What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry -December 2013/January 2014


  • National Geographic Traveler named New Orleans as one of the 21 must-see destinations in the world for 2014. Ranked among destinations such as such as Alentejo, Portugal; Sochi, Russia; and the West African island nation of Cabo Verde, New Orleans is one of only two cities in the United States to make this list. National Geographic Traveler says New Orleans is "the Imperishable City - New Orleans, like Rome or hope, is eternal." www.travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2014
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine revealed the results of their 2013 America's Favorite Cities survey, which asked people to rate 35 cities across the country in a number of different categories. New Orleans ranked number one in: Live Music Scene, Happy Hour, People-Watching, Wild Weekends, Cocktail Lounges and more. For the second year in a row, Travel + Leisure also reported that New Orleanians are most proud of their city compared to residents of the other 34 cities in the survey. Complete survey results can be found at www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-cities/2013.
  • Throughout the month of December, hotels, restaurants and attractions participate in Christmas New Orleans Style, offering deals and discounts for the holiday's Seasonal celebration. Highlights include:
  • Papa Noel hotel rates discounted up to 30 percent at 53 area hotels and five bed and breakfast establishments
  • Christmas Caroling by Candlelight in Jackson Square
  • 15 Free Concerts at St. Louis Cathedral
  • New "Christmas in the District" light display
  • Christmas shopping with many discounts around the city
  • Carriage rides through the French Quarter
  • Preservation Resource Center ‘Holiday Home Tour'
  • 48 restaurants serving Reveillon Dinners starting at $34
  • 12 holiday cooking demonstrations at the French Market
  • Entertaining Historic Characters from ‘Louisiana History Alive'


  • The 80th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic will feature the University of Alabama, from the Southeastern Conference, against the University of Oklahoma, from the Big 12 Conference, on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In addition to the game, the Allstate Sugar Bowl will host Fan Fest including live concerts by Imagine Dragons, O.A.R. and more, school pep rallies and football-themed activities to get fans excited for one of college football's most iconic bowl games. New Orleans will host the bowl game featuring the champions of the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences from 2014-2026. www.allstatesugarbowl.org
  • The 2013 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will kickoff on December 21st at 8 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This year's game will see the two-time New Orleans Bowl defending champion UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns take on the Tulane Green Wave. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will feature many events including the Run for the Goal Line 5-Mile, 5K and .5-Mile Kids Fun Run and their annual "Friday Night Concert" series. www.neworleansbowl.org
  • The newly renovated Carnival Sunshine, the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship to ever be homeported in New Orleans, set sail on its inaugural voyage from New Orleans to sail a seven-day itinerary through April 2014. Carnival Cruise Lines also announced its largest and newest line of ships will sail from the Port of New Orleans beginning in 2014. The Carnival Dream, the cruise line's newest and largest class of ship, will begin servicing out of New Orleans in April 2014. The Carnival Elation will continue to sail year-round out of the Port of New Orleans. Carnival is the only cruise line to operate two year-round ships from New Orleans and will carry more than 400,000 guests annually from the Port of New Orleans. www.worldsleadingcruiselines.com
  • The Riverwalk Marketplace will reopen in 2014 as The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, the nations first outlet center in the heart of a downtown. It will showcase many national retailers for the first time in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, such as Last Call by Neiman Marcus. www.riverwalkmarketplace.com
  • The city will host WrestleMania XXX, the 30th annual professional wrestling event, on Sunday, April 6, 2014 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The event, produced by the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), is expected to bring more than 80,000 visitors to the city along with a week filled with events and activities for all. The event kicks off with WrestleMania Axxess, WWE's four-day, interactive fan festival at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The events continue with the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Monday Night Raw at the New Orleans Arena. In addition to the normal action filled calendar, WrestleMania XXX offers family-friendly, philanthropic opportunities as a way to give back to the community. These events include WrestleMania Reading Challenge, allowing children to read along with their favorite superstars, and the Be a STAR anti-bullying rallies to reinforce better techniques to preventing bullying. www.wwe.com/worldwide

