Media Contacts:
Mary Beth Romig
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
504-566-5019 / 504-606-8430 (cell)

Erica Papillion
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

New Orleans ends 2007 with return of one of the city’s most beloved icons

NEW ORLEANS – Dec. 7, 2007 – As 2007 comes to a close, New Orleans looks back on a memorable year, filled with important milestones—each time solidifying the city’s viability and allure as a destination. One of New Orleans most enduring symbols, the streetcar, has returned to its Garden District route along St. Charles Avenue and is the perfect milestone to end the year.

November 11th saw the re-opening of the St. Charles Avenue line, with streetcar service to Napoleon Avenue.

Recognized by The National Register of Historic Places and a favorite among tourists, founded in 1835, the line is part of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and to this day is a revenue-operating division of the city transit system for commuters, students and residents.

Christmas New Orleans Style, a celebration of uniquely New Orleans holiday activites, runs through December and culminates in New Year’s Eve festivities. Kicking off the new year, the University of Georgia Bulldogs will take on the University of Hawaii Warriors in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, January 1, 2008. The following week, the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Ohio State University Buckeyes will meet for the Allstate BCS National Championship, January 7, 2008. The Allstate Sugar Bowl is expected to have an economic impact of $150 million and the Allstate BCS National Championship is expected to have an economic impact of $250 million.

Mardi Gras festivities will begin January 25, 2007 and conclude on Fat Tuesday, February 5, 2008. In 2007, Mardi Gras saw crowds reaching 800,000 people. On February 17, 2008, New Orleans will host the 57th NBA All Star Game, with a projected economic impact of $80-90 million.

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On December 2, 2007, Brad Pitt unveiled the next phase of his $12 million “Make It Right” project: a public art display as a fundraiser to expand the project beyond its initial goal of 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, and possibly into other neighborhoods and parishes.

The New Orleans CVB is pleased to announce that the Professional Convention Management Association will bring 3,000 meeting industry leaders to New Orleans January 10-14, 2009 for its annual convention.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will welcome back the Neville Brothers and the return of the event’s second Thursday, which expands the run to its former length of seven days. Two other acts, Tim McGraw and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, have also confirmed their participation. The 2008 Jazz Fest will take place April 25-27 and May 1-4.

The Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association has appointed its first full-time executive director, Mavis Early. Early, a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Loyola University’s School of Law, previously served as city attorney for the City of New Orleans from 1999 to 2002 and most recently was in private civil law practice.

Rhythms of the South Marketplace, a partnership between the New Orleans, Atlanta and Nashville convention and visitors bureaus, completed its successful meeting November 29-December 2, 2007. The gathering included more than 100 tour operators and journalists from 25 countries meeting with tourism suppliers from 12 Southern states.

Construction of Louisiana’s first condo hotel, the 131-room Royal Cosmopolitan, is set to begin early next year. When construction begins, it will be the first new hotel project to break ground in the city since 2005. Fifty million dollars will be spent to renovate the 100-year-old Astor Hotel building at 121-25 Royal St. The Royal Cosmopolitan will operate as a “condotel,” in which rooms are available for sale as condominiums and buyers have to option to share in the revenue from guests who stay there when the owner does not.

The St. Charles Streetcar line is now back in service, with transport to Napoleon Avenue. The entire line is expected to reopen in spring 2008.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), National League of Cities (NLC) and Diversified Business Communications’ International Workboat Show all enjoyed successful meetings and conventions in New Orleans during the month of November. AAO welcomed approximately 22,000 attendees and NLC’s final attendance was 4,742. The Workboat Show, which announced during their visit that they will return to New Orleans in 2008, had a 10 percent increase in exhibit space and 7.5 percent increase in attendance over 2006.

The State Farm Bayou Classic, the annual match-up between Southern and Grambling universities, returned to New Orleans Nov. 24, bringing 53,297 game spectators, approximately 200,000 total visitors and $200 million in economic impact.

2007 New Orleans Milestones

2007 Festivals/Cultural Events Milestones
Snow falls on Fulton Street this year with Miracle on Fulton Street. From November 21, 2007-January 8, 2008, Harrah’s New Orleans’s Fulton Street Promenade will feature classic holiday characters, twinkling lights, the sounds of choirs and carolers and much more.

Voodoo Music Experience, October 26-28, 2007, entertained a total approximate attendance of more than 100,000. City Park was the site for the three days of concerts, which featured such acts as Rage Against the Machine, The Smashing Pumpkins and Fall Out Boy.

Ghost Expeditions was created by ISPR field parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz in 1993 and returned to New Orleans from Los Angeles as part of the city’s most unique new paranormal attraction center, The Haunted Mortuary. The Ghost Expeditions allow participants to conduct their own ghost hunts or paranormal investigations through the three-story haunted property.

August 29-September 2 saw the return of Southern Decadence, which has taken place in New Orleans for more than 30 years. Dubbed the “Gay Mardi Gras,” this year’s event in the French Quarter drew an estimated crowd of 100,000 people, with an economic impact of $95 million, according to festival organizers.

The Downtown Development District, Canal Street Development Corporation and the City of New Orleans have completed the Canal Street sidewalk and landscaping project. Canal Street: A National Treasure celebrated this accomplishment September 8, with a full day of fun, music, and food. The $17 million Canal Street Improvement Project includes new brick and granite sidewalks from the river to Claiborne Avenue, 239 palm trees and other landscaping. It is a joint project of the Canal Street Development Corporation and the Downtown Development District.

Thanks to the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association’s “SGIA Canal Street Initiative,” large-format graphic panels are being installed in windows along Canal Street as part of an effort to heighten the street’s visual impact. This first series, which will eventually be more than 80 panels, were in place for the celebration of the completion of the Canal Street Improvement Project on September 8, 2007. The association launched this plan following the visit of SGIA President and CEO Michael Robertson to New Orleans last May to attend the meeting of the New Orleans CVB’s National Customer Advisory Council.

The New Orleans CVB, in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, launched a new summer concert series, “Saturdays in the Park: Live Music in Washington Square.” The concerts, held Saturday afternoons from August 11-September 8, were intended to stimulate tourism and to serve as “welcome home” parties for new and newly returned New Orleans residents. The concerts took place in Washington Square Park, in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and were free and open to the public.

