What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry -October/ November 2013



  • 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 look forward to the lineup of star-studded performances. The announcement includes a variety of entertainment beginning on September 27, including comedian Jerry Seinfield, Brian Regan, Bonnie Raitt, Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker and more. www.saengernola.com
  • A 32 percent increase in cruise passengers at the Port of New Orleans in 2012 resulted in huge gains in employment and cruise spending in Louisiana, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Port of New Orleans cruise terminals handled a record 977,703 passengers in 2012, up 32 percent compared to 2011's former record of 736,908. CLIA's report by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) found cruise industry spending last year in Louisiana grew 42.5 percent to $399 million, generating 7,548 jobs, compared to 5,512 jobs in 2011. Those jobs resulted in $294 million in income, up 39 percent, compared to the same period one year ago. CLIA's figures also rank New Orleans as the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, up from the ninth position in 2011.www.portno.com
  • Travel + Leisure ranked New Orleans as a Top City in the U.S. and Canada in this year's World's Best Awards. The city's recognition as a premiere destination has reached sixth place out of ten. It was preceded by Charleston, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Santa Fe and followed by Savannah, Quebec City, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. http://www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest/2013/cities/us-canada-cities/502
  • New Orleans is often referred to as "America's most haunted city." New Orleans psychic medium Cari Roy says it's a "paranormal gumbo" of reasons, which includes the city's age, its religious and spiritual history, and the number of historic events and larger-than-life personalities which were concentrated in a relatively small space. New Orleans has plenty of attractions and events for Halloween tourists including a Vampire Ball, haunted tours and more. www.neworleanscvb.com/halloween
  • One of the largest festivals annually held in New Orleans is the Voodoo Music + Art Experience, November 1-3. Mixing local favorites with well-known headliners creates a jam-packed line-up for the festival-goers. The option to camp at City Park is a new feature added just last year. This year, headliners include Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Kid Rock, Calvin Harris and more. http://www.worshipthemusic.com/
  • The Krewe of Boo is back in New Orleans to haunt locals and visitors with their annual Halloween parade. The Krewe of Boo will roll at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, parading through the streets of the French Quarter. After the spooktacular festivities, everyone is encouraged to stroll over to Mardi Gras World, where the party continues. www.kreweofboo.com
  • New Orleans received top honors at the 2013 World Travel Awards for excellence in sports tourism on Saturday, September 14th. This is the first time New Orleans has received the award since its inception in 2010. Nominees for the award included leading leisure travel and sports tourism destinations such as Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. http://www.neworleanscvb.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=8343&menuID=1602
  • Host Chriss Knight guides viewers behind-the-scenes of Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, and Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in The Real Wild Animals of New Orleans. The new web series, now working on season two, gives viewers a backstage pass to meet the animals and staff of Audubon Nature Institute. From animal keepers to exhibit designers, viewers will get a peek behind the curtain to see the planning and problem-solving that takes place out of the public's view at Audubon attractions. The weekly series will utilize vivid, skillfully shot video to entertain, educate and inform viewers and visitors about the popular New Orleans attractions. It is the first series of its kind. http://www.multivu.com/mnr/62694-audubon-nature-institute-real-wild-animals-of-new-orleans-chriss-knight
  • On November 21, 2013, Grammy Award-winning Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will bring The City of New Orleans to The Chicago Theatre. The 18-piece big band will be 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 will be broadcasted live on WWOZ New Orleans 90.7 FM. This event is sponsored by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and the University of New Orleans. http://www.thenojo.com/
  • Throughout the month of December, hotels, restaurants and attractions participate in Christmas New Orleans Style, offering deals and discounts for the holidays. More than 50 New Orleans hotels and bed & breakfasts offer Papa Noel deals all month long, while Reveillon Dinners, a Creole French holiday dining tradition, can be found at restaurants throughout the city. www.neworleansonline.com/holiday
  • The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board announces the 2013 Louisiana Seafood Festival, a free celebration of Louisiana's seafood heritage and most famous cuisine, fresh and flavorful seafood. The three-day festival will be hosted at the City Park Festival Grounds from October 11-13. The 2013 festival will offer menus from some of the top restaurants and caterers in the state. Attendees will enjoy live music all three days, culinary demonstrations from noted chefs and seafood education sessions. www.LouisianaSeafoodFestival.com
  • NOLA Fashion Week, September 28-October 5, brings 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
