What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry- June/July 2011


· Hyatt Regency New Orleans recently announced that it is accepting reservations to welcome its first guests on October 19, 2011, following a $275 million redesign and revitalization. The iconic hotel will feature 1,193 contemporary guest rooms and 200,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including two 25,000 sq ft ballrooms and a new 50,000 sq ft exhibit hall. Hyatt Regency New Orleans will also feature expansive food and beverage offerings, including a free standing restaurant by a nationally recognized chef, who will be announced soon. In March 2012, Hyatt Regency New Orleans and Make It Right, the non-profit organization founded by actor Brad Pitt, will host “A Night to Make It Right presented by Hyatt,” a fundraising gala to celebrate the hotel’s re-opening and help raise funds to complete Make It Right’s goal to build 150 eco-friendly homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. To kick-off fundraising efforts, the hotel donated $300,000 to help build two homes.

· Grammy Award and Billboard Award-winning trumpeter, Irvin Mayfield, has announced a partnership with the JW Marriott to bring New Orleans Irvin Mayfield’s I Club, a sophisticated music venue “where the art is.” The new club is expected to open in July 2011 and will feature live music Wednesdays-Sundays, along with fine-dining small plates and cocktails.

· The National World War II Museum achieved another milestone in its ongoing $300 million expansion project when the museum unveiled the $3 million John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion on June 4, 2011. Visitors will be able to see first-hand the techniques conservators use to repair and restore boats, vehicles, weapons and artifacts. The Museum also announced its partnership with Gray Line Tours for the VIP Victory Tour. Visitors are now able to purchase tickets to any of the museum’s attractions at all of Gray Line’s concierge desks and have the option to purchase tickets with Gray Line and the Natchez all at a discounted packaged price, adding both convenience and value-added opportunities for consumers.

· New Orleans’ festival season keeps on rolling, as the city is preparing to welcome thousands of guests for the 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival and Tales of the Cocktail. ESSENCE Fest, July Fourth weekend, features headlining artists such as Usher, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jill Scott, Trey Songz, Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson. Tales of the Cocktail, July 20-24, offers lectures, book signings, dinner pairings, cooking and mixing demonstrations in the city that invented the cocktail.

· The Louisiana Superdome will complete an $85 million renovation just in time to host ESSENCE Music Festival. Key significant enhancements include an expansion of the Plaza concourse, additional restrooms and concession points of sale on the Plaza section as well as additional 3,100 new seats and improved sight lines.

· The New Orleans CVB, in partnership with Digital Bayou HD Productions, Inc., has launched a new, four-minute promotional video titled, “A Day in New Orleans.” The video takes viewers on a tour through some of the city’s most celebrated features and attractions. To view the video, visit www.neworleanscvb.com/cityvideo.

· Local restaurateur, Ralph Brennan, was awarded the highest honor bestowed by the National Restaurant Association, the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. This award is presented annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in bringing public focus to the hospitality industry through philanthropy and community service. Ralph Brennan is the owner of Heritage Café, café b, Red Fish Grill and Ralph’s on the Park.

· The Audubon Insectarium, a museum dedicated completely to bugs, is celebrating its third anniversary. The museum opened its doors on June 13, 2008. This was the first major attraction to open in post-Katrina New Orleans. Also, Audubon Park Golf Course ranked among the best municipal courses in the country, according to Golfweek Magazine’s May 13, 2011 issue.

· Local transportation service, Limousine Livery, has announced its partnership with Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program to convert 20 Lincoln Town Cars to propane autogas, a clean-burning, American-made fuel that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs simultaneously.

· In May 2011, Rent.com ranked New Orleans as a Top Ten City for Single Men, stating its unique culture and affordability make it a top choice among this group. Also, Shutterfly.com named New Orleans one of the “Ten Most Joyous Cities in the United States.”

· June 4-12, 2011, was all about seafood, music, fresh Louisiana produce and fun when the city played host to the New Orleans Oyster Festival, the Louisiana Seafood Festival, Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival. Thousands of visitors meandered through the Historic French Market for Creole Tomato Fest, which celebrated its 25th year while approximately 16,000 festival-goers stopped by the Old U.S. Mint for the Cajun Zydeco Fest and Louisiana Seafood Fest.

· This July, the Roosevelt New Orleans will celebrate the second anniversary of its reopening after a $170 million historic restoration in 2009. Since its reopening, nearly 350,000 guests have stayed at the property.

· The Historic New Orleans Collection is mixing history and modern technology with its recently released iPhone/iPad app, Historic New Orleans. The free app allows users to take a photo of a landmark throughout New Orleans and view what the building, space or street scene looked like 100 years ago.