The first weekend of August saw more great cultural events in New Orleans. Satchmo Summerfest, August 2-5, and the Contemporary Arts Center’s (CAC) Whitney White Linen Night, August 4, both embraced thousands. Early estimates from the CAC, put White Linen Night’s attendance at approximately 18,000. Satchmo Scummerfest, which celebrates the life of Louis Armstrong, featured music and food in the French Quarter and White Linen Night celebrates New Orleans’ arts community in the Warehouse District.

On July 31, Harrah’s Casino welcomed back Earl Turner’s “Complete Entertainment Experience” for a limited engagement August 8-September 1. Turner returned to New Orleans after a two-year absence.

Tales of the Cocktail, a cocktail and culinary festival headquartered at the Hotel Monteleone, celebrated its fifth birthday July 18-22. From educational seminars to fine dining, Tales of the Cocktail drew an estimated 12,000 attendees.

July 5-7 saw the successful return of the ESSENCE Music Festival, the largest African-America festival in the country. After a one-year absence, ESSENCE was a significant New Orleans milestone, with over 200,000 attendees and over $100 million in economic impact.

The 3rd Annual COOLinary New Orleans was launched by the New Orleans CVB July 6 and featured special lunch and dinner menus from over 30 restaurants that offered special three-course lunch menus for $20.07 or less and three-course dinner menus for $30.07 or less throughout the months of July, August and September.

From May-September 2007, the New Orleans CVB offered the “Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown” Campaign to encourage local residents to experience New Orleans’ cultural attractions during summer months. For decades, visitors have flocked to the city to take part in the timeless and vibrant New Orleans experience and now it’s the city’s residents’ turn to experience the art galleries, museums, shops, boutiques, hotels, restaurants, special events and attractions unlike anywhere else in the country. Commercials featuring recording artist Lenny Kravitz, Irma Thomas, Emeril Lagasse, Drew Brees and Sidney Torres IV began airing in May to promote

According to festival organizers, the 1st Annual New Orleans Seafood Festival, the Cajun/Zydeco Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival, June 8-10, drew an estimated crowd of nearly 40,000 to the French Quarter.

Two very successful art exhibits closed the first weekend in June, after welcoming large crowds. The New Orleans Museum of Art’s Femme, femme, femme exhibit closed June 3, with nearly 80,000 visitors and the Old Ursuline Convent’s Vatican Mosaic Studio closed June 1, with 55,000 visitors from all 50 states and eight countries.

The 2007 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was held April 26-29 and May 4-6. With six days of world-famous music, delicious cuisine and original arts and crafts, Jazz Fest celebrated 38 years of New Orleans culture. Featured performers included Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, Rebirth Brass Band, Rod Stewart, Ludacris, Norah Jones and John Mayer, to name just a few. This year’s Jazz Fest attendance reached 375,000, the highest since 2003. Shell Oil, who has sponsored Jazz Fest since 2006, announced during the first weekend of the festival that they would continue to provide corporate sponsorship through 2010.

French Quarter Festival, a free celebration of food and music in the city’s signature neighborhood, was April 13-15, 2007. Attendance was up from last year (350,000), to 425,000 and on Sunday, April 15, the Fest set a single-day attendance record with 208,000 people. With 15 stages and nearly 60 food booths, French Quarter Fest proved to be a great event.

Mardi Gras 2007 was a resounding success in February, with an estimated crowd of 800,000 and area hotels reporting a 95 percent occupancy rate throughout the last weekend of Mardi Gras. It was larger than the 2006 crowds of 700,000, but not as large as pre-Katrina numbers of 1 million.

2007 Meetings & Conventions Milestones
The American Association of Orthodontists recently re-confirmed New Orleans as the host city for their 114th Annual Session in 2014. The expected attendance is 20,000.

The American College of Surgeons met in New Orleans October 6-10, with an approximate attendance of 11,000. While in New Orleans, ACS members pumped millions of dollars into the New Orleans economy and volunteered their time with the New Orleans area Habitat for Humanity.

The American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) has re-confirmed New Orleans as the destination for two major conferences in 2008, bringing millions of dollars in economic impact to the city. The American Stroke Association, a division of AHA, will hold the International Stroke Conference February 20-22, 2008, with the State-of-the-Art Stroke Nursing Symposium being held one day prior to the event on February 19. Total attendance is expected to be 5,500. AHA’s Annual Scientific Sessions is slated for New Orleans, November 9-12, 2008, with an approximate attendance of 27,500.

The Risk and Insurance Management Society met in New Orleans April 29-May 3 for its 45th Annual Conference & Exhibition, with more than 9,000 attendees. Highlights of the conference included a community service day where hundreds of RIMS volunteers spent an afternoon cleaning City Park.

The American College of Cardiology met in New Orleans March 24-27 for its 56th Annual Scientific Session and

i2Summit. With 26,250 attendees, the meeting was New Orleans’ largest since 2005. The conference received rave reviews from ACC leadership and members alike.

Eight college teams competing in the American Marketing Association’s annual case competition were in New Orleans in late March for the final round of competition to develop a mock marketing plan for New Orleans. The students were given a pretend $5 million budget to remarket New Orleans as the top destination in the world. The winning team, selected by New Orleans CVB executives who served as judges, was from the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Nevada at Las Vegas placed second and the British Columbia Institute of Technology came in third. The American Marketing Association, rather than schedule their 2007 meeting in another city, raised funds to keep the conference and competition in New Orleans, as a show of support for the city.

January 20-23, Meeting Professionals International brought 2,600 of the world's most influential meeting professionals to New Orleans for the second largest MPI Professional Education Conference-North America ever. It was a prime opportunity to showcase the city as a destination for future meetings being planned by MPI members. For testimonials, visit

Corporate America is discovering New Orleans as a meeting destination, bringing new, shorter-term meetings business to the city. Many corporations are drawn to New Orleans for the wealth of “voluntourism” opportunities available during meetings to expand strategic philanthropic and branding efforts. Corporate meetings held in the city in 2007 included Whirlpool Corporation, Coca-Cola, Konica Minolta, Sherwin Williams and IBM.

