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South by Southwest

Organizers: 2018 Essence Festival has $280M economic impact

This year's Essence Festival had a record-breaking $280 million economic impact on New Orleans and the state, organizers said Wednesday.

Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks said growth in festival attendance, which reached more than 510,000 this year over a 4-day period, sparked the increase making it the highest fiscal input in the event's 24-year history. Previously, organizers have said the festival's impact on the city's economy was about $200 million.

Ellen Lee, director of Community and Economic Development for New Orleans, said the economic impact rivals those of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival held in the spring and Southern Decadence, which is...