  • The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) opened its 2013-2014 season on October 4 with the North American premiere of Scottish Ballet's ‘A Streetcar Named Desire' at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. NOBA is the Gulf Regions premiere organization dedicated solely to dance. The season annually features a diverse lineup of world-class companies and artists. Each year, NOBA provides concerts, classes, workshops and lectures to more than 25,000 area dance enthusiasts. As part of its mainstage season, the New Orleans Ballet Association presents Diavolo Dance Theater on January 25 at 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. The production is led by artistic director Jacques Heim, who choreographed Cirque de Soleil's Las Vegas show Ka. Also of note, the evening's finale, Fluid Infinities, will feature accompaniment by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. www.nobadance.com
  • After more than eight years and a $52 million dollar renovation, the historic Saenger Theatre officially reopened its doors on October 3. Locals and visitors are taking advantage of the lineup of star-studded performances. Since the opening, acts such as comedian Jerry Seinfield, Brian Regan, and Bonnie Rait have performed at the theatre. www.saengernola.com
  • On November 21, 2013, Grammy Award-winning Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra brought The City of New Orleans to The Chicago Theatre. The 18-piece big band was joined by the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band and American Idol alumnus Haley Reinhart to create a unique experience that could only have originated in the birthplace of Jazz, New Orleans. The concert was broadcasted live on WWOZ New Orleans 90.7 FM. This event was sponsored by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and the University of New Orleans. http://www.thenojo.com/
  • The 40th Annual Bayou Classic, November 30 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, featured two collegiate teams, Grambling State University and Southern University, with one of the biggest rivalries of the South. The teams met at the 50-yard line once again and put on a show for loyal alumni and fans over Thanksgiving weekend. Before the main event, fans enjoyed a host of activities taking place in the Downtown area. From the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Battle of the Bands and Greek Show, this year's lineup entertained the masses. www.mybayouclassic.com
  • One of the largest festivals annually held in New Orleans, Voodoo Music + Art Experience, was held November 1-3. Mixing local favorites with well-known headliners created a jam-packed line-up for the festival-goers. This year, headliners included Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Kid Rock, Calvin Harris and more. www.worshipthemusic.com
  • NOLA Fashion Week, March 14-22, 2014, will bring a week-long celebration of fashion by providing Southern born or based designers a platform to gain exposure, increase sales and professional contacts. Since the inaugural season of NOLAFW in March 2011, the New Orleans Fashion Council has produced more than 80 fashion events in the greater New Orleans region with designers. NOLAFW also provides continuing education to professionals while introducing new skills to the fashion-focused community. The program brings together the region's top designers and, by doing so, creates a platform for artists to gain exposure, increase revenue and land professional contacts. The 30+ events are held at various locations in and around the Greater New Orleans area. Alongside designer-focused runway shows and presentations, events include a regional Retail Shopping Day as well as a Fashion Market. www.NOLAFW.com
  • Construction on two hospitals in one area with a combined two million square feet under construction is coming together in the BioDistrict New Orleans. The Veterans Hospital will open in the first quarter of 2015 and serve a four-state area as the largest and most advanced VA hospital in the US, and the University Medical Center will open in the Fall of 2014 to serve LSU, Tulane, and Xavier as a teaching hospital. BioDistrict plans call for the creation of 34,000 jobs, building a strong bioscience industry in New Orleans. www.biodistrictneworleans.org
  • TransitHub, a free mobile application that provides New Orleans locals and visitors an easy-to-use platform to track public transit in real-time, launched in October 2013. The goal is to improve the riders' experience and to make streetcar and bus travel more convenient. www.transithub.com

Awards and Honors

  • The New Orleans CVB was named a Gold Service Elite Bureau by Meetings & Conventions magazine, certifying the bureau as a top five CVB in the country. Meetings & Conventions recognizes CVBs and DMCs for outstanding service, accommodations, meeting facilities and food and beverage. All Gold Elite award-winners were voted in to the top-five bracket by industry leaders, meetings professionals and an audience of magazine subscribers. www.meetings-conventions.com
  • The New Orleans CVB was named a 2013 Platinum Choice Award winner by Smart Meetings magazine, one of the nation's top resources for meeting professionals, providing the latest updates in destinations, events, nationwide industry trends and more. The Smart Meetings editorial team declared winners in conjunction with votes submitted by subscribers. www.smartmeetings.com/platinum