Future meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2007 and early 2008 include:

Event/Date/Projected Attendance

Southern Association of Colleges & Schools/Dec. 8-10/ 3,000

Pennwell Corporation/Dec. 10-14/17,000

Allied Social Sciences Association/Jan. 3-5/8,000

American Farm Bureau/Jan. 12-15/5,000

American Traffic Safety Services Association/Feb. 8-12/3,200

National Basketball Association/Feb. 14-17/10,000

Pittsburgh Conference & Expo/Mar. 1-6/24,000

The Minerals Metals Materials Society/Mar. 8-12/3,000

American Physical Society/Mar. 9-13/7,300

Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development/Mar. 14-17/12,500

NACE, International/Mar. 16-20/5,500

American Chemical Society/Apr. 6-9/14,000

Successful meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) January-November 2007 included:


Healthcare Information & Management Society /Feb. 24 – Mar. 1 (city-wide)/24,789

American Association of School Administrators/Feb. 28 – Mar. 4/7,000

National Collegiate Athletic Association/Mar. 14 – 17 (city-wide)/20,000

American College of Healthcare Executives/Mar. 18 – 22/4,000

International Association for Dental Research/Mar. 20 – 25/4,632

American College of Cardiology/Mar. 23 – 27 (city-wide)/27,500

Institute of Scrap Recycling/Apr. 17 – 22/3,300

Risk & Insurance Management Society/Apr. 29 – May 4 (city-wide)/15,000

American College of Sports Medicine/May 29-June 2/4,200

Essence Festivals, LLC/July 5-7 (city-wide)/200,000

Southern Regional Education Board (city-wide)/July 10-13/8,000

Louisiana Restaurant Association/Aug. 3-5 (city-wide)/16,000

Disabled American Veterans/Aug. 8-14/4,000

Cardiovascular Institute of the South/Sept. 5-7/3,000

National Council of State Housing Agencies/Sept. 15-18/2,200

American College of Surgeons/Oct. 6-10 (city-wide)/11,000

International Association of Chiefs of Police/Oct. 12-17 (city-wide)/13,500

American Society for Clinical Pathology/Oct. 17-21/5,000

International Facility Management Association/Oct. 23-26 (city-wide)/10,000

Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International/Oct. 30-Nov. 2/2,700

American Society of Agronomy/Nov. 4-8/4,800

American Academy of Ophthalmology/Nov. 9-12/22,000

National League of Cities/Nov. 13-17 /8,000

Diversified Business Communications/Nov. 27-30/11,000

2007 New Orleans CVB Milestones
The Board of Directors of the New Orleans CVB is pleased to announce that for the second year in a row that its President & CEO, Stephen Perry, has been honored by Meeting News Magazine (July 16, 2007 issue) as one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.”

The New Orleans CVB has been chosen by Successful Meetings magazine as one of the country’s best CVBs. The prestigious 2007 Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award is a mark of excellence for meeting destinations and is awarded to those organizations that have done an outstanding job servicing their meetings, incentive travel programs, trade shows and conventions during the previous year. Other awards the New Orleans CVB has received are the 2007 Award of Excellence from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine and the 2007 Gold Service Award given by Meetings & Conventions magazine.

2007 Sports Milestones
The New Orleans Hornets have returned full-time to the city for the 2007-2008 NBA basketball season.

In addition to the 34th Annual State Farm Bayou Classic, in the next five months, New Orleans will host a series of nationally televised sporting events bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors. Examples include: Allstate Sugar Bowl and Allstate BCS National Championship Game January 1 and January 7, 2008 respectively (with a combined estimated economic impact of more than $400 million); and the NBA All-Star Game, February 17, 2008.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl officially returned to its home in the Superdome September 20 for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. The return from their temporary Metairie, La. office is timely, as Sugar Bowl officials continue to prepare for the biggest bowl season in its history.

The New Orleans Arena hosted ArenaBowl XXI Sunday, July 29. With an approximate attendance of 17,000 and economic impact of $15 million, ArenaBowl XXI was the first sell-out at a neutral site in Arena Football League history. The San Jose Sabercats defeated the Columbus Destroyers in the match-up.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl match-up between LSU and Notre Dame and other festival events brought an economic impact of $126.7 million to New Orleans and the state, according to a study completed by Dr. Timothy Ryan of the University of New Orleans. The January 3 football game saw LSU beat Notre Dame 41-14 before a sold-out crowd of 77,781. Comprising the Bowl's overall economic impact figure was a sum of $68.71 million in direct visitor spending and an additional $57.99 million in secondary spending. State and local governments also realized $9.9 million in tax revenue as a result of Bowl activities.

New Orleans hosted major sports events in 2007. The first and second rounds of the 69th Annual NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Championship Tournament was played at the New Orleans Arena March 15-17; the Zurich Classic, a stop on the illustrious Professional Golfers Association tour, was held at TPC Louisiana April 16-22. ArenaBowl XXI was played at the New Orleans Arena July 29.

2007 Milestones in Marketing New Orleans
On July 9, the New Orleans CVB launched the new Web site, 24NOLA, an interactive Web site and itinerary planning tool for visitors who want to experience New Orleans culture as locals do. 24NOLA was created to celebrate New Orleans’ culture and provide an immediate call to action to visit the city. This Web site is a new, interactive component of the New Orleans CVB’s 2007 strategic marketing, public relations and re-branding campaign, “Forever New Orleans.” Visit

In January, the New Orleans CVB launched an aggressive, strategic marketing, public relations and direct sales campaign, designed to celebrate its authentic culture, lure domestic and international visitors back, preserve the city’s leading industry (hospitality) and overcome misperceptions about New Orleans among consumers. “Forever New Orleans,” a 30-minute travel television show, showcasing the eclectic nature and vibrant culture of the city, is now airing in 51 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, reaching 119 million homes.

“Forever New Orleans” is an international branding campaign that celebrates a spirit of swagger, showcasing the hospitality industry’s confidence in New Orleans as a destination. It uses headlines such as “New Orleans is Open. To Just About Anything.”, “Soul is Waterproof’” and “Old World, New Promise,” which are appearing on billboards and magazines throughout the US.

New Orleans CVB representatives were in New York City April 10-13 to kick off a 10-market media tour and series of events designed to dispel myths about the visitor experience and bring the best of New Orleans culture to major metropolitan cities. A New Orleans streetcar was parked in the middle of Times Square and served as a mobile visitors’ center for curious New Yorkers and tourists alike. The New Orleans CVB’s efforts and the streetcar were featured on “Good Morning America” and in The New York Times.

The following week, the tour continued to Paris, London and Frankfurt, Germany for one-on-one meetings with journalists. The streetcar made another appearance in Chicago May 17, along with a Mardi Gras Indians performance. The New Orleans CVB received coverage on two Chicago television stations and the Chicago Tribune. Along with leisure visitors, the tour promotes the destination for conventions and meetings to meeting professionals, associations and corporate decision makers. In October, the New Orleans CVB continued the media tour in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C., where the streetcar made its third appearance in the heart of the Capitol district.

