New Orleans - Mardi Gras 2010 is a turning out to be an important milestone for the City of New Orleans. City Hall has run attendance numbers and thinks this the largest Mardi Gras crowd since Hurricane Katrina. Really, it's one of the largest ever. New Orleans had between 1.2 and 1.5 million people pack into the city for Mardi Gras this year. Last year, about one million people attended. This years attendance statistics are impressive, even by pre-Hurricane Katrina standards. It adds up to a huge catch for the local economy; both in terms of dollars and publicity. This weekends crowds created one of the highest Mardi Gras occupancy rates for area hotels. "A lot of people stayed 5 nights. A lot of hotels were sold out for 5 nights. Normally, it's a 2-3 night stay," says Mavis Early of the Hotel and Lodging Association. The official percentage city-wide was more than 90% full all five days of Mardi Gras. "It touches just about every level of our economy," says Early. Local shops and restaurants got caught up in the carnival crush too, like Hemline clothing store where sales numbers are dramatically up: "In the French Quarter for Mardi Gras, we're up 35% over last Mardi Gras, which is fantastic," says business manager Sarah Spearing. Spearing says foot traffic has been heavy since January. Mardi Gras crowds have been so impressive, Broussard's Restaurant opened its doors for brunch and dinner on Fat Tuesday for the first time in the restaurant's 90 year history. "It was kind of a test for me, but it was a great day, a great day and night," says owner Marc Preuss. Broussard's served about 200 guests, diners who were looking for more than the stereotypical drunken Mardi Gras experience. "I'll do it again next year. People just were happy, they were happy we were open, and it was a great day, it really was," says Preuss. Last years Mardi Gras crowd generated an estimated economic impact of $322 million dollars. This years financial catch should be even larger, given the bigger crowd. There's no way to quantify what type of boost New Orleans' reputation will get from such a successful celebration, but local businesses hope they'll be pleasantly surprised come next Mardi Gras.