- The Allstate Sugar Bowl announced the Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff presented by Louisiana Office of Tourism to be held on Saturday, September 2 at the Caesars Superdome. Garth Brooks will headline this inaugural Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff, with opening acts for the event including Louisiana’s own Lainey Wilson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The event is expected to be an annual Labor Day weekend affair, adding another world-class musical occasion to the New Orleans calendar. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 21 on Ticketmaster.com.
- Brittany and Drew Brees announced the creation of The NOLA Pickleball Fest (“The NOLA”), an annual event benefiting the Brees Dream Foundation. The inaugural event will be held August 10-13, 2023, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The NOLA is a unique, festival-style pickleball tournament featuring 24 tournament-quality PickleRoll courts, live music, a celebrity exhibition match featuring Drew Brees, VIP experiences and much more.
- Disney will open New Orleans themed projects both in the parks and on the big screen. A New Orleans vibe will take over the recreated “Haunted Mansion,” a New Orleans-set supernatural comedy premiering this July. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, based off the New Orleans-set movie “The Princess and the Frog”, will take the place of Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
- Tales of the Cocktail will take place at a variety of New Orleans hotels, restaurants and bars July 23-28. The theme for 2023 event is VITALIZE to encapsulate the hospitality community’s vibrancy and adaptability. What started as an annual walking tour of historic New Orleans cocktail bars has now become the world’s leading cocktail conference.
- The COOLinary Restaurant Promotion, now its 19th year, will run throughout the month of August with more than 50 restaurants participating in the Grater New Orleans Area. Restaurants are curating menus that include two -course lunches for $25 dollars or less. Three-course dinner or brunch for $50 or less. A list of participating restaurants is available here.
- The 9th annual Museum Month will also run through the month of August with over 20 museums signed up to participate. Museum Month is a great opportunity to support New Orleanes’ diverse offering of museums wherein visitors can purchase a membership to one museum and then get up to two tickets to other participating museums. Some of the participating museums including the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Museum of The Southern Jewish Experience. For more information, click here.
FESTIVAL SEASON RECAP
- Essence Festival of Culture returned to downtown New Orleans June 29-July 3. Celebrities, corporate sponsors, national media and dignitaries such as the Vice President of the United States gathered in the city for a multitude of events.
- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival saw over 460,000 attendees visit the Fairgrounds over the seven-day event.
- Hogs for the Cause on the UNO Lakefront was a success, raising $3.6 million for Pediatric Brain Cancer.
- French Quarter Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary with an estimated 875,000 attendees, the largest number in its history. The 2022 French Quarter Festival, the first after a two-year hiatus prompted by the COVID pandemic, was 825,000.
- The Zurich Classic broke the record for highest attendance in a single day in tournament history on Saturday and followed that up with a strong performance on Sunday. We expect to see great national audience ratings for the coverage, which basically was a love letter to New Orleans and the region over four days.
- YLC Wednesday at the Square completed its free concert series at Lafayette Square on May 24. The nine concerts averaged 6,000 attendees weekly and pumped over $700,000 back into the New Orleans economy. Over 15,000 attendees experienced Bayou Boogaloo on Bayou St. John May 19-21, a 35% increase from the previous year.
- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival saw over 460,000 attendees visit the Fairgrounds over the seven-day event. Jazz Fest followed French Quarter Fest and Zurich Classic held in April where both events announced record breaking attendance.
- 2023 Festival Calendar Highlights are available here.
EVERYONE'S WELCOME HERE
- Pride was a month-long celebration of what we naturally do in New Orleans every day – celebrate diversity and welcome EVERYONE, especially our LGBTQ+ visitors. At New Orleans & Company we believe that travel is a force for good to unify people, knock down barriers and celebrate our differences. That’s why we are re-launching the Everyone’s Welcome Here campaign.
NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM
- The National WWII Museum will open the highly anticipated Liberation Pavilion, its final permanent exhibit hall, and officially dedicate the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground, an outdoor gathering space in the heart of the New Orleans campus, on Nov. 3, 2023.
- The November celebration will mark the completion of the $400 million Road to Victory Capital Campaign that has propelled the extraordinary growth of the Museum’s campus from one exhibit hall to seven pavilions over the past two decades.
- Liberation Pavilion explores the end of World War II, the Holocaust, the postwar years and how the war continues to impact our lives today. The three-story pavilion houses two floors of exhibit space featuring first-person accounts, iconic imagery, powerful artifacts and immersive environments, as well as a brand-new cinematic experience on the third-floor theater.
