Retailers bring on the beads as partygoers stock up for Mardi Gras

Retailers bring on the beads as partygoers stock up for Mardi Gras

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The state economy is getting a big boost in revenue this week.

Valentine's Day coupled with Carnival season equals big business for some local retailers.

Mardi Gras royalty and revelers are making a last minute dash through wall to wall decorations, stuffed animals, and beads to get their hands on some of the biggest and boldest throws one can imagine.

"We throw as fast as we can the entire parade. So we are going to load up," Gloria Neames said.

Owner of Party Paradise, Debra Fournet, has been selling Mardi Gras for more than two decades. She and her staff sort and mark specialty items to satisfy every taste.

"It's been crazy this week," Fournet said.

A Spanish Town parade on Valentine's Day calls for an even bigger variety.

"Usually people buy purple, green, and gold beads. No one's throwing that on Saturday in Spanish town. They are throwing pink or red," Fournet said.

Some of the beads in the store were designed by her.

"We brought these in and, believe it or not, they came out of the container on Tuesday and on Saturday we were sold out," Fournet said.

The shelves are stocked at Carnival Mart too. But they won't be for long. Some riders are shelling out the big bucks to make sure they leave with a more than adequate amount of throws.

"I'll probably get ten cases today," Neames said.

Neames drove in from Natchez, Mississippi. She said Baton Rouge is the closest place to buy throws.

"You have to have those specialty beads because when you see someone you know well, you want to give them something special. That's right, and the closer it gets to the end of the parade the more you throw," Neames said.

But for some partiers, Mardi Gras, goes beyond the parade lineup.

"I want to get about ten more of the scarves," Monica Randall said.

Monica Randall is scoping out high-end Mardi Gras finds to make gift baskets.

"I've done 15 and will probably do about 12 more," Randall said.

It is clear, Carnival shoppers aren't skimping on supplies this season. The registers are ringing, and the good times are rolling right out of the store.

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