I remembered the night before on my ride into the city seeing a large wholesale warehouse with a sign reading MARDI GRAS BEADS. Mardi Gras is not just essential to the spirit and reputation of New Orleans, it's a major part of the economy. Tourism pumps millions into pockets through the usual avenues of hotels, restaurants and drinking establishments, as well as specialty services. Rent a reveler for conventions, beads and throw distributors, float makers and overtime for police and public works employees. Everyone benefits from out of town drunks tossing money around for experiences they will never remember.
With a little on line research I found a dozen or so bead distributors through out the state, each with at least a dozen or so employees. One business data site estimated the largest distributors of having 1 to 2.5 million in sales annually from beads and associated products. Some will end up hanging from rear view mirrors as the only memory of a lost weekend in New Orleans, the rest draped over tree limbs until the next storm.
Mardi Gras beads - Mardi gras Imports has a HUGE selection of beads, trinkets, and supplies! We carry every fancy and unusual bead that you could ask for, naughty or nice!