- In line with Disney’s 100th Anniversary, The National WWII Museum in New Orleans will open a special exhibit, “The Walt Disney Studios and World War II,” which explores how one of America’s most beloved entertainment companies helped achieve Allied victory. Disney and history lovers alike may visit the exhibit from now through September 24 in the Museum’s Senator John Alario, Jr. Special Exhibition Hall.
- Featuring a collection of over 500 rare historical objects and film clips, this traveling exhibit will showcase collections such as “Films and Print for Training, Propaganda, and Entertainment” and “Insignia and Morale.”
- The National WWII Museum will showcase a selection of photographer Shane Sato’s powerful portraits of Nisei WWII veterans in The Go for Broke Spirit: Legacy in Portraits, which will be on display in The Joe W. & Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery from June 30, 2023, through March 31, 2024.
- Supplemented with artifacts and oral histories from the Museum’s collection, this photo-driven special exhibit explores the selfless service, profound patriotism, and enduring legacy of the second-generation Japanese American men and women who persevered in the face of prejudice and incarceration, and risked their lives to advance the Allied effort.
AUDOBON AQUARIUM REOPENING
- The Audubon Nature Institute completed its renovation of the Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium reopening on June 8 – World Ocean’s Day. This project was the biggest renovation of the Aquarium since it opened on Canal Street in 1990. The renovation makes the Audubon campus the only aquarium/insectarium under one roof in the world.
- In its first month of operation, the Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium has welcomed over 140,000 guests, greatly exceeding projected estimates. Tickets to visit the renovated Audubon Aquarium are on sale now, click here.
The Sazerac House announced a new formal tasting schedule. Beginning July 17, the Sazerac House will host 3 tastings a day, 7 days a week: 12pm – Tropical Cocktails, 2pm – The Sazerac Cocktail, 4pm – Whiskey Grid Tasting.
SOUTHERN RAIL COMMISSION
- Southern Rail Commission (SRC) and Amtrak announced key project milestones for passenger rail projects within the I-20 Corridor and along the Gulf Coast.
- Gulf Coast Passenger Rail - Amtrak is currently running familiarization trips for the highly anticipated return of passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile.
- Baton Rouge to New Orleans Rail - Representatives from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development discussed federal funds the state is currently pursuing to advance the Baton Rouge to New Orleans Passenger Rail project.
- In 2024, Nobu Hotel New Orleans and restaurant are set to open within the newly created Caesars New Orleans, following a multimillion-dollar transformation of Harrah’s New Orleans.
- Kimpton Hotel Fontenot just announced that King, the new French brasserie, opened on the property on March 30th. The restaurant is part of the hotel's expansion into the historic building next door, and will offer seating for 125, including an outside patio in front of the restaurant on Tchoupitoulas Street. King's cuisine will be led by the hotel's Executive Chef Samuel Peery.
- New Orleans & Company announced a new program that allows visitors to ride the historic streetcar when they book a hotel stay on neworleans.com now through Labor Day.
- Breeze Airways started its seasonal one stop services to and from Hartford, Connecticut and Los Angeles, California and will continue through September 5.
- Breeze recently announced 10 new summer fares (July 5-August 8) from New Orleans. List of cities include Bentonville-Fayetteville, AR; Charleston, SC; Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Richmond, VA; and Savannah, GA.
- New Orleans was named #3 in the Travel + Leisure Readers’ 15 Favorite Cities in the United States of 2023 list. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).
- New Orleans & Company was voted as a Best DMO/CVB in the 2023 Smart Stars Awards. Smart Meetings’ audience of meeting professionals hand-selected award recipients in 31 distinguished categories, all critical to the success of their meetings and events. The Smart Stars Awards have gained notoriety as an essential tool for today’s meeting planner community and a valuable resource for venue and destination recommendations.
- New Orleans was named Top U.S. City for Neighborhood Restaurants and #2 in the Top 10 Best U.S. Food Cities in the Inaugural 2023 Global Tastemakers Awards by Food and Wine.
- New Orleans was named #2 on the Top 10 Best Food Cities in the US by Travel+Leisure. “New Orleans’ food offerings are just as diverse as its cultural influences from Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. With this in mind, it’s fitting that The Big Easy is, well, big on flavor.”
- AFAR Magazine named New Orleans one of the 10 best places in the world to travel in April, because of Jazz Fest. New Orleans was one of only two U.S. cities recommended, along with international destinations Rome, Jordan, Spain, Iceland and French Polynesia.
