With Carnival behind us and the calendar turning to spring, festival season is ramping up in the coming weeks. 

  • The New Orleans Book Fest took place on Tulane’s campus from March 9-11 and featured several high-profile attendees and speakers including first lady Jill Biden, Bill Gates, Geraldine Brooks and Carl Berenstein.
  • ​French Quarter Festival, celebrating its 40th anniversary, announced their lineup headlined by Irma Thomas, Ani DiFranco, Tank & the Bangas, Louisiana’s LeRoux, the Soul Rebels featuring Big Freedia and several hundred thousand revelers. The free festival will take place April 13-16.
  • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announced its star-studded lineup including Dead & Company, Ed Sheeren, Lizzo and Mumford & Sons. The full music lineup can be viewed here. 2023 Festival weekend dates are April 28 – 30 and May 4 – 7.  Tickets are on sale now, click here
  • Hogs for the Cause, taking place March 31- April 1, announced its musical lineup headlined by St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Tickets to the festival are available here.
  • The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, taking place March 24-26 in the French Quarter, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Since its inception in 2003, the Saints + Sinners Literary Festival has brought together a who’s who of the LGBTQ literary world for a weekend-long extravaganza, and this year, the festival makes its highly anticipated return. Tickets are available here
  • 2023 Festival Calendar Highlights are available here.   


  • 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. 


  • Louisiana Children’s Museum announced a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tifferney M. White. White is considered a nationally recognized leader in the children’s museum field. She previously served as Chief Learning Officer of Discovery Place.  
  • At Discovery Place, she developed the strategy and vision of learning experiences across the Discovery Place museums, the STEM Education Studio, outreach opportunities, and most recently overseeing the two children’s museums. 
  • The Convention Center recently announced a new Innovation Team to focus on developing creative approaches to optimize, streamline, and transform convention center operations to assist the venue in delivering its mission to advance innovation.  
  • In addition to the Innovation Team, the Convention Center recently added a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) to their team, becoming the first convention center in the country to do so.  CDO Rocsean Spencer will work in supporting the organization’s policies and directives that mitigate bias, increase equitable outcomes, and foster respect and inclusion, and ensure that the communications and People Services programs reflect the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals. 


  • 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, is set to open 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. 
  • According to the Robb Report, “The Four Seasons New Orleans revealed plans for its Dinner with Impressionists offering that pairs acclaimed artworks with upscale cuisine. Local antiques store M.S. Rau, which sells everything from an Elizabeth Taylor-owned brooch to a $1.9 million chess set, partnered up with the luxe hotel to host you at its nearby gallery for a seven-course dinner prepared by executive sous chef Kelley Schmidt. Masterpieces by famous Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissaro will surround you as you indulge. And to pair with the stunning artwork, you’ll even be able to try on rare and extravagant jewels from names such as Harry Winston as part of a tableside presentation.” 


  • 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.


  • 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, 2023 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.” Not only does the exhibit include profiles of Disney employees who left their studios to join the Armed Forces, but it highlights the remarkable American minorities who paved the way for future Generations. 
  • The Audubon Nature Institute announced it will complete its renovation of the Audubon Aquarium of Americas and Insectarium and reopen in June 2023. This project is the biggest renovation of the Aquarium since it opened on Canal Street in 1990. In 2020, Audubon announced it would be moving Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium from the U.S. Custom House on Canal Street to the Aquarium campus on the river, building a combined experience that re-envisions Audubon’s downtown guest experience and educational programming. The new renovation will include approximately 17,000 square feet of new exhibit space constructed inside the existing walls of the Aquarium as well as 2,500 square feet of the existing Aquarium breezeway space that will be enclosed to create a shared public lobby.    
  • 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. 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. 


  • Breeze Airways announced new direct services from Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham to New Orleans started in February.  
  • Breeze recently announced seasonal one stop services to and from Hartford, Connecticut and Los Angeles, California from May-September 5. 


To learn more about what is happening in New Orleans’ tourism industry, please read the latest issue of  Tourism Matters or visit neworleans.com. The next issue will be published May 2nd.