2007 New Orleans Hospitality and Tourism Milestones
The movie and television business is in full swing in 2007. The Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development reports that 41 film and video projects statewide have qualified for Louisiana’s tax incentive program through the first nine months of this year. That is 17 more than 2006 and seven more than 2004. This includes a number of high-profile projects, including the Laurence Fishburne film Black Water Transit, and the Fox-TV series “K-Ville,” both of which were filmed in New Orleans.

In October, the American Planning Association named New Orleans’ oak-lined St. Charles Avenue in the inaugural class of its 10 Great Streets in America. St. Charles Avenue has served as a majestic gateway to New Orleans for nearly two centuries.

The Louis Armstrong International Airport is now providing free WiFi to the traveling public on the 2nd level of the terminal building.

Carnival Cruise Lines exercised its option to extend its berthing agreement with the Port of New Orleans for an additional two years during its quarterly sales conference the last week in September. The extension will keep Carnival sailing year-round from New Orleans through October 26, 2010.

Production began September 11 on a project for the national PBS home-improvement series, “This Old House.” The 10 episodes shot in New Orleans will begin airing in early 2008. A home in the city’s Holy Cross neighborhood will be the show’s second home renovation during the 2007-2008 season. While the Holy Cross house will be the show’s primary focus, several other recovery and renovation tales will be told.

The Fairmont New Orleans, an iconic downtown hotel, was sold to a development group who plans to convert the property into a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Dimension Development Company, Inc. of Nachitoches, La. purchased the 114-year old hotel for $17 million, and plans to spend $100 million in refurbishments to the 500-room property.

On June 27, Southwest Airlines announced the addition of eight daily nonstop roundtrip flights from New Orleans to five cities including Birmingham, and additional service to Houston Hobby, Dallas Love Field, Las Vegas and Orlando. The service began November 4, 2007 with 1,000 added daily seats and represents a 30 percent capacity increase for Southwest Airlines in New Orleans.

Express Jet is now flying out of the Louis Armstrong International Airport, with 10 daily nonstop flights.

With a January contract between the City of New Orleans and SDT LLC Waste and Debris Services, the French Quarter and Central Business District have never been cleaner. SDT LLC and its president, Sidney Torres IV, provides waste removal and street cleaning using brand new, state-of-the-art equipment.

New Orleans was honored on NBC’s The Today Show as the Second Most Beautiful Place in America. The Today Show’s “America the Beautiful” series September 6 featured New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as number two on its list of ten.

New Orleans has received multiple honors. The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 4, 2007) named New Orleans one of the world’s “don’t miss destinations.” In December 2006, Orbitz described New Orleans as an “in” location for experience seeking vacationers. Travel + Leisure Magazine’s January 2007 issue included New Orleans in its “Where to Go Next” feature and Travelocity recently named New Orleans one of 2007’s top 10 favorite gourmet destinations in the world.

The New Orleans area regained its Hollywood South moniker in 2006. Over 30 movies released in 2006 were filmed in New Orleans and the surrounding areas, including: All the King’s Men, Bug, Failure to Launch, Glory Road, Last Holiday and Déjà Vu—the first movie to be filmed in New Orleans post-Katrina. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, completed filming in the city in late winter 2007. With a budget of $150 million, it was the most expensive film to ever shoot in New Orleans. There are currently over 20 movies that are filming or will be filming in New Orleans with a planned 2007 release. According to Chris Stelly, executive director of film and TV for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, an estimated $550 million was spent in the state in 2006, down from $750 million in 2005 but up from $430 million in 2004. Because of tax incentives, Louisiana ranks third after New York and California as a location for filming.

Venue Updates
The Louisiana Superdome, one of America's most recognizable landmarks, has a spectacular schedule of big-time football this winter. With national television cameras focusing on many events, the Superdome has helped deliver the message the New Orleans is back as one of the nation’s greatest sports cities.

The Superdome will be the site of the Allstate BCS National Championship Game-college football's national championship-on Monday, January 7, 2008. That will make New Orleans the first city to host three major college post-season games in the same season. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be in the Dome on Friday, December 21, 2007, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic will be played Tuesday, January 1.

The New Orleans Saints have sold out the entire 2007 home schedule on a season-ticket basis after finishing the 2006 season by winning the NFC South Championship and coming within one game of the Super Bowl. September 25, 2007 marked the 1st anniversary of the reopening of the Superdome, highlighted by a memorable game seen on Monday Night Football. For a complete Saints schedule, visit:

The State Farm Bayou Classic---the annual renewal of the rivalry between Grambling State and Southern Universities-was in the Dome November 24. High school state championship football, the State Farm Prep Classic, will offer five title games in two days, December 7-8.

Work on Phase 2 of Superdome renovations was substantially completed prior to the 2007 football season, including finish work in the 137 private suites and redesign and upgrades to the four ballrooms. More improvements are coming in Phase 3, beginning in early 2008: replacement of the aluminum outer skin of the Superdome, adding escalators to provide private access to the four club lounges, and adding large windows in the outer walls of the lounges. The Superdome has undergone $180 million in renovations and upgrades.

Across the street at the New Orleans Arena, the New Orleans Hornets have returned full-time for the 2007-2008 season, and the Arena will be the site of the NBA All-Star Game Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008.

With $62 million in renovations completed, the Morial Convention Center-New Orleans is sporting a brand new look and level of comfort. Renovations include new flooring and furnishings on all three levels, hotel-like finishes, and a brighter, more engaging environment. The same great service and amenities that made the Center an industry leader are better than ever: 3.1 million total square feet of space; high speed wi-fi, a 4,000-seat Conference Auditorium, 12 separate/combinable exhibit halls, 140 meeting rooms and a team of seasoned industry professionals. The Center did brisk business in 2007---hosting 94 major conventions, tradeshows and meetings. The Center currently has more than 300 full-time employees.

Hospitality and Tourism

Hotels: New hotel developments abound in New Orleans, including the grand opening of the Hilton St. Charles Hotel in June 2007. The Hyatt is scheduled to reopen in 2009. Overall 209 metropolitan area accommodations are open, with 31,888 of 38,000 hotel rooms available. The vast majority of hotel properties have completed renovations and upgrades since 2005.

The newly-constructed Harrah’s Hotel opened in September 2006, and the Ritz-Carlton and Chateau Sonesta reopened in December 2006 after extensive renovations. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans’ Iberville Suites reopened in early March, after an extensive renovation. The Iberville Suites added 230 rooms to New Orleans’ hotel inventory.