Hotels, Restaurants and Attractions

  • Marti's Restaurant on the corner of Rampart and Dumaine Streets reopened its doors in October 2013, offering hearty bistro fare in the classic French Quarter space. Except for a few core dishes, like raw oysters, roasted oysters and a plateau de fruits de mer, the menu will change seasonally. www.martisnola.com
  • Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, located in the French Quarter, celebrated its 15th anniversary in November 2013. This well-known New Orleans restaurant offers prime steaks with a New Orleans touch, fresh seafood and innovative Creole dishes define the cuisine. It also features a clubby bar and six private dining rooms. www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com
  • The Hotel Le Marais, a boutique hotel that is part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection, has received the Expedia Insiders' Select award from the worldwide travel company. Based on more than 500,000 guest reviews submitted annually by travelers, only 650 hotels were designated the 2013 worldwide award recipients. www.hotellemarais.com
  • After a recent renovation, the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Convention Center features new wallpaper, carpets, sofas, chairs and curtains in their 192 rooms and 10 suites. The lobby also underwent a major transformation in 2012 and welcomes flexible seating, free wireless internet access and more. The décor offers a modern feel with Marriott's platinum design package while the lobby reveals the buildings historical significance by showing off exposed bricks and beams, as the building was once a sugar and molasses factory. www.marriottnewscenter.com
  • Chef Rene Bajeux has been named Executive Chef of the JW Marriott New Orleans. Chef Bajeux has been with Marriott Hotels & Resorts since 2012. In his new position at the hotel, Chef Bajeux will present his cuisine in the JW Marriott's smaller, more intimate Canal Street Grill restaurant. www.jwmarriottneworleans.com
  • The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans completed renovations of its Maison Orleans wing (the hotel's exclusive club level) in addition to the Ritz-Carlton Suite (the hotel's Presidential Suite). This makeover came shortly after the 2011 renovation of the hotel's 415 Deluxe guest rooms and 36 Executive and Junior Suites. www.ritzcarlton.com
  • The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, pays tribute to its storied past while celebrating its future with the new Fountain Lounge, a raw bar offering locals and visitors a destination for live music, creative cocktails and inventive small plates. The new lounge at the Roosevelt New Orleans, adjacent to the famous Sazerac Bar, celebrates its history by returning its original name, "Fountain Lounge," and features live entertainment with a focus on super premium and highly sought after wines by the glass. www.therooseveltneworleans.com
  • The Woman's Exchange, who owns and operates the Hermann-Gtima/Gallier Historic Houses, received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Woman's Exchange will use the funds top develop an extensive Environmental Improvements Plan with the help of experts in both historic preservation and environmental sustainability. www.imls.gov


  • New Orleans is slated to host the 63rd NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16, 2014. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at New Orleans Arena, home of the Pelicans. This will mark the second time the city hosts the NBA All-Star Game, having previously been held in New Orleans in 2008. www.nba.com/pelicans/news/new_orleans_selected__host_2_2012_04_16.html

2014 Festivals and Events

  • 80th Annual AllState Sugar Bowl/Jan. 2
  • Rock N' Roll Marathon/Feb. 2
  • Zulu Lundi Gras Festival/March 3
  • 25th Annual Lundi Gras at Spanish Plaza with Rex/March 3
  • Mardi Gras Day/March 4
  • Louisiana Oyster Jubilee/March 8
  • Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival/March 19-23
  • Congo Square/New World Rhythms Festival/March 22-23
  • Spring Fiesta/March 22-30
  • New Orleans Roadfood Festival/March 28
  • French Quarter Festival/April 10-13
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell/April 25-May 4
  • Zoo To Do for Kids/May 2
  • Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo/May 16-18
  • New Orleans Wine and Food Experience/May 21-24
  • Asian Pacific American Society Festival/May TBD
  • Greek Festival/ May 23-25
  • FestiGals/June 5-7
  • New Orleans Oyster Festival/June TBD
  • Creole Tomato Festival/ June TBD
  • Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival/June TBD
  • New Orleans Pride Festival/June TBD
  • ESSENCE Music Festival/July 3-6
  • San Fermin in Nueva Orleans/July TBD
  • Tales of the Cocktail/July 16-20
  • Satchmo SummerFest/July 31-Aug. 3
  • COOLinary New Orleans/Aug. 1-31
  • Whitney White Linen Night/Aug. 2
  • Dirty Linen Night/Aug. 9
  • New Orleans Red Dress Run/Aug. 9
  • Southern Decadence Festival/Aug. 28-Sept. 2
  • New Orleans Burlesque Festival/Sept. TBD
  • Downtown River Festival/Sept. TBD
  • Gretna Heritage Festival/Oct. TBD
  • Art for Arts' Sake/ Oct. TBD
  • New Orleans Film Festival/Oct. 9-16
  • Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival/Oct. 17-19
  • Louisiana Seafood Festival/ Oct. TBD
  • Celebracion Latina/ Oct. TBD
  • Voodoo Music + Art Experience/Oct. 24-26
  • Bayou Bacchanal/ November TBD
  • New Orleans Fringe Festival/ November TBD
  • Oak Street Poboy Festival/ November TBD
  • Treme Creole Gumbo Festival/ TBD
  • Christmas New Orleans Style/December