· The Louisiana Civil Rights Museum is presenting Race: Are We So Different?, a traveling exhibit on the history, science and everyday experience of race. The exhibit opened on June 4 at the Old U.S. Mint and has been on national tour since 2007.

· The Algiers Economic Development Foundation announced its schedule for the fourth annual Wednesdays on the Point Summer Riverfront Concert Series. The eight-week series will take place every Wednesday beginning June 22 through August 10 from 6-9 p.m. at the foot of the ferry terminal in the historic Algiers Point.

2011 Festivals
· Zulu Lundi Gras Festival/March 7
· 25th Annual Lundi Gras at Spanish Plaza with Rex/March 7
· Mardi Gras Day/March 8
· Soul Fest/March 12-13
· Spring Fiesta/March 25-April 3
· Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival/March 23-27
· Louisiana Oyster Jubilee/March 26
· New Orleans Classic Auto Festival/March 13-14
· New Orleans Roadfood Festival/March 25-27
· French Quarter Festival/April 7-10
· New Orleans Earth Day Festival & Green Business Expo/April 17
· New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell/April 29-May 8
· Mid City Bayou Boogaloo/May 20-22
· New Orleans Wine and Food Experience/May 24-28
· Greek Festival/May 27-29
· New Orleans Oyster Festival/June 4-5
· New Orleans Vieux-to-Do/June 10-12
· ESSENCE Music Festival/July 1-3
· San Fermin in Nueva Orleans/July 8-10
· Tales of the Cocktail/July 20-24
· COOLinary New Orleans/Aug. 1-31
· Satchmo SummerFest/Aug. 4-7
· Whitney White Linen Night/Aug. 6
· Dirty Linen Night/Aug. 13
· New Orleans Red Dress Run/Aug. 13
· Southern Decadence Festival/Aug. 31-Sept. 5
· New Orleans Seafood Festival/Sept. 9-11
· New Orleans Burlesque Festival/Sept. 15-17
· Gretna Heritage Festival/Oct. TBD
· Art for Arts’ Sake/Oct. TBD
· New Orleans Film Festival/Oct. 14-20
· Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival/Oct. 14-16
· Krewe of Halloween/Oct. 29
· Voodoo Music Experience/Oct. 28-30
· Louisiana Swamp Festival/Nov. TBD
· New World Rhythms Festival/Nov. 12-13
· Words and Music Literary Festival/Nov. TBD
· New Orleans Po-boy Preservation Festival/Nov. TBD
· Christmas New Orleans Style/December

· The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE), May 24-28, welcomed thousands of wine lovers to the city for a five-day bacchanalia. NOWFE brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a showcase of signature events.

· On April 7-10, 2011, French Quarter Festival presented by Capital One Bank, celebrated its 28th anniversary with nearly 533,000 festival-goers over the four-day weekend. After a record-breaking attendance of 512,000 attendees in 2010, French Quarter Festival announced the addition of Thursday, dubbed “Locals Lagniappe Day,” to the 2011 festival.

· April 29-May 1 and May 5-8, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell showcased seven-days of music with artists such as The Strokes, Bon Jovi, Willie Nelson, Terence Blanchard, Kid Rock, Mumford & Sons and The Neville Brothers. More than 400,000 Jazz Fest goers flocked to the Fair Grounds for the internationally renowned festival.

· More than one million revelers, including thousands of Spring Break travelers, celebrated Mardi Gras 2011 in New Orleans. With parades culminating on Fat Tuesday, March 8, New Orleans area hotels and the CVB reported a virtually sold-out Mardi Gras weekend, and one of the largest festivities the city has seen in 25 years.

2010 Festival Attendance
Mardi Gras 1 million +
French Quarter Festival presented by Capital One 512,000
Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell 375,000
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 10,000
ESSENCE Music Festival 400,000
Tales of the Cocktail 17,000
Satchmo SummerFest 26,000
Southern Decadence Festival 125,000-135,000
Voodoo Music Experience 125,000-150,000
Poboy Preservation Festival 45,000

2011 Festival Attendance
Mardi Gras 1 million +
French Quarter Fest 533,000
Jazz and Heritage Festival 400,000 +

· At an Earth Day press conference, the Hotel Monteleone formally announced its receipt of the Green Key Hotel Award for accomplishments in environmental management and corporate social responsibility after participating in the Green Key Eco-Rating Program. The Green Key Eco-Rating Program and Green Key Meetings Program recognize hotels, motels and resorts that are actively and continuously improving their environmental and fiscal performance. Founded in 1886, the historic Hotel Monteleone is also celebrating 125 years of hospitality in the French Quarter.