Major hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Starwood, are making investments in New Orleans with renovations and upgrades to local properties. The Hilton New Orleans Riverside has received over $66 million for a series of ongoing improvements designed to complement the city’s renaissance and revitalize the 30-year-old Southeastern flagship of Hilton Hotels Corporation. The renovations will continue through the end of 2008. The Marriott New Orleans Hotel is undergoing a $38 million renovation. A portion was completed in October, with the unveiling of the hotel’s $6.5 million, brand-new lobby and restaurant. Other hotels that are being refurbished include the Baronne Plaza and the Prince Conti Hotel.

The Ponchartrain Hotel is in the midst of extensive work that has closed the historic property to guests for six to eight months while the guest suites and bar are overhauled. The Fairmont New Orleans, an iconic downtown hotel, was sold to Dimension Development Company, Inc. of Nachitoches, La., who purchased the 114-year old hotel for $17 million, and plans to spend $100 million in refurbishments to the 500-room property. According to Greater New Orleans, Inc., in the past two years, over $400 million has been spent on hotel renovations in the metro New Orleans area.

Dining: There are more restaurants open in New Orleans today than ever before. There are 881 restaurants open in the metropolitan New Orleans area, including restaurants in the French Quarter, downtown, Warehouse Arts District, Garden District and Uptown New Orleans popular with visitors to the city. As well, 18 major new restaurants opened in the metro area and are enjoying success, such as Riche, by Todd English, Iris, La Boca, Table One and Cochon, to name a few. (This figure does not include fast-food restaurants, most national chains, bars serving food and coffeehouses.) In 2006, restaurants generated $4.8 billion in direct sales.

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant opened a second location in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in May. This popular restaurant was made famous by the charbroiled oysters served at its original location in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.

In April, James Beard Award-winning chef John Besh reopened La Provence in Lacombe, Louisiana, about an hour’s drive from New Orleans. Besh worked with the late former owner, French-born Chef Chris Kerageorgiou, before operating his own restaurants. Another Besh restaurant, Lüke, a French and German brasserie, opened in May, adjacent to the Hilton St. Charles Hotel.

Mr. B's Bistro reopened on April 16 and the following week, the ever-popular Camellia Grill reopened its doors in the Riverbend neighborhood.

Air Transportation: Louis Armstrong International Airport, as of December 2007, reports 132 flights serving 37 cities (82 percent the number of daily departures and 88 percent the number of destinations; 15,663 seats or 71.1 percent of our Pre-Katrina level of seats per day). The New Orleans CVB is working with the airlines and airport officials with regard to convention scheduling to ensure adequate lift to meet demand.

Airlines operating out of the Louis Armstrong International Airport include: Air Tran, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet, Jet Blue, Northwest, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, U.S. Airways. Delta Air Lines added non-stop flights to Los Angeles to the delight of tourists and business travelers alike.

Express Jet began flying April 30 and offers non-stop service to Austin, San Antonio, Kansas City, Mo., Jacksonville, Fl., and Raleigh-Durham with 10 flights per day.

On June 27, Southwest Airlines announced the addition of eight daily nonstop roundtrip flights from New Orleans to five cities. The service began November 4, 2007 with 1,000 added daily seats and represents a 30 percent capacity increase for Southwest Airlines in New Orleans.

Changes as of November 4 include:

Southwest: 1,096 additional seats

  • Three daily nonstop flights to Birmingham with 411 seats
  • Two additional daily nonstop flights to Houston Hobby with 274 seats (total of 11 daily flights)
  • One additional daily nonstop flight to Dallas Love Field with 137 seats (total of six daily flights)
  • One additional daily nonstop flight to Las Vegas with 137 seats (total of two daily flights)
  • One additional daily nonstop flight to Orlando with 137 seats (total of four daily flights)

Changes as of June include:

  • ExpressJet: one additional daily nonstop flight to Austin with 50 seats
  • Express Jet: one additional daily nonstop flight to San Antonio with 50 seats
  • Southwest: one additional daily nonstop flight to Dallas with 137 seats
  • United: one additional daily nonstop flight to Washington Dulles with 70 seats
  • United: one additional daily nonstop flight to Denver with 156 seats.

Changes as of July include:

  • USAirways: one additional daily nonstop flight to Philadelphia with 134 seats
  • AirTran Airways: one additional weekend only nonstop flight to Atlanta with 117 seats.

In May, the New Orleans Aviation Board voted to name Interim Director of Aviation Sean C. Hunter permanent in the position as Director of Aviation effective immediately. Hunter has been serving as Interim Director since May 2006, upon the departure of former Director of Aviation Roy Williams.

The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has been busy making several enhancements to its facility. To improve customer service, the airport has been making external terminal improvements that improve the paving, lighting, and replacement of terminal roadway signage. There will also be increased walkways areas near the curbside check-in locations. Inside the terminals, the public areas, including ticket lobbies, baggage claim and terminal concourses are also being refurbished, in addition to lighting and door and window units. Construction is scheduled to be complete next year. Late last year, the airport launched an unprecedented maintenance campaign to clean and improve the environment at the region's premier international airport for guests arriving and departing the New Orleans region. Dubbed “Music to Your Eyes”, the campaign is designed to transform the environment of the Airport into an even fresher and more visitor-friendly facility. Also, the airport is now providing free WiFi to the traveling public on the 2nd level of the terminal building.

Cruise Industry: The Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, RiverBarge Excursion Lines and Majestic America (American Queen) are sailing from New Orleans. Carnival Corp. announced in September that it will keep the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy in New Orleans through 2010.

Major Attractions: All the major attractions in the city, including the Harrah’s Casino, the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium and IMAX theater, Mardi Gras World, Café Du Monde, paddlewheel cruises on the Mississippi River, carriage rides through the French Quarter and CBD, ferry rides across the Mississippi River, the Steamboat Natchez and the Creole Queen, plantation, swamp and specialty tours, nightclubs and music venues are open.

Cultural Institutions: All major museums are open including the New Orleans Museum of Art and Besthoff Sculpture Garden, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the National World War II Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center and the Louisiana Children’s Museum. The New Orleans Ballet, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and community theatres throughout the metropolitan New Orleans area are open.

Urban shopping destinations: The Shops at Canal Place, The Riverwalk and Jax Brewery are open, offering visitors a full complement of national stores, specialty shops and boutiques. Saks Fifth Avenue, the anchor store in The Shops at Canal Place, is open and boutiques, art galleries and antique stores are open throughout the city. Tax-free shopping is available for international visitors in Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish.