  • The 24th annual New Orleans Film Festival, October 10-17, 2013, celebrates the city's thriving film industry through this festival, which draws more than 10,000 attendees each year. It showcases both established and emerging filmmakers, allowing them to gain media exposure, connect with the region's diverse audiences, and participate in an acclaimed event attended by industry professionals as well as celebrated luminaries. www.neworleansfilmsociety.org/
  • The People United for Armstrong Park (PUfAP) is hosting the fourth season of Jazz in the Park. Armstrong Park's very own concert series each Thursday, September 5-October 31, 2013. Jazz in the Park has expanded its hours with an official opening time of noon. Congo Square will play host to an arts and crafts village, accompanied by a jazz trio and full bar. The Marketplace at Armstrong Park, in collaboration with the Institute of Community Development (icdnola.org), will offer fresh and prepared foods, and a variety of food trucks will be on hand to add to the array of menu choices. Music runs from 4-8 p.m. this season, as Jazz in the Park welcomes musicians such as the Treme Brass Band, The Soul Rebels, Jon Cleary, Rebirth Brass Band and more. www.pufap.org
  • The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation presents the 6th annual Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, November 9-10, at the historic Armstrong Park. Musicians including Glen David Andrews, John Boutte and Robin Barnes will perform, and a variety of food vendors will offer their unique takes on gumbo, the dish whose African ancestry helped to define New Orleans cuisine. New this year is a vegan gumbo contest with celebrity judges. http://www.jazzandheritage.org/treme-gumbo
  • Carnival Cruise Lines announced its largest and newest line of ships will sail from the Port of New Orleans beginning in 2014. Carnival will deploy the newly renovated Carnival Sunshine to New Orleans on November 18 to sail a seven-day itinerary through April 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 New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) opens 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. http://www.nobadance.com/
  • Swing dancers and jazz fans from around the world gather in New Orleans on October 4-7 for the 5th Annual New Orleans Swing Dance Festival featuring the 12th Annual Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. Honoring the timeless marriage between jazz dance and live music, this unique festival includes community dance lessons, dance competitions, outdoor concerts with local bands, a second line parade and more. www.lindyshowdown.net
  • Boo at the Zoo presented by Carnival Cruise Line, October 18, 19, 25 and 26 from 5-9 p.m., celebrates Halloween in a safe, fun-filled event for children up to 12 years old. It features trick-or-treat houses with candy, Ghost Train, a haunted house (scary and non-scary), games with prizes, entertainment and more. All games and treats, except concessions, are free with admission to the Audubon Zoo. http://www.auduboninstitute.org/boo-zoo
  • The New Orleans CVB announces the appointment of veteran tourism industry professional Tico Soto, CDME, as director of tourism. In his role as director of tourism, Soto will report to vice president of tourism Kim Priez and will be responsible for guiding the sales team in prospecting for new business, identifying emerging industry trends and opportunities, and working closely with the CVB's international offices. He will also coordinate participation in trade shows and sales to domestic and international tour operators, travel agents, travel packagers, online travel agencies, and other leisure travel professionals. http://www.neworleanscvb.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=8260&menuID=1602
  • 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
  • Emeril Lagasse and co-chairs Mario Batali and Donald Link host this year's Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, benefiting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, November 8. More than 3,000 guests will enjoy more than 40 national chefs' take on artisan sausage dishes, Abita Beer and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. For tickets to Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, visit www.boudinbourbonandbeer.com, or for information on Carnivale du Vin, Emeril's Annual Gala and Wine Auction on November 3, visit www.carnivaleduvin.com.
  • Each year, locals and visitors head down to the lower end of Oak Street to honor the almighty po-boy on November 24 at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. The free festival features the best po-boy creations that local restaurants have to offer, from barbequed shrimp to fried lobster, along with live music on three stages, arts and crafts, a children's section and panel discussions covering the history of the po-boy. http://www.poboyfest.com/
  • Take part in two of New Orleans' celebrated art forms, blues and barbecue, at 2013 Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, October 18-20. The Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival is a free event at Lafayette Square park, featuring a lineup of legendary blues and soul musicians, such as Jonny Lang and James Cotton. In between performances, dig into home-style barbecue and Southern dishes from vendors throughout the festival. http://www.jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest
  • The 40th Annual Bayou Classic, November 30 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, features two collegiate teams, Grambling State University and Southern University, with one of the biggest rivalries of the South. The teams will meet at the 50-yard line once again to put on a show for loyal alumni and fans this Thanksgiving weekend. Before the main event, fans can enjoy 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 is sure to entertain the masses. www.mybayouclassic.com

Awards and Honors

  • In September 2013, New Orleans was named one of the 10 Best cities for Families by Family Vacation Critic, part of the TripAdvisor® family, 10 most popular cities for families, based on members' positive reviews.