Festival Attendance





Mardi Gras

1 million

1 million

1 million

1 million

French Quarter Festival





Jazz and Heritage Festival


400,000 +



New Orleans Wine & Food Experience





ESSENCE Music Fest


400,000 +



Tales of the Cocktail





Satchmo SummerFest





Southern Decadence Festival


100,000 +



Voodoo Music Experience


100,000 +



Meetings and Conventions

Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2013 include:

  • American Historical Association/ Jan. 3-5
  • 5Linx Enterprises, Incorporated/ Jan. 11-13
  • Society for Personality & Social Psychology/ Jan. 16-19
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association/ Feb. 16-19
  • Ace Hardware Company Spring Convention/ Feb. 20-24
  • Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society/ March 3-7
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc./ March 18-24
  • Women's Basketball Coaches Association/ April 4-9
  • American Chemical Society/ April 6-10
  • Society Of Interventional Radiology/ April 13-17
  • National Kitchen & Bath Association/ April 19-22
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons/ April 27-30
  • Electronic Transactions Association/April 29-May 1
  • American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists/May 4-7
  • American Nusmatic Association/ May 8-10
  • WasteExpo/May 20-23
  • World Education Congress for Laundering and Dry Cleaning/June 21-23
  • Tiger-Rock Martial Arts International Championship/July 12-13
  • National Council of LA Raza/ July 19-23
  • Improved Benevolent Protective Order Of Elks Of The World/Aug. 2-8
  • MechaCon VII Anime Convention/Aug. 22-25
  • Christian Community Development Association/ Sept. 11-14
  • Society Of Cable Telecommunications Engineers Inc./Sept. 17-19
  • Society of Petroleum Engineers/ Sept. 29-Oct. 1
  • Diversified Business Communications/Oct. 9-11
  • Produce Marketing Association/Oct. 17-20
  • American Dental Association/Oct. 30-Nov. 2
  • American Academy Of Ophthalmology/Nov. 15-18
  • The Gerontological Society Of America/Nov. 20-22
  • American Society of Hematology/Dec. 6-9
  • American Society For Cell Biology/Dec. 14-17

Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2014 include:

  • National Automobile Dealers Association/Jan. 24-27
  • World of Wheels/Feb. 7-9
  • New Orleans Gift and Jewelry show/Jan. 24-27
  • New Orleans Comic Con/Feb. 7-9
  • LIMU International Convention/March 7-8
  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons/March 11-15
  • International Sleep Products Association/March 26-29
  • Access Intelligence/April 1-3
  • New Orleans Dental Conference/April 3-5
  • National School Boards Association/April 5-7
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics/April 9-12
  • American Association of Orthodontics/April 25-29
  • International Reading Association/May 9-12
  • International Jewelry Fair/ General Merchandise Show/May 16-19
  • National Science Teachers Association (STEM Forum)/May 14-17
  • Institute of Food Technologists/June 21-24
  • National Association of Counties/July 11-14
  • Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks/July 13-17
  • Association of Locksmiths of America/July 19-26
  • Louisiana Restaurant Association/Aug. 2-4
  • MechaConVII/Aug. 1-3
  • New Orleans Gift and Jewelry Show/Aug. 15-18
  • New York Life Insurance Company/Aug. 24-27
  • National Baptist Convention/Sept. 1-5
  • Infor Global Solutions/Sept. 15-18
  • International Facility Management Association/Sept. 17-19
  • Water Environment Federation/Sept. 27-Oct. 1
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists/Oct. 11-15
  • American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene/Nov. 2-6
  • National Association of REALTORS/Nov. 7-10
  • International Jewelry Fair/ General Merchandise Show/Nov. 6-9
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Nov. 16-21
  • American Public Health Association/Nov. 15-19
  • International Workboat Show/Dec 3-5


