- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - From a decline in arrests to a rise in airport passengers, Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday hailed the Carnival season in New Orleans as a success.

The city released numbers on arrests, the cleanup and the number of visitors for the season, which ended on Ash Wednesday. The figures show that arrests were down this year from last in the most-trafficked areas. The city attributed the decline to a strong police presence.

The city also said that city streets were cleaned within two hours of the end of parades and that the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport saw a seven-year high in the number of passengers traveling through the airport.

But crowds might have been a bit smaller this year, based on hotel occupancy data.

Rates for hotel occupancy showed a dip this year compared with last year, according to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. The tourism agency released numbers Thursday after surveying hotels.

The bureau found that hotel occupancy was down over the six days between Friday and Ash Wednesday, with a 9 percent drop on Mardi Gras and 4 percent dip on Lundi Gras, the day before Fat Tuesday.

Kristian Sonnier, a bureau spokesman, said possible reasons for the drop were that final weekend of Carnival fell on Super Bowl weekend and that Mardi Gras came early and did not coincide with spring break college crowds. Another reason, he said, may be the slowdown in the oil and natural gas industry because of low oil prices.

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