2006 Conventions: Last year saw a strong return of meetings and conventions to New Orleans. In June 2006, New Orleans celebrated the return of city-wide meetings to the city, with the American Library Association’s convention bringing 17,000 attendees. The National Association of Realtors’ annual meeting in November 2006 brought to New Orleans approximately 24,000 visitors. Registration for that meeting marked a 17 percent increase in attendance since their last gathering in New Orleans in 2002, with a record number of exhibitors participating.

A full convention calendar for October 2006 and November 2006 included the American Society of Exploration Geophysicists, American Society of Human Genetics, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology and Avaya, a Fortune 500 company.

In addition to the large association meetings previously planned, advisory boards of major association and hotel corporations chose to host their meetings in New Orleans last year, reconfirming the allure of New Orleans as a top destination.

Successful meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2006 included:

Event/Date/Projected Attendance

USA Volleyball/May 25-June 2/5,000

Air & Waste Mgmt Association/June 17-22/2,200

American Library Association/June 22-28 (city-wide)/16,964

Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship/July 11-14; 8,000

American Psychological Association/Aug. 9-13 (city-wide)/9,800

Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine/Aug. 18-25 (city-wide)/5,000

Helen Brett Enterprises/Aug. 19-22 (city-wide)/1,000

Society of Exploration Geophysicists/Oct. 1-3 (city-wide)/8,000

American Society for Human Genetics/Oct. 6-14/5,200

Avaya Communications/Oct. 7-13/3,800

American Society for Reproductive Medicine/Oct. 22-25/6,000

Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology/Oct. 31-Nov. 3/5,500

National Association of Realtors/Nov. 8-13 (city-wide)/23,560

International Work Boat Show/Nov. 28-Dec. 2/4,000

About the City

Neighborhoods: In April, Mayor Ray Nagin unveiled his first detailed blueprint for New Orleans’ recovery, announcing that the city’s rebuilding process will commence in 17 redevelopment zones where he plans to unleash $1.1 billion in public money as a way to attract private investment. While the majority of the territory targeted for redevelopment is located west of the Industrial Canal, Nagin’s plan calls for pumping $145 million over five years into two of the hardest-hit areas: the Lower 9th Ward and a swath of eastern New Orleans.

The core of the New Orleans hospitality and tourism destinations are open and thriving, including the Faubourg Marigny, French Quarter, Warehouse Arts District, Garden District/Uptown, Audubon and University section, Carrollton and Riverbend, and historic Algiers on the city’s westbank, including hotels, restaurants and retail.

As well, neighboring Jefferson Parish to the west (home to Louis Armstrong International Airport and including Metairie, River Ridge, Harahan and Kenner) and the city’s “Northshore,” (a true bedroom community for downtown commuters, including the towns of Slidell, Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington, Abita Springs and Folsom located on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain) are bustling. These areas also include lodging, great dining opportunities, and major shopping destinations.

Population: According to mail delivery statistics from the U.S. Postal Service released in July, New Orleans’ population has reached approximately 300,000, nearly two-thirds of the city’s pre-Katrina population. Over 1 million reside in the metropolitan New Orleans area. Pre-Katrina, the New Orleans population was approximately 455,000, with a metropolitan population of 1.2 million.

Emergency Preparedness: Unveiled on Friday, March 30, under the new “City Assisted Evacuation Plan,” volunteers -- both residents and city workers -- will begin picking up elderly residents and those who lack transportation about 54 hours, or 2½ days, before tropical-storm-force winds are expected to reach the Louisiana coast. Volunteers would also be responsible for keeping track of where evacuees are sent and helping with pets. Depending on the storm’s severity, the plan calls for Mayor Nagin to order a mandatory evacuation 30 hours before hurricane winds begin.

Introduced on June 1, Mayor Nagin introduced a new service to alert citizens about threatening weather events in New Orleans. Called “NOLA Ready,” New Orleanians with cell phones or similar devices can now sign up to receive text messages alerting them to news about hurricanes or other disasters threatening the city. NOLA Ready will be provided by a Virginia company called Roam Secure Inc., which handles similar duties for Washington, D.C., and several neighboring communities. New Orleanians who sign up will receive short messages when necessary, warning of, for instance, a tornado watch, or the status of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The service is free. To register for the system, residents can visit the Web site The system is designed to be available on a short-term basis for tourists, who can sign up for it by dialing nola4u.

The New Orleans CVB Tourism Crisis Management Plan will assist visitors in responding appropriately to emergencies.

The City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana have for the first time implemented a unified emergency communications plan to ensure the timely flow of information across the region in emergency situations. A comprehensive and effective citywide emergency communications plan for the Greater New Orleans tourism industry has been developed.

Levee Protection: In the next four years, the Army Corps of Engineers expects to undertake one of the largest engineering projects in the nation’s history, raising existing levees, replacing temporary flood gates and building new structures in eastern New Orleans. The rapid pace of construction in dozens of spots along the levee system surrounding the New Orleans area will become more intense as the corps proceeds with plans for a flood protection system that can withstand a hurricane with an estimated 1-in-100 chance of hitting Louisiana in any given year. The U.S. government has spent $7 billion on levee repairs.

The corps recently completed raising the safe water elevation of the London Avenue Canal from four feet to five feet, which allows the city to pump water into the canal at a higher rate and allow floodgates to remain open longer during a storm event. The one-foot increase allows the city’s Sewerage and Water Board about 30 percent more pumping capacity into the canal.

As of June 1, the Corps met a self-imposed deadline to have all of its 40 temporary hydraulic pumps in place at the three outfall canals.

By mid-August, the Corps completed installation and testing of 11 new direct drive pumps at 17th Street Canal for an increase in pumping capacity at that canal to 8,800 – 9,200 cfs. Eight new direct drive pumps were installed and tested at London Avenue Canal for an increase in pumping capacity at that structure to 5,000 – 5,200 cfs. All pumps have been successfully tested and are ready for service this hurricane season if needed.

Health and Safety: Wrapping up an 11-month effort to pinpoint chemical contamination of soil and water following Hurricane Katrina, Environmental Protection Agency officials gave New Orleans and surrounding communities a final clean bill of health in a report issued August 18, 2006. (source: Times-Picayune, August 18, 2006) In the end, federal and state officials said the contamination they found was typical of many cities.

Food/seafood: Various federal, state and local agencies have conducted tests on the quality and safety of water and food, including the area’s seafood, and all have been pronounced safe to consume.

