New Orleans' monthly Media Update covers the latest travel and tourism developments around town.
New Orleans is home to some of the top museums and attractions in the country including The National World War II Museum, ranked No. 3 in the country and No. 8 in the world by TripAdvisor. Several attractions around the city are undergoing renovation and expansion. Recently completed projects include the Louisiana Children’s Museum newly situated on 8.5 acres in City Park, and the historic Sazerac House, an exploration of the spirited culture of New Orleans. Read on and discover the new ways you can immerse yourself in history and fun in the city.
Live Nation Entertainment has opened a new premier live music venue at Harrah's New Orleans Casino. Honoring the historic traditions of Fillmore music halls around the country, the new 2,200-capacity venue located inside Harrah’s New Orleans Casino showcases incredible state-of-the-art production, vintage poster art, VIP amenities, outstanding dining options and friendly hospitality that celebrates the live-concert experience. The 22,000 square-foot space can accommodate a variety of events from live concerts to seated dinners and VIP experiences.
New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting access and opportunity, and providing economic, social and cultural benefit through the local and global service industry. The facility provides education in the form of professional certificate programs as well as "Enthusiast Courses" - community seminars and classes for locals and visitors - educating the next generation to maintain New Orleans' standing as a world-class culinary and hospitality city. The 90,000 square-foot space has elegant private spaces available for every kind of event.
The Historic New Orleans Collection has expanded its operations to a third building in the French Quarter. Located just across the street from the original building on Royal Street, the new campus includes the renovation of a 19th-century structure known as the Seignouret-Brulator Building, with a state-of-the-art rear addition plus a beautiful interior courtyard. With nearly 40,000 total square feet, the site houses the institution's largest gallery spaces for permanent and changing exhibitions, dynamic interactive displays and a hands-on educational display for children and families.
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) has completed a six-acre expansion of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The expansion features new space for sculpture, an outdoor amphitheater and stage, pedestrian bridges and walkways, a new gallery and an outdoor learning environment. With sustainability a top priority, NOMA selected trees, palmettos, shrubs and other vegetation indigenous to the region aligning the art with the historical fabric of the landscape. The Sculpture Garden will continue to be free and open to the public seven days a week.
The Riverboat Louis Armstrong is New Orleans' newest large-scale venue and one of the largest riverboats in the region. The 3,000 passenger-vessel stands four decks high and honors the memory and musical legacy of one of New Orleans' most iconic and beloved musicians - Louis Armstrong. The vessel, formerly known as the City of Evansville, has been in operation since 1995. New Orleans Hospitality Enterprises began renovation in 2017 and has upgraded the vessel into a music and entertainment venue offering VIP experiences, private event rentals and gospel jazz brunch on Sundays.
Located at the corner of Canal and Magazine Streets, less than 350 yards from the original Sazerac Coffee House, The Sazerac House offers an enriching sensory experience that embodies the city's spirited and historic character. Dating back to the 1860's, the 48,000 square-foot Italianate-style building was left unoccupied for more than 30 years. In 2017, the Sazerac Company began the work of reimagining and restoring the historic building, keeping as much of the original architectural details as possible. The interactive, high-tech experience takes visitors through a journey of the history and culture of spirits in New Orleans including the world-famous Sazerac Cocktail and Sazerac's roots, dating back to the 1850s, and includes a micro-distillery on-site.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) has moved from its long-time home on Julia Street to City Park. The new LCM is situated on 8.5 acres and has been designed for Silver LEED certification. The museum includes five interactive exhibits including a 100-foot long mighty Mississippi water exhibit, plus indoor and outdoor environment elements, including decks, bridges, sensory and edible gardens, a floating classroom and a restored interpretive wetlands area. LCM has partnered with local restaurant group, Dickie Brennan & Co., for the onsite full-service cafe, Acorn, which has seating for 165, with half the seating inside and half outside. There is also be a kid's culinary lab and child size booths.
