Mary Beth Romig
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Erica Papillion

New Orleans CVB Honors HEROES to the Hospitality Industry at Annual National Tourism Week Luncheon

NEW ORLEANS – May 15, 2007 – At the annual National Tourism Week luncheon held yesterday, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau honored individuals and organizations that they believe had made a tremendous impact on the city’s most important industry – hospitality – and to all local residents.

Approximately 700 industry professionals attended the luncheon held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Featured speakers included Ana Guevera, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services, U. S. Department of Commerce, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and Amy Reimer, CVB Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Introduced as Heroes by Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the CVB were:

· Deidre Ross, CMP, American Library Association: Ross was among the first meeting professionals to recommit to keeping her organization’s citywide convention in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The 17,000 person meeting of the American Library Association in June 2006 was the first citywide to return to New Orleans. Held just 10 months after the storm, the meeting spoke volumes to the hospitality and business industry around the world that New Orleans was once again open for business.

· SDT Waste and Debris Services, Sidney Torres IV, President: A major priority crucial to the continuing recovery and ultimate success of the hospitality industry is a clean French Quarter. Under Torres’ direction, SDT Waste and Debris Services has made a positive impact on the issue of cleanliness in the French Quarter, Warehouse District and Central Business District since enacting their contract with the City of New Orleans

· Tom Fitzmorris: The CVB honored Fitzmorris, food critic and host of “The Food Show” on WSMB-AM/WWL-AM & FM for championing the New Orleans and metropolitan area's restaurant scene, particularly after Hurricane Katrina. Fitzmorris always speaks positively about our culinary culture, our great restaurants and chefs, and has encouraged people locally to come downtown to have a wonderful meal. He not only continues to promote the culinary scene with great passion through his radio show, but also through his Web site and his authoring of New Orleans-based cookbooks.

· Chris Rose: The columnist for the Times-Picayune was recognized for the way in which he celebrates New Orleans’ culture in the written word, describing why this city is so special, why its culture is its very soul.

The New Orleans Saints: The NFC South 2006 Division Championship Football team was recognized for their play on the field as much as their contributions off the field. From the players and coaches to the front office personnel, the team raised the spirits of the entire New Orleans community. Further, the attention the team garnered, beginning with the winning Monday football game on September 25, 2006, through the entire season, resulted in the showcasing of the city’s recovery in a positive manner, including the reopening of the Louisiana Superdome. From the sellout of season tickets for the first time in the team’s history to the successful season, the Saints brought hope and smiles to hundreds of thousands of the Saints faithful and won for the city new fans and supporters nationwide and beyond.

Gene Sausse was honored with the CVB’s annual “Hats Off” Award for his tireless efforts and dedication to the issue of litter abatement throughout the New Orleans area. Among his many community activities in New Orleans and in Jefferson Parish, Gene has served as: Chairman of the NOMCVB Litter Task Force (2005-2007); Board Member of the CVB’s Tourism Workers Relief Grant (2006); Board of Directors of the French Quarter Business Association and Chairman of FQBA's new Graffiti Abatement Task Force (2007).

Sausse was instrumental in coordinating an Americorps sponsored cleanup of trash and debris from the I-10 at the Superdome exit before the Luciano Pavarotti concert, the first event held at the New Orleans Arena after Hurricane Katrina. Sausse also worked to secure a multi-million dollar Federal Grant administered through Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu's LA Serve Commission to replace hundreds of trees throughout New Orleans lost to the storm.

Perry also recognized and thanked the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity for their work in rebuilding neighborhoods throughout the New Orleans region and the impact their work continues to have on the spirit of “voluntourism.”


The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau ( is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism, which generates $5 billion in visitor spending and creates 85,000 jobs. Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city - including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street and Garden District - not only remains intact, both physically and spiritually, but also is thriving. The New Orleans CVB is proudly welcoming visitors and business travelers every day.