Hotels, Restaurants and Attractions

  • The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is undergoing 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 comes 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, will pay tribute to its storied past while celebrating its future with the opening of the new Fountain Lounge, a raw bar offering locals and visitors a destination for live music, creative cocktails and inventive small plates. Slated to open this fall, the new lounge at the Roosevelt New Orleans, adjacent to the famous Sazerac Bar, will celebrate its history by returning its original name, "Fountain Lounge," and will feature 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


  • WWE recently announced they will call the Mercedes-Benz Superdome home for WrestleMania30, April 6, 2014. WrestleMania is more than just a one day event, it's a week-long celebration. In addition to WrestleMania XXX, other activities will include: WrestleMania Axxess - WWE's four-day interactive fan festival at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Monday Night Raw®, WrestleMania Reading Challenge Finals, Be a STARTM anti-bullying rallies, hospital visits and other pro-social activities designed to give back to the host community. WrestleMania 30 is predicted to bring more than 125,000 people to the city. www.wwe.com/worldwide
  • 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
  • The Allstate Sugar Bowl announced that it will host the bowl game featuring the champions of the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences from 2014-2026. Hosting this game continues to put New Orleans in a national spotlight for sports. www.allstatesugarbowl.org

2013 Festivals

  • Zulu Lundi Gras Festival/Feb. 11
  • 25th Annual Lundi Gras at Spanish Plaza with Rex/Feb. 11
  • Mardi Gras Day/Feb. 12
  • Louisiana Oyster Jubilee/March 9
  • Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival/March 20-24
  • New Orleans Roadfood Festival/March 22-24
  • Spring Fiesta/March 2-10
  • Congo Square/New World Rhythms Festival/March 23-24
  • French Quarter Festival/April 11-14
  • Zoo To Do for Kids/April 26
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell/April 26-May 5
  • Mid City Bayou Boogaloo/May 17-19
  • New Orleans Wine and Food Experience/May 21-25
  • Asian Pacific American Society Festival/May 25
  • Greek Festival/ May 25-27
  • New Orleans Oyster Festival/June 1-2
  • Creole Tomato Festival/ June 8-9
  • Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival/June 8-9
  • Fried Foods Fest/June 15-16
  • New Orleans Pride Festival/June 20-23
  • FestiGals/June 20-23
  • ESSENCE Music Festival/July 4-7
  • San Fermin in Nueva Orleans/July 11-14
  • Tales of the Cocktail/July 17-21
  • COOLinary New Orleans/Aug. 1-31
  • Satchmo SummerFest/Aug. 2-4
  • Whitney White Linen Night/Aug. 3
  • Dirty Linen Night/Aug. 10
  • New Orleans Red Dress Run/Aug. 10
  • Southern Decadence Festival/Aug. 28-Sept. 2
  • Jazz in the Park Fall Series/Sept. 5-Oct. 31
  • New Orleans Burlesque Festival/ Sept. 19-21
  • Gretna Heritage Festival/Oct. 4-6
  • Art for Arts' Sake/ Oct. 4
  • Louisiana Seafood Festival/ Oct. 11-13
  • Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival/Oct. 18-20
  • New Orleans Film Festival/Oct. 10-17
  • Celebracion Latina/ Oct. 13
  • Voodoo Music + Art Experience/Nov. 1-3
  • Bayou Bacchanal/ November 2
  • New Orleans Fringe Festival/ November 20-24
  • Oak Street Poboy Festival/ November 24
  • Treme Creole Gumbo Festival/ November 9-10
  • 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 Conress 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


  • American Airlines debuted the inaugural arrival of the new Embraer E-175 aircraft at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The new jet is the result of a 12-year capacity purchase agreement between American Airlines and Republic Airways Holdings to provide large regional jet flying for the first time in American's history. ?the new Embraer jet will increase the New Orleans service by 252 incremental seats per week.
  • In total, $300 million worth of modernization projects were completed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. 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)


  • 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 75,000
  • Hotels: 277 and 37,844 hotel rooms in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area
  • Restaurants: 1,366 (www.nomenu.com)
  • Airport: 15,443 average daily seats and 127 average daily departures serving 40 non-stop destinations

About the New Orleans CVB
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. We help create $6 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, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Toronto. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrates 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

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