  • Southwest Airlines is increasing their air service from New Orleans with a new non-stop service to San Diego, CA beginning on April 8, 2014. Southwest Airlines is the largest airline in the New Orleans market with more than 42 percent of the market share at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. http://www.swamedia.com/
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began to discuss rolling out TSA PreTM,  part of the agency's larger effort to implement risk-based security, at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. TSA Pre✓TM is an expedited screening initiative and at MSY, select American, United, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, and US Airways frequent flyers and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs may receive expedited screening benefits when traveling.
  • Starting in November 2013, Southwest Airlines added Austin, Texas to their list of destinations. They offer one daily departure from New Orleans. http://www.flymsy.com/Files/Newsletter/Southwest-AustinNewsRelease.pdf
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with the New Orleans Aviation Board and regional elected, business and tourism leaders, announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art airport terminal on the north side of the current airport property. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport serves as a gateway to millions of tourists and business travelers each year. Creating a new airport will continue New Orleans' success as a world-class destination, along with creating more than 13,000 jobs in construction. http://www.flymsy.com/press-room/Mayor-Landrieu-Aviation-Board-and-Regional-Leaders-Announce-Plans-to-Build-New-World-Class-Airport-on-North-Side-of-MSY-1?&Sort
  • In total, $300 million worth of modernization projects were completed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport at the beginning of 2013, prior to Super Bowl XLVII. Following the expansion of Concourse D and the addition of six new gates, the Airport is continuing to focus on the construction of the new consolidated rental car facility (CONRAC), which will increase capacity to accommodate current needs and anticipated growth over the next 15 years. The new structure will increase the rental inventory from 800 cars to approximately 1,800 in a modern three-story structure. Additional airport upgrades include a new Security and Communications Center, free WiFi in the terminal, new Flight Display Information Systems, refurbished and new restrooms, a new aircraft rescue and firefighting station (ARFF), new signage, new passenger aircraft loading bridges, apron rehabilitation, a new façade on the exterior of the terminal, the installation of a new décor in the passenger terminal areas that will bring natural light into the ticketing and baggage claim areas, widening of walkways and plans for a storm-proof power and water facility.

Additional flights in 2013 include:

  • American Airlines (New daily departure to Dallas/Ft./Worth, April 2013)
  • Vacation Express (New destination, one weekly departure to Cancun, Mexico, May 2013)
  • Delta Airlines (One new daily departure to New York - JFK, June 2013)
  • Delta Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, September 2013)
  • Southwest Airlines (New destination, one daily departure to Austin, TX, November 2013)

Additional flights in 2014 include:

  • Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, March 2014)
  • Delta Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, March 2014)


  • 2012: 9.01 million visitors/$6 billion (highest visitor spending in city's history)
  • 2011: 8.75 million visitors/$5.47 billion
  • 2010: 8.3 million visitors/$5.3 billion
  • 2009: 7.5 million visitors/$4.2 billion
  • 2008: 7.6 million/$5.1 billion
  • 2007: 7.1 million/$4.8 billion
  • 2006:  3.7 million/$2.8 billion
  • 2005: July-December stats not available
  • 2005: January-June: 5.3 million/$2.6 billion
  • 2004: 10.1 million/$4.9 billion
  • 2003: 8.5 million/$4.5 billion
  • Taxes: $250-300 million in tax revenues ... more than any other business sector
  • Economic impact of tourism: $6 billion
  • Employment: Nearly 78,000
  • Hotels: 277 and 37,844 hotel rooms in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area
  • Restaurants: 1,366 (www.nomenu.com)
  • Airport: 16,437 average daily seats and 132 average daily departures serving 39 non-stop destinations

The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. The CVB and its members influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago and four foreign countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrated its 53rd anniversary in 2013.

For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, follow us on Twitter (@NewOrleans), ‘like' us on Facebook (New Orleans CVB) and view images of New Orleans via our Instagram (New Orleans CVB).

Media Contact
Sarah Forman
sforman@neworleanscvb.com                                         # # #