The new year kicked off with a bang as New Orleans played host to the 71st Annual Miss Universe competition featuring more than 80 delegates and their supporters and a worldwide viewing audience. Miss USA R’Bonney Nola Gabriel, a Filipina fashion designer from Houston, was crowned the winner. Our city and culture were on full display for an international broadcast audience of 500 million people in 165 countries. New Orleans proved once again why it’s Built to Host special events of any kind. 

With the Carnival season officially underway, there’s plenty of news to celebrate.  

  • Several of the Miss Universe Delegates were given an opportunity to march in the Joan of Arc Parade on January 7 to help kick off Mardi Gras. 
  • New Orleans & Company is partnering with the city of New Orleans, Grounds Krewe and Can Manufacturer’s Institute (CMI) with support from other non-profits dedicated to resilience and sustainability to expand upon previous Carnival recycling efforts with the new Recycle Dat! Initiative. The goal is to increase awareness of the recycling of aluminum cans and beads at hub locations along the St. Charles Avenue parade route as well as other locations around the city.  To learn more about the Recycle Dat! initiative visit ready.nola.gov/mardi-gras/recycling/
  • The Nieux Society announced the first ever Mardi Gras NFT on January 6. The 5,000 verified, unique pieces of art were created using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is the largest community led AI generated art collection created to date. For more information on the Mardi Gras NFT and the Nieux Society visit www.nieux.xyz
  • If you can’t attend parades this year, be sure to tune into to Mardi Gras for All Y’all, a virtual celebration of Carnival with music, parades, entertainment and more. The livestream is available on mardigrasforall.com.  Mardi Gras Day 2023 is February 21. 


  • 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.  
  • The Grammy Awards announced the list of nominees for the 2023 awards. Several Louisiana artists including PJ Morton, Tank and the Bangas, Lil Wayne, and Dr. John were nominated. The 65th Grammy Awards will air live on Sunday, February 5.  
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • The Audubon Zoo has been named one of the 14 best zoos in America by Travellers Worldwide.  
  • 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 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.    
  • Expressions of America premiered at the National World War II Museum on Veterans Day Weekend to rave reviews. Generously presented by the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, Expressions of America uniquely combines the latest outdoor projection technology with wartime letters and oral histories from the Museum’s collection to allow audiences to experience the stories of the WWII generation like never before.
  • 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. 


  • 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.” 
  • Kimpton Hotel Fontenot, which opened in May of 2021 and home to the acclaimed Peacock Room, announced the new property expansion will be finished in January 2023. The expansion included a new restaurant, King, 33 new guestrooms and suites as well as over 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space. King, designed by MARKZEFF, will feature a traditional French brasserie with a Mediterranean spin.  
  • The Whitney Hotel, now registered as a National Historic Landmark, is set to reopen in early 2023 following a renovation of the entire building as well as the addition of a restaurant, bar and flower shop.  
  • The Rubenstein family, known for their legendary men’s clothing store Rubensteins on the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue, announced they are turning the upstairs of the building into a 40-room boutique hotel called the Rubenstein Hotel. The hotel is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year with an opening in February 2023. 
  • Per their press release, Brechtel Hospitality announced expansion plans currently underway for its Poydras Street Property brands including Copper Vine Winepub and Vintage Rock Club. 
  • Copper Vine’s expansion will evolve the brand into Copper Vine Winepub & Inn, a ‘restaurant-first’ take on a traditional bed-and-breakfast with 11 rooms and increased restaurant floorplan for expanded dining and private events. Vintage Rock Club will double in size with the addition of a second dance floor, bar and video wall to enhance the private events and guest experience. Brechtel is also building a 6,000 sq/ft indoor/outdoor rooftop venue with full kitchen and private elevator entrance on Rampart Street. Renovations are expected to be complete by the end of 2023. 


  • Breeze Airways announced new direct services from Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham to New Orleans starting in February 2023. There will also be one stop services to and from Hartford, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island beginning in February.  


  • The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has achieved its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. 
  • This official certification from the U.S. Green Building Council makes the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center the largest LEED-certified project in Louisiana, the largest convention center project in the U.S. certified under LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance and the first convention center in the world to be awarded initial certification under Anchor LEED v4.1 O+M. The latest version of LEED certification, v4.1, raises the bar on building standards for energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality and waste reduction. 
  • The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center recently installed two new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, each can accommodate two cars at a time. The complimentary EV charging stations are located on 400 Calliope Street near the facility’s Transportation Center entrance. 
  • 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. 


  • 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
  • 2023 Festival Calendar Highlights are available here.   

To learn more about what is happening in New Orleans’ tourism industry, please read the latest issue of  Tourism Matters or visit neworleans.com.