The Bollinger Canopy of Peace will soon take its place as a new landmark on the New Orleans skyline. The iconic architectural structure will rise 148 feet above the center of the institution's campus. During the daytime, the towering bright-white Canopy will serve as a beacon to visitors and locals alike; after sundown, a state-of-the-art lighting system will transform the Canopy and its support legs into a stunning new nighttime landmark for the city. The Canopy is made possible through a generous donation from longtime WWII Museum Board of Trustees member Boysie Bollinger.
Why are Girl Scout Cookies kosher? Why did Louis Armstrong wear a Jewish star necklace throughout his life? How did a Jewish navy commodore save Thomas Jefferson's Monticello? Find the answers to these questions and many more when the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience opens in New Orleans next year. The Museum will explore the unique history and culture of Southern Jews: how and when they arrived, which customs they held on to, and how they created new traditions alongside their neighbors in cities large and small across the South. If you think you know the South, you're in for some great surprises!
New Orleans is home to hundreds of hotels, hostels and B&B’s with more than a dozen properties having opened in the last five years. Whether you’re looking to live luxuriously at the new Maison de la Luz, immerse yourself in history at Hotel Peter and Paul or simply rest your head at eco-conscious HI New Orleans, these new places to stay give you somewhere unique to reenergize.
The Eliza Jane Hotel, located in the Central Business District, is two blocks away from the French Quarter and a 10-minute drive from the Garden District. Housed in what was formerly the newspaper offices of The Daily Picayune newspaper, the hotel offers elegant guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Magazine Street, 1,729 square-feet of event space, an on-site French-inspired restaurant, Couvant, and handcrafted cocktails at the Press Room.
The former Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic church and school campus has been restored and renovated into a 71-room hotel and event space. The property boasts four historic, beautifully restored buildings. The School House and The Rectory contain guestrooms in former class rooms that feature European, historic and religious aesthetics in the furnishings. The Rectory houses the five top-tier rooms on the property, plus The Elysian Bar operated by the team at local-favorite, Bacchanal. The Church is a 9,450-square-foot decommissioned red brick Catholic church designed by Henry Howard, now repurposed as a venue for all types of gatherings.
Maison de la Luz is a distinctive new guest house from Atelier Ace, designed in partnership with the acclaimed Studio Shamshiri. Located in the Warehouse District, the property features 67 guest rooms, a library bar and a curated concierge service. An elevated experience of bespoke hospitality that defines luxury as moving through the world with grace. Within the hotel, guests can enjoy craft cocktails at Bar Marilou, housed in the former City Hall library.
The National World War II Museum opened the Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, Curio Collection by Hilton, in mid-2019. The hotel features 230 guestrooms, a second-floor conference center with more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space, plus restaurants, market and a rooftop venue with stunning views of the city.
HI New Orleans Hostel, the latest development from Hosteling International, has opened in New Orleans Downtown in late 2019. The hostel features 24 private rooms, 122 dorm beds, a large common space, public cafe and community room.
Leblanc+Smith, the local hospitality team behind Cavan, Barrel Proof, Sylvain, Meauxbar and Longway Tavern, have added a hotel to their portfolio. Hotel Chloe will be a boutique-style hotel in Uptown New Orleans and feature 14 rooms, a restaurant with seating for up to 120 guests, a pool, pool bar and lobby bar. The hotel will also feature magnificent 13-foot ceilings, original fireplaces and other historic details.
The first Four Seasons-branded property in New Orleans is currently under construction in the former World Trade Center building along the Mississippi Riverfront. The 34-story, mixed-use development will house a 341-key hotel on the lower floors and 81 luxury condominiums on the upper floors. The property will include two restaurants, approximately 22,500 square feet of meeting space, a spa and fitness center, a roof-top pool and bar area, and a cultural museum. A two-story roof-top cupola on floors 33 and 34 will be a public observation floor and roof deck.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is scheduled to open the Kimpton Hotel Fontenot in New Orleans in early 2020. The new property will pay homeage to the city's rich musical history and the inspirational musicians behind it. With a prime location just blocks from the Central Business District and the French Quarter, the project will convert an existing hotel into a 202-room property with a signature restaurant and bar and a corner café. The hotel, at the intersection of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas Streets, will attract a broad spectrum of travelers with its proximity to the Convention Center, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, Harrah’s Casino, and the many other popular attractions in the Arts/Warehouse District.
