Businesses Hoping for a Return to Normal at Mardi Gras

A pile of discarded beads and other trash lie in the gutter along Bourbon Street as revelers continue to celebrate Mardi Gras in the hurricane devastated city of New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Businesses in New Orleans are hoping for more people and a return to normal as Mardi Gras prepares to kick off again.

Last year, the parade schedule had to be cut back to eight days, and many hotels were still filled with relief workers and storm refugees.

But this year, more restaurants are open and tourism officials say hotels are hoping to reach 90 percent capacity for the 30-thousand hotels rooms that figure to be available in the area.

However, the Louisiana Restaurant Association says many restaurants are still plagued by labor shortages.

More than three dozen parades are set to roll off between Friday night and Fat Tuesday, which is February 20th.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)