· W Hotels of New Orleans-French Quarter will unveil a multi-million dollar renovation in Fall of 2011. The property began its renovations in December 2010 and includes a full renovation of the restaurant space, a facelift to the exterior of the building and a revamp of guest rooms. The W New Orleans, located downtown, has also unveiled a newly renovated meeting space totaling 13,000 square ft and featuring 13 meeting and banquet rooms, and views of downtown New Orleans.

· The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans will undergo a $9 million guest room renovation; it’s first since opening in 2000. On October 6, 2000, it became the city’s first luxury hotel to open on Canal Street, housing 527 guest rooms, 35,000 square feet of meeting space, a 25,000 square foot day spa and fitness center. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans also announced in May that Vincent Russo has been appointed to the position of Executive Chef, to oversee the operations for M bistro, The Davenport Lounge, banquets and in-room dining for the property.

Recent Awards and Accolades
· Travel + Leisure, a top international travel publication, continues to recognize New Orleans as a must-see destination. In April, Travel + Leisure Magazine named City Park New Orleans one of 12 of “America’s Coolest City Parks.” This announcement also coincides with City Park’s latest addition to the 1,300 acre park, The City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center, which features 16 hard and 10 clay courts. Travel + Leisure also named New Orleans’ Garden District as one of “America’s Most Beautiful Landmarks.” The Windsor Court Hotel was named to Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Best Affordable Hotel List” in March 2011.

· The New Orleans Hornets had a stellar 2010-2011 season, including a close playoff match up against the Los Angeles Lakers. According to a recent study by the University of New Orleans, the Hornets are responsible for $9.8 million in annual tax revenues.

New Orleans will host the following major sporting events from 2011-2013:
· Junior Olympic games – July 27-Aug. 6, 2011
· State Farm Bayou Classic – Nov. 26, 2011
· R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Dec. 2011
· Allstate Sugar Bowl – Jan. 2012
· BCS Championship Game – Jan. 2012
· SEC Basketball Championship – March 8-11, 2012
· NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship – March 31-April 2, 2012
· Super Bowl XLVII – Feb. 2013
· NCAA Women’s Final Four – April 7-10, 2013

· Carnival Cruise Lines continues to commit to New Orleans. It was recently announced that the Carnival Ecstasy, which begins sailing four- and five-night cruises from New Orleans September 22-October 31, 2011, will be replaced by a newer ship, the Carnival Elation in November 2011. The new ship is also set to sail year-round for four- and five-night cruises from New Orleans. The city is also a homeport to the Carnival Triumph, which will be replaced by the Conquest in November 2011.

· The Voyager of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International will call New Orleans its homeport beginning November 12, 2011, and will offer seven-night cruises to the Western Caribbean, accommodating 3,835 guests.

Museums, Films and Cultural Attractions
· The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC), a museum and research center dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans, will host two major events in the upcoming months. “The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States” is concluding its three-city American tour with an eight week run at THNOC, May 11-July 30, 2011. Selected from the Archive of the Indies in Seville, these items are rarely displayed outside of Spain. THNOC will also host the New Orleans Antiques Forum August 4-7, 2011, when a distinguished group of speakers from throughout the country will discuss porcelain, silver, gardens, paintings and more.

· New Orleans continues to set the stage as a home to fine theater. Broadway Across America has committed to New Orleans for another season. Beginning September 15, 2011, hits such as The Addams Family, Rock of Ages, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Blue Man Group and Disney’s The Lion King will bring Broadway to the Mahalia Jackson Theatre.

· The historic Orpheum Theater began renovations in April and is set to reopen in 2012. The theater, which was home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, has been closed since 2005.

· The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is celebrating 100 years in 2011. NOMA, located in City Park, houses more than 30,000 art objects encompassing 4,000 years of world art. On November 13, 2010, NOMA presented the exhibition Great Collectors/Great Donors: the Making of NOMA, 1910-2010.

· The HBO hit series Tremé, which chronicles the historic neighborhood following Hurricane Katrina, began airing its second season on April 24, 2011.

· The lights of the legendary Saenger Theatre marquee shine bright again. The 2,700-seat Canal Street theatre, which originally opened in 1927, will undergo a $38.8 million restoration and is scheduled for completion in late 2011.

According to the Office of Film and Video, New Orleans boasts the most diverse portfolio of film and television work in the state of Louisiana, catering to the largest of studio features, the smallest of independent projects and also to a wide range of television and commercial productions.

Major movies and productions filming in 2011 include:
· The Loft
· Memphis Beat, Season 2
· Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

For a complete listing and more information, visit www.filmneworleans.org.

