Where partying is big business

From masks to king cakes to beads, fueling Mardi Gras' revelry is a multi-million dollar business for these New Orleans companies.

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Earth-friendly parade throws
Earth-friendly parade throws
Gina Giacona Lynch and Corrado Giacona II

Always more keepsakes than throwaways, Mardi Gras throw cups now come in an earth-friendly version. This year, the Giacona Container Company introduced a new cup incorporating an additive that, over time, helps microbes digest the plastic and turn it into water and gas. It takes more than a year for the cups to break down, so they're labeled "degradable" rather than "biodegradable."

"Pretty much all of our Mardi Gras krewes are ordering the degradable cups," says Gina Giacona Lynch, vice president of the 87-year-old business.

Her father, president and CEO Corrado Giacona II, pioneered the making of plastic souvenir cups in the late1960s, when he invented a method of printing color on plastic without the muddy quality that used to result.

By Sonya Stinson, contributing writer

NEXT: A year-round Carnival
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LAST UPDATE: Feb 11 2010 | 3:01 PM ET
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