FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mary Beth Romig / Kelly Schulz
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
504-606-8430 / 504-421-0962
National Association of Realtors®
NAR Press Office: Room 241
Ernest Morial Convention Center
NEW ORLEANS’ LARGEST CONVENTION IN ONE YEAR UNDERWAY: THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
25,000 - 30,000 conventioneers celebrate “NARdi Gras” and participate in community service projects Nov. 10 - 13 during another milestone event for New Orleans tourism industry
NEW ORLEANS – Nov. 10, 2006 – New Orleans is welcoming 25,000 - 30,000 realtors and guests for the 2006 REALTOR® Conference & Expo, NARdi Gras this weekend, the largest meeting in the city since Hurricane Katrina and proof that New Orleans is open for convention business.
The meeting will feature more than 200 conference sessions, 651 exhibiting companies and thousands of real estate professionals from the United States and abroad. It brings 25,000 – 30,000 attendees to the Ernest Morial Convention Center from November 10 – 13th; 7,500 peak hotel room nights to 25 hotels, and will generate $34 million in economic impact to New Orleans.
Since the return of citywide meetings to New Orleans with the 17,000-member American Library Association Conference in June 2006, the city has hosted more than 60 major meetings for corporations and associations. The return of conventions is a major boost to a city that relies on the hospitality industry for 35 percent of its annual operating budget and 85,000 jobs.
Nearly 2,000 NAR members are participating in several volunteer opportunities throughout the conference in the Habitat for Humanity Musicians’ Village, Rebuilding Together with Countrywide, and City Park landscaping. REALTORS® have demonstrated their generosity by donating $5.6 million to date to the REALTORS® Relief Fund for the Gulf and are embarking on a campaign to build 54 Habitat for Humanity homes, representing one from each state and territory.
According to Thomas Stevens, NAR president and senior vice president of NRT Inc. in Vienna, Va., “RealtorsÒ build communities and we are in the business of putting people into homes. We are proud of the work we’ve done to help rebuild this unique and wonderful community. The people of the city, its officials and businesses, have opened their arms to us to make this a great convention. We are happy to be here and work with all of you, and we are happy to help in renewing the hopes and dreams of homeownership for all families in New Orleans.”
Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau added, “We cannot fully express our gratitude to the National Association of Realtors® for their commitment and service to New Orleans, especially for the volunteer community service projects that will help so many Gulf Coast residents. The fact that the largest trade association in the United States trusted New Orleans to host its record-breaking meeting, should send a resounding message to the world that New Orleans convention business is back.”
NAR’s Conference and Expo General Session, Saturday, November 11, will feature former United States Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton and later that evening, a special NARdi Gras celebration on Bourbon Street. Thousands of NAR attendees will be in the French Quarter Saturday evening for NARdi Gras festivities including a parade, between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. that will proceed down Canal, Bourbon and St. Peter streets. Arnaud’s Restaurant’s balcony will be the “center” of activity where the leadership teams will throw beads and a jazz band and various high school bands will entertain revelers before and after the parade. The following evening, November 12, will feature a celebrity concert with New Orleans’ own Harry Connick Jr.
The city’s hospitality and tourism community united to gain the trust of meeting planning decision-makers and to roll out the red carpet for visitors. The NOMCVB’s “We’re Jazzed You’re Here!” message is visible on nearly every building and light pole in the tourism corridor of the city. More importantly, “We’re Jazzed You’re Here!” is a new customer service philosophy being implemented by the 85,000-member New Orleans hospitality community from hotel bellmen to taxi drivers to executive management to restaurant servers and more.
New Orleans’ full convention calendar for October and November included the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Society of Exploration Geophysicists, American Society of Human Genetics, American Society for Reproductive Medicine and Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology. Avaya recently held its 3,800-delegate meeting in New Orleans, making it the first Fortune 500 Company to convene at the Morial Convention Center since Katrina.
In addition to the large association meetings previously planned, advisory boards of major association and hotel corporations are choosing to host their meetings in New Orleans, allowing the CVB to showcase the city to decision-making executives and industry influencers.
More than 28,000 rooms currently are available at corporate flags and historic boutique hotels in New Orleans and the Ritz Carlton is scheduled to reopen December 4th. Nearly 1,000 restaurants in Orleans Parish alone, the Aquarium of the Americas, Mardi Gras World, The Shops at Canal Place, The Riverwalk, New Orleans Arena, Jax Brewery, Harrah’s Casino, Audubon Zoo, national museums, historic shopping districts, nightclubs and music venues are open.
The cruise industry has also made a comeback this fall, with the Delphin Renaissance, a 600-passenger luxury ship, being the first cruise ship to call on the Port of New Orleans in the post-Katrina era when it docked December 31, 2005 at the Thalia Street Wharf alongside the Port's Administration Building. The Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines have also returned. Major sporting events have returned, including the re-opening of the Louisiana Superdome.
For media credentials to NAR, please contact Lucien Salvant or visit the NAR Press Office at Room 241 of the Ernest Morial Convention Center.
The National Association of Realtors®, The Voice for Real Estate, is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.neworleanscvb.com) 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 is thriving. The New Orleans CVB is proudly welcoming visitors and business travelers every day.