Meetings and Conventions

Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2011 include:
· American Mathematical Society and Mathematics Association of America/Jan. 6-9
· American Academy of Dermatology/Feb. 4-8
· American Physical Therapy Association/Feb. 9-12
· ESPN BassMasters Classic/Feb. 18-20
· Cisco Partner Summit/Feb. 28-March 3
· Louisiana National Guard/March 11-13
· Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/March 16-19
· Sungard Higher Education/March 20-23
· American Counseling Association/March 23-27
· American College of Cardiology/April 2-5
· American Educational Research Association/April 8-12
· National Intramural Recreational Sports Association/April 13-16
· New Orleans Dental Conference/April 14-16
· National Catholic Education Association/April 26-28
· United Fresh Produce Association/May 2-5
· American Institute of Architects/May 12-14
· Rotary International/May 21-25
· American Society of Microbiology/May 21-24
· National Conference on Volunteering & Service/June 6-8
· Institute of Food Technologists/June 11-14
· National Athletic Trainers Association/June 19-22
· American Library Association/June 23-28
· American Society of Animal Science Societies/July 10-14
· Amateur Athletic Union/July 27-Aug. 6
· Disabled American Veterans/Aug. 6-9
· Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association/Aug. 29-Sept. 1
· National Association for College Admission Counseling/Sept. 22-24
· American Public Transportation Association/Oct. 3-5
· Specialty Graphic Imaging Association/Oct. 19-21
· International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans/Oct. 30-Nov. 2
· National Association for Gifted Children/Nov. 3-6
· National Communication Association/Nov. 17-20
· Diversified Business Communications/International Workboat Show/Nov. 30-Dec. 2
· American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/Dec. 4-8

· Investors from around the globe converged in New Orleans for Entrepreneur Week, March 18-26, 2011. This annual gathering, which is made possible by the New Orleans non-profit organization The Idea Village, brings some of the nation’s most innovative minds together, including top executives from major companies and MBA students from around the country for this one-of-a-kind event.

· Chef Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon was the winner of the 2011 James Beard Awards’ Best Chef: South category on May 9, 2011.

· Former New Orleans Saints Quarterback and New Orleanian Archie Manning have partnered with Harrah’s New Orleans to open Manning’s, a restaurant and bar located in Fulton Square set to open in fall 2011.

· World-renowned chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto have announced their partnership and the formation of Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development, LLC, in which their first joint venture will be Restaurant R’evolution. The restaurant is scheduled to open in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in 2011 and will offer contemporary Creole cuisine.

· The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport reported that 2010 passenger volume increased 5.1 percent to 8,153,511, up from 7,787,373 in 2009, and exceeding the FAA’s national growth projection of 2.8 percent. The 2010 numbers are a post-Katrina record number of passengers.

· In total, a $300 million modernization project is underway at the New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport. Last March, the airport began a $16.9 million terminal improvement project that will double the size of Concourse D, creating six new gates and 8,000 square feet of space for concessions. This project, which is expected to be completed in September 2011, will create 1,000 construction jobs for the regional economy and provide an enhanced airport experience for all passengers with minimal passenger disruption.

· In July of 2010, the construction began on a new Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC). The nearly $75 million project will greatly increase rental car capacity to accommodate current needs and anticipated growth over the next 15 years and will increase capacity from 800 cars to approximately 1,800. The CONRAC will also eliminate the need for off-site shuttles to rental car facilities currently scattered throughout the area and is scheduled for completion in 2013.

Additional flights in 2011 include:

  • Southwest Airlines (Third direct flight from New Orleans to Baltimore-Washington International) beginning June 2011
  • Delta Air Lines (Daily non-stop service to Kansas City) began June 6, 2011
  • Southwest Airlines (Third direct flight from New Orleans to Nashville) beginning October 3, 2011
  • Delta Air Lines (Flying twice daily to New Orleans from Reagan National Airport in D.C.) began March 3, 2011
  • United Airlines (Non-stop service from New Orleans to San Francisco) resumed February 17, 2011


  • 2010: 8.3 million visitors / $5.3 billion (highest visitor spending in city’s history)
  • 2009: 7.5 million visitors / $4.2 billion visitor spending
  • 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: $5 billion
  • Employment: Nearly 70,000
  • Hotels: 210 and 35,550 hotel rooms
  • Restaurants: 1,205 (www.nomenu.com)
  • Airport: As of June 2011; 15,543 seats serving 37 destinations

About the New Orleans CVB
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a nationally accredited, 1,000-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. We create $5 billion in new capital each year-more than any other business sector-by attracting millions of visitors, special events and conventions. The CVB and its members persuade 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., New York, Chicago and four countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com.

Media Contact
Jenn Lotz

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