Air Quality: Official rating scales rate the air quality in the “good” zone.

Security: The areas that tourists and visitors enjoy in New Orleans are as safe as those as in any big American city. Visitors likely will notice increased patrols from the New Orleans Police Department and Quality of Life officers, enhancing the already safe record of popular tourist areas.

The New Orleans Police Department is known nationally for its record in making New Orleans a safe place to visit, ranging from large-scale crowd control events such as Mardi Gras, to four or five individuals enjoying a weekend getaway.

New Orleans Police Department: The ratio of police to citizens is higher today.

Post-Katrina: 1,406 officers Ratio of officers to residents: 1:213 (pop. of approx. 300,000)

Pre-Katrina: 1,680 officers 1:270 (pop. of 455,000)

Additionally, there are 300 National Guard members patrolling outlying neighborhoods and 60 Louisiana State Troopers stationed in the French Quarter and Warehouse and Central Business districts. In March, the New Orleans Police Department graduated 37 new officers—the NOPD’s first recruit class since Hurricane Katrina.

The current academy class began last week with 70 recruits.

Hospitals/Healthcare: Fifteen hospitals are currently open in the metropolitan New Orleans area, including Tulane Hospital and Clinic, Touro Infirmary and Children’s Hospital in Orleans Parish, East Jefferson Medical Center and Clinic, Tulane-Lakeside Hospital, Ochsner Clinic Foundation and Hospital, Kenner Regional Medical Center and Omega Hospital in East Jefferson Parish, and West Jefferson Medical Center on the westbank of the Mississippi River. Memorial Baptist Hospital has opened a small portion of its uptown campus, with more improvements being made. University Hospital, located in downtown New Orleans, has recently opened a trauma center and it is being operated by Louisiana State University. It is the first trauma center to open in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. For the past year and a half, LSU was operating a trauma unit in a New Orleans suburb. The new trauma center will have 26 surgery beds and 10 intensive care beds.

September 13 saw the return of the clinic at Louisiana State University’s dental school in New Orleans. The clinic will treat approximately 5,000 people and was the last part of the last component of the LSU Health Sciences Center’s return to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans Lakefront Airport is open 24 hours a day. Full service fuel, line service, flight training and aircraft rescue crews are available. As of July 30, the control tower at the Lakefront Airport is back in service, following a $6 million renovation.

Taxis: Taxis are available on New Orleans streets and at major hotels, with the taxicab bureau reporting approximately 1,200 of their cabs back on the streets. Taxi rates are $2.50 plus $1.60 per mile (.20 per one-eighth mile) thereafter. There is also an additional charge of $1.00 per passenger after the first passenger. During peak visitor times (including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest) taxi rates are $4 per person or the meter rate, whichever is higher. A fixed rate of $28 (one to two people) is charged from the airport to most areas of New Orleans. For parties of more than two, the fare is $12 per person.

Regional Transit Authority: RTA services are $1.25, including bus transportation and the streetcar. The New Orleans Streetcar line is partially back in service, including the leg traveling on Canal Street from the Mississippi River to Mid-City, and from Canal Street north on Carrolton Avenue to City Park at Wisner Boulevard. The St. Charles Avenue line to Napoleon Avenue is in service. The Riverfront line is also running. A small leg from Canal Street to Lee Circle in the city’s Central Business District has reopened, and on Nov. 11, the historic St. Charles Avenue line was extended to the Garden District, to Napoleon Avenue. The entire line is expected to be operational by spring 2008. Adjustments are still being made to the first of three new, $1 million electrical substations that were originally constructed in the 1940s and were in need of upgrading. The Federal Transit Administration is paying for the entire streetcar project, with a price tag of $14.2 million.

Airport Shuttle, Inc., is the official ground transportation for Louis Armstrong International Airport, with service to and from New Orleans’ hotels and other designated locations. Fare is $13.00 each way. No reservations are required.

Twenty-nine bus lines are running, providing 25,000 rides daily. Bus service allows transportation throughout the city’s major corridor, extending from the Faubourg Marigny to Riverbend.

Amtrak is operating in New Orleans. The City of New Orleans is running again to Memphis and Chicago, while the Crescent runs to Atlanta and New York.

Port of New Orleans: The Port is open to cargo traffic. Operating today at 100 percent of its total capacity, all of the ports’ stevedores and terminal operators are open during normal business hours.

In April, the Navy commissioned the USS New Orleans before thousands of onlookers, marking the first time since at least World War II a Navy ship has been built and christened in its namesake city. The $1.3 billion USS New Orleans is the fourth ship to bear the New Orleans name. The last one was an amphibious assault vessel that served during the Vietnam War and in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. It was decommissioned in 1997 and is slated to be sunk for gunnery practice.

Education: As of the 2007-2008 school year, the Greater New Orleans area has approximately 200 parochial schools, including Catholic and private schools (pre-K through 12th grade). There are 84 Orleans Parish charter and traditional public schools open, up from 56 schools in the 2006-2007 school year. The Louisiana Recovery Schools District provides education for 32,000 students.

Local colleges and universities are open, including Tulane University, Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Xavier University, Dillard University, Southern University of New Orleans, Delgado Community College, Nunez Community College and Louisiana Technical College.

It was announced on September 5, 2007, that more than 1,330 new first-year students entered Tulane University for the fall semester, a 51 percent increase over last year’s class. According to the university, this exceeded their recruiting goal of enrolling 1,200 new freshmen.

Current and Future Economic Opportunities and Projects:

On December 2, 2007, Brad Pitt unveiled the next phase of his $12 million “Make It Right” project: a public art display as a fundraiser to expand the project beyond its initial goal of 150 homes, and possibly into other neighborhoods and parishes. The art installation in the Lower Ninth Ward, a collection of hundreds of large pink blocks, 8-foot-high boxes and huge triangular wedges, representing uprooted foundations and dislocated roofs, will issue a public call to corporations, foundations and church organizations around the world to “adopt” the blocks, for $150,000 each, to support the project. Donors also will be invited to make smaller gifts, $5 to $45,000, to sponsor the individual elements of the houses’ eco-friendly designs. “Make It Right” plans to offer forgivable loans of as much as $100,000 to participants who have exhausted their insurance and Road Home proceeds toward the new houses. Applicants must have owned a home or lot in the Lower 9th Ward before Hurricane Katrina. Source: Times-Picayune

The Broadway South bill, approved by the Louisiana Legislature earlier this year and signed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco in October, has resulted in a deal to buy the Joy Theatre and the State Palace Theater and are in ongoing negotiations to buy the Saenger and the Orpheum theaters. The purchase is part of a citywide revitalization plan, championed by Broadway South LLC President Roger Wilson, designed around redeveloping the Canal Street theaters to spur economic development in the Central Business District. The Broadway South bill provides refundable state income tax credits to investors in theater infrastructure projects and to offset the cost of producing musical or theatrical productions in Louisiana. Source: Times-Picayune

The first foreign trade office in at least 30 years opened in New Orleans October 1. A positive sign in the city’s recovery, Australia’s Gulf South trade office is an opportunity to further capitalize on the renewed international interest in New Orleans. Other Australian investments in Louisiana include a modular-home manufacturer based in St. Martinville and plans have been announced to open a $150 million recycling plant in Shreveport.

