New Orleans' Outlook Rosy As Harvey Exits Ahead Of Holiday

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Harvey's threat is a thing of the past for New Orleans where residents look ahead to celebrating a Labor Day weekend filled with football, music and parade-filled fun.

         Thursday marked the beginning of festivities as the annual street party known as Southern Decadence brought in a flood of tourists to help kick off its celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The fun continued Friday and goes through Monday, Sept. 4.

         Also, New Orleans Saints fans filled the Superdome for the team's final preseason matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

         And, on Saturday, more football is ahead as LSU opens its season against BYU. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Houston's NRG Stadium, but it was moved to the Superdome after Harvey swamped parts of Texas after coming ashore as a hurricane. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m.

         Here's more information on some of the pre-Labor Day fun:



         An estimated 250,000 people were expected to hit New Orleans' French Quarter, where most of the activities are held, including the Bourbon Street Extravaganza, a free outdoor music event headlined by singers Deborah Cox and Jeanie Tracy, one of the original Weather Girls, and a debut performance by Australia's Zoe Badwi, who's known as the "Lady Gaga of Europe."

         The extravaganza, in its 13th year, will begin at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, said Chuck Robinson, one of the event's organizers.

         He said although there's rain in the forecast, that's not going to stop them.

         "We're used to the threat of water and flooding. We're always in a struggle against the water and storms because the event is held at the height of hurricane season. We're scared every year that we'll be cancelled, but we're not afraid," he said.

         Robinson said the gathering has a $250 million financial impact on the city and is considered one of the largest events behind Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and the Essence Festival.



         LSU has sold all 25,000 of its allotted tickets for Saturday's game.

         Stephen Perry, the president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said another block of tickets were on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster, with prices ranging from $40 to $215 per ticket.

         Shannon Jenkins, of New Orleans, said she was thrilled the game was moved to New Orleans because it's giving her a chance to give her children — 13-year-old Dominique and 12-year-old Kevin — and herself a first-time LSU game-day experience.

         "I'm very excited about going," Jenkins said. "It's going to be something different and my son is a big LSU fan. He wants to go there for college. We always hear about how fans travel to such an extent and wanted to capitalize on the opportunity since it's right in our backyard."

         Robinson said he expected some of that crowd to fuel the numbers for Southern Decadence.

         "We know that once the game is over, people will want to hit Bourbon Street," he said.

         – by AP Reporter Chevel Johnson


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