020.

“When you expect thousands of people to converge in one geographical area in one time at one time you want to make sure you have the man power to address any emerging problems,” said Mobile Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste.

While the million-dollar price tag for police protection might seem high, Visit Mobile President and CEO David Clark says the impact of Mardi Gras is enormous and outweighs the costs associated with it.

“The impacts are monumental and again they’re just so spread out from the community, the cultural, the economic, and the promotional impacts,” he said.

Back at Pat’s, Piercy agrees the cost of Mardi Gras is worth it in every way.

“It’s definitely a positive and if nothing else it’s great PR for the city and we get to benefit from that also,” he said.

So far, roughly 375,000 people have attended parades this year which is down about 50,000 from 2020, but there are still parades in Mobile scheduled every day through Fat Tuesday.