During a visit to New Orleans September 7, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that his agency has chosen three architecture firms to design the new hospital it plans to build in downtown New Orleans. Secretary Jim Nicholson said a team consisting of NBBJ of Columbus, Ohio; Eskew+Dumez+Ripple of New Orleans; and Rozas-Ward of New Orleans would draft the plans for the new medical center. As announced in August, the VA plans to build the new hospital on 34 acres bounded by South Rocheblave to the north, South Galvez to the south, Tulane Avenue to the west and Canal Street to the east. The parcel sits next to 37 acres where Louisiana State University plans to build its new teaching hospital.

The estimated total cost of designing and building the VA hospital would reach $625 million and have 200 beds, including 76 medical-surgical beds, 24 intensive care beds, 40 mental health beds and 60 long-term care beds. The new hospital could take up to seven years to complete.

Macy’s Inc. will reopen a store at The Esplanade in Kenner and open a new, three-level store at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie. Both stores are expected to be open by November 2008.

The greater New Orleans area is experiencing tremendous investment and reinvestment in the two years since Hurricane Katrina. Greater New Orleans, Inc. reports that opportunities for economic development are already visible in the large investments being made in a variety sectors. They include: tourism infrastructure, hotel renovations, building supplies, healthcare, aerospace, energy sector and multi-family residential.

Last summer, an international design competition sponsored by Global Green USA, in partnership with actor Brad Pitt and the Home Depot Foundation, was held with more than 125 entries competing to design a zero energy affordable housing development in the Holy Cross Neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward. Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen of Workshop/APD in New York created the winning design. On August 21, 2007, Pitt, Global Green USA and the Home Depot Foundation toured the progress on the first Green Home in the Holy Cross Project. It is being built with green products and energy efficient systems that will ultimately be included in the completed project of five single family homes, an 18 multi-unit apartment complex and a community center/Sustainable Design and Climate Action Institute. Source: Times-Picayune

The New Orleans Exchange, a virtual marketplace for companies that buy and sell accounts receivable, invoices and other assets used as collateral for business loans, was set up in New Orleans this summer by Nicolas Perkin and Justin Brownhill. Featured in the August 21 edition of USA Today, the company was set up in New Orleans, in part, because of its’ “rebuilding fervor.”

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance has relocated from Los Angeles’ University of Southern California to Loyola University in New Orleans. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance is one of the jazz world’s foremost institutions—an organization dedicated to developing first-rate musicians who are teachers as well as performers. This move is an effort to keep jazz alive and thriving in the city where it was born. The program began in late August, to coincide with Loyola’s fall semester.

A Georgia development company is working to assemble a vast swath of Mid-City, including the Lindy Boggs Medical Center, to create a nearly contiguous 20-acre site for 1.2 million square feet of retail space for national chains. The site being assembled by Victory Real Estate Investments LLC is huge, covering more than half a square mile from Jefferson Davis Parkway to Carrollton Avenue and from Toulouse to Bienville streets.

The World Trade Center will be redeveloped into 250 residences and a 130-room Renaissance Club Sport Hotel by Marriott. The $160 million project will also involve development of an international cultural museum and the conversion of Spanish Plaza into a public entertainment area. The right to redevelop the building belongs to Full Spectrum NY LLC. Full Spectrum specializes in “green building,” or buildings that are energy efficient and made from sustainable materials.

Proposed Riverfront Development: The cooperative endeavor agreement between the city and the Port of New Orleans symbolizes the return of a four-mile stretch of Mississippi riverfront to citizens. It includes visions of riverside green space and the construction of RiverSphere — a museum and river research center — and a riverfront performing arts venue.

The board of the New Orleans Building Corp., including Mayor Ray Nagin and two City Council members, on December 21, 2006 ratified a selection committee’s recommendation that a contract be awarded to the team led by Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, a Cambridge, Mass., planning and urban design firm; Hargreaves Associates, a San Francisco and Cambridge landscape architecture firm; TEN Arquitectos, a New York and Mexico City architecture firm; and Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, a New Orleans architecture and urban design firm.

Unveiled in July, the project would reconnect the city with the Mississippi River, creating a 4.5-mile stretch of bikeways, jogging trails, cruise ship terminals and hotels on city-owned riverfront property two blocks from the French Quarter, valued at $1 billion. The plan also includes:

  • A $250 million private project to turn the World Trade Center into a hotel and entertainment venue.
  • A $250 million private deployment of a 900-room Peabody Hotel and cruise ship terminal.
  • $135 million in publicly-financed bike paths, greenways and promenades.

The project has a targeted completion date of 2018, in time for the city’s 300th birthday.

Lake Forest Plaza Redevelopment: Lake Forest Plaza, an eastern New Orleans shopping mall that has been empty since Hurricane Katrina, will be demolished to make way for a new Lowe's Home Improvement store plus another million square feet of adjoining retail space. The $147 million redevelopment plans call for Lowe's to anchor an open-air, pedestrian-friendly shopping area including a 225,000-square-foot discount retailer and a 100,000-square-foot department store.

Trump Tower Condominium Development: Set to be completed in 2009, once constructed, the Trump Tower will become the tallest building in the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana, at sixty-seven stories. At a height of over 750 feet, it will also be the tallest building along the Gulf Coast outside of Houston. It will be a multi-use building with the ground floors allocated for retail shopping, the lower floors will be luxury condo-hotels and the upper floors will be luxury condominiums. The development will have an economic impact of $100 million.

The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau ( is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism. 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, the Faubourg Marigny and Garden District - not only remains intact, both physically and spiritually, but is thriving. The New Orleans CVB is proudly welcoming visitors and business travelers every day.

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