New Orleans is completely reimagining the meeting experience. At the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO), transformation is happening inside and out - from the transportation hub to a new, attached headquarters hotel and a complete overhaul of the interior meeting spaces. The five-year capital improvement plan currently in place includes more than $557 million in developments and updates to the facility. The overall Convention Center District Development Project will revitalize 47 acres of land upriver from the Center with new dining, retail, entertainment and venue options.
The multi-modal transportation center has opened at MCCNO. This is the first completed phase of the $60+ million linear park development along Convention Center Boulevard. All buses, shuttles, taxis and ride-shares will now pick-up and drop-off all passengers here, improving public safety and convenience of residents, local commuters and event attendees by eliminating shuttles, taxis and ride-shares on the main roadway.
Construction of the linear park along Convention Center Boulevard is currently under way. The Boulevard will be landscaped and lit with outdoor seating along the entire length of the Center connecting pedestrians from both ends of the building as well as the Transportation Center.
A new "headquarters" hotel attached at the upriver end of the facility is a key element of the capital improvement plan. The new Omni Hotel will feature 1,200 rooms, 150,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space, street level retail and restaurants, plus amenities including a rooftop pool, bar, fitness center and spa. The hotel is slated to break ground in 2021 and open early 2024.
Several projects are currently under way to bring unprecedented access to the Mississippi Riverfront in New Orleans. Upon completion, these projects will complete more than 4.5 miles of uninterrupted public access to one of New Orleans' greatest natural features - the Mississippi River.
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Building Corporation have invested $7.5 million to install new paving, a fountain, trees, plants, lighting and seating to celebrate Spanish Plaza as a primary destination on the riverfront and a world-class public venue and visitor attraction. The original tiles, given to the city by Spain, represent the Spanish Provinces and will be retained along the interior face of the fountain. The renovated plaza will enhance the pedestrian experience, enhance the circulation between the Riverwalk and the RTA Ferry, and provide a more functional space for restaurants and other vendors to provide services to plaza patrons.
The Audubon Nature Institute and New Orleans Regional Transit Authority have partnered on construction of a new pedestrian bridge next to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, on property operated by the Audubon Nature Institute. The bridge will connect a new bus terminal and the riverfront streetcars part of the multi-modal hub being constructed by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Both projects are currently accepting and evaluating public feedback. The completion date is still being determined.
Audubon Nature Institute recently invested more than $6 million in Woldenberg Riverfront Park improvements. The work covers extensive wharf repairs, sculpture restoration, plaza perimeter repair and landscaping, including 35 palm trees, and a 90-foot linear splash pad that features a variety of light shows along the riverfront in front of the Aquarium. Audubon is planning to invest approximately $1 million in a new project that includes extensive brick repair on the plaza, lighting improvements, more landscaping and signage.
In 1975, Mayor Moon Landrieu envisioned the removal of abandoned port warehouses in front of Jackson Square and the construction of a pedestrian boardwalk with trees and seating along the river. Today, The French Market Corporation has invested $3 million to revitalize the riverfront promenade that extends from St. Peter to St. Philip Streets. The project includes additional shade trees and native plant materials, enhanced walking surface, new lighting and improved connection from the city to the Mississippi River with prominence at Washington Artillery Park. The pedestrian only connection between the top of Washington Artillery Park and the riverfront solidifies the “elegant connection” from the Mississippi River to the heart of the French Quarter envisioned in the 2008 Riverfront Master Plan.
In June 2017, the City of New Orleans, the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt partnered to align the Public Belt Railroads and its assets under the Port of New Orleans while the Port transferred the Governor Nicholls Street and Esplanade Avenue Wharves along the Mississippi River to the City of New Orleans. This agreement will complete the three miles of contiguous public access to the riverfront from Crescent Park to Spanish Plaza.