- New Orleans was featured in Southern Living’s Best of the South issue. The seventh annual awards recognize readers' favorite Southern destinations, hotels, restaurants and more. The cover story features Hoda Kotb and why she loves New Orleans and wants her daughters to love New Orleans as well.
- Other New Orleans attractions included in the Best of the South issue: Commander’s Palace – Best Locally Owned Restaurant in Louisiana, The Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons – Best New Hotel Bar in New Orleans, The Joint – Best BBQ in Louisiana, Hotel Monteleone – Top 10 of the South’s Best Hotels and Parkway Bakery & Tavern - The Best PoBoys In New Orleans.
- The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) received a top industry award for Best Airport in North America (5 to 15 million passengers per year) from the Airports Council International World’s 2022 Airport Service Quality program highlighting the world’s best airports as judged by their customers who are surveyed.
- MSY is one of only three airports in North America to win Best Airport recognition among those serving 5 to 15 million passengers per year.
- New Orleans & Company, in partnership with Dentsu Creative, was awarded a Gold Addy for Best of Show - Mosaic at the 2023 American Advertising Awards for its Plus One Campaign. The award speaks to the diversity and inclusion of the campaign including the people and its storytelling.
- In addition to the Gold Addy for Best of Show – Mosaic, Plus One was awarded two Silver Addys, for Online, Video and Sound – Internet Commercial for any length and up to two minutes. The campaign also gained national recognition earlier last year. In December 2022, Plus One was named one of the 30 Best Ads of 2022 by AdWeek and the only destination to be featured on the list.
- Plus One, a campaign built around the culture bearers of New Orleans, tells the story of our place and our creativity through our people. The dinner party featured talented chefs, musicians, artists, activists, civil rights icons, and members of vibrant and tight-knit New Orleans communities. New Orleans & Company released a Virtual Reality (VR) component to the campaign and is believed to be the first time a destination marketing organization has used VR. The VR experience allows people to view New Orleans through the eyes of the culture bearers. The Plus One VR experience is available on YouTube.
- New Orleans & Company’s Convention Sales Team is often recognized by trade magazines and its readers as well as meeting planners for their outstanding work showcasing the city and scheduling meetings and big events. In 2022, the Sales Team won six awards including a Prevue Visionary Award, C&IT Award of Excellence, Meetings Today “Best Of”, AC&F 15th Annual “Distinctive Achievement” Award, Smart Stars 2022 and the 2022 ConventionSouth Readers’ Choice Award.
- New Orleans has been recognized as one of the best food destinations in the 2023 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best series. New Orleans was named as the number one Best Food Destination - United States as well as finishing within the top ten in the world.
- New Orleans was celebrated and honored with two awards at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. “Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story” won Best Music Video, Long Form and “Stompin’ Ground” by Aaron Neville with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band which was featured in the “Take Me to the River” documentary won Best American Roots Performance.
- AFAR Magazine named New Orleans one of the 10 best places in the world to travel in April, because of Jazz Fest. New Orleans was one of only two U.S. cities recommended, along with international destinations Rome, Jordan, Spain, Iceland, Zambia, Bhutan, Australia and French Polynesia.
- New Orleans & Company earned the prestigious gold statuette for Best Culinary Destination – U.S.; Silver statuette in Best City Destination – Domestic; and bronze statuette in Best Tourism Board – US at the 8th annual Travvy Awards. New Orleans was also awarded the “Most Desirable City” – Rest of World - by Wanderlust Magazine at the Wanderlust Travel Awards in the United Kingdom.
- For more information about the awards click here.
- In the 2023 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, the Audubon Aquarium was ranked the No. 5 Best Aquarium and the Audubon Zoo was ranked the No. 7 Best Zoo in the United States.
- Windsor Court Hotel was voted the No. 1 hotel in New Orleans by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards. Every year Travel + Leisure shares the World's Best Awards survey asking readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe. To view Travel + Leisure’s 5 Best Hotels in New Orleans click here.
- Four Seasons New Orleans and Hotel Saint Vincent have been named to the Travel + Leisure It List 2022, the 100 Best New Hotels in the World.
- The Peacock Room at Kimpton Hotel Fontenot was awarded Best Bar in the Hemispheres Magazine 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards. Also featured, the Jazz & Heritage Festival was named the Best Cultural Festival.
- Four Seasons New Orleans and Hotel Saint Vincent have been named to the Travel + Leisure It List 2022, the 100 Best New Hotels in the World.
To learn more about what is happening in New Orleans’ tourism industry, please read the latest issue of Tourism Matters or visit neworleans.com.