The numbers are in and we are thrilled to share with you that in 2016, New Orleans hosted a record-breaking 10.45 million visitors who spent $7.41 billion. Visitation numbers were the highest since 2004 and a 6.9 percent increase from 2015, and the spending was a 5.1 percent increase from the record-setting spending the year prior.
The research shows that the cumulative increase in spending was felt in all categories and overnight visitors to our area who stayed in hotels spent an average of $1,033 per person, per trip, stayed for an average of 4.0 nights and spent an average of $231 per person, per day.
Other useful statistics:
- Population of New Orleans, as of July 1, 2016: 391,495 (U.S. Census Bureau).
- Number of Restaurants as of August 1, 2017: 1550 (nomenu.com).
- Number of Festivals: More than 135 festivals annually. That equates to roughly one festival every three days.
- Number of Hotel Rooms: More than 22,000 in the downtown area and more than 38,000 in the greater metro area as of January 1, 2017.
- Miles of Bike Lanes: More than 100 miles of on- and off-street bikeways.
- Louis Armstrong International currently hosts 15 airlines and serves 59 nonstop destinations with approximately 150 daily departures.
- The Port Of New Orleans reported more than 1 million cruise passengers in 2016.
Major projects to be completed in 2018/2019
NOMA Sculpture Garden expansion
- In December 2017, NOMA announced a six-acre expansion of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
- The project is anticipated to be completed in winter of 2018, as part of the city’s tricentennial celebration.
- The expansion will feature new sites for sculpture, an outdoor amphitheater and stage, pedestrian bridges and walkways, a new gallery, and an outdoor learning environment.
- It will be free and open to the public seven day a week.
- For more information visit www.noma.org/sculpture-garden
Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM)
- The LCM is moving to City Park.
- LCM City Park will have indoor and outdoor environment elements, including decks, bridges, sensory and edible gardens, a floating classroom and a restored interpretive wetlands area.
- The new campus will include five new indoor exhibit galleries, a literacy center, a parent/teacher resource center, museum store and café.
- Other additions include a life-sized interactive chess board and a Mighty Mississippi exhibit.
- The museum is expected to open in early 2019.
- For more information visit www.lcm.org
Sazerac House Museum
- The Sazerac Company, an American family-owned company based in New Orleans since 1850, has purchased two buildings on the corner of Canal and Magazine Street, only a few hundred yards from the original 1850 Sazerac Coffee House site.
- The company is rehabilitating the nearly 200-year-old buildings into The Sazerac House visitor attraction and cocktail museum.
- Guests will be able to learn about the spirited history of the iconic Sazerac Cocktail, as well as many other original New Orleans brands, while exploring the unique role New Orleans has played in the bourbon and rum industries and in American cocktail culture.
- The buildings will also include a gift shop and the Sazerac Company offices, with a projection of 60 employees eventually working there, 45 of which will be new positions.
Audubon Zoo’s expansion of the African Lion Habitat
- The Audubon Zoo has begun construction on a new habitat for African lions.
- The new exhibit will be a replica of an abandoned 1920’s-era train station and the design will offer panoramic views of the site along with places for up-close looks at the animals. The habitat will be built to accommodate multiple lions.
- The project is expected to be completed in 2019, will return lions to Audubon Zoo after an absence of several years.
- Philanthropists Joy and Boysie Bollinger donated $5 million to Audubon Nature Institute to fund the design and construction of the lion exhibit. This donation is the largest single gift Audubon Zoo has ever received from a private individual or family.
- For more information visit www.audubonnatureinstitute.org
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s 50th anniversary
- The festival will mark the special 50th anniversary with a “Best Of” exhibition showcasing New Orleans musical and cultural history over the past 50 years in the Cultural Exchange Pavilion.
Eliza Jane Hotel, 315 Magazine Street
- Located in the Central Business District, the hotel 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.
- The hotel offers elegant guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Magazine Street.
- Guests can enjoy an on-site French-inspired restaurant, Couvant, and handcrafted cocktails at the Press Room.
- The hotel offers 1,729 square-feet of event space, including an open-air courtyard adjacent to Couvant.
- For more information visit www.theelizajane.hyatt.com
Peter and Paul Hotel, 2317 Burgundy Street
- The former St Peter and Paul church and school campus is currently being restored into a 71-room hotel and event space.
Hard Rock Hotel & Residences at the Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans, 1031 Canal Street
- Located on the corner of Rampart and Canal Street the 18-story hotel will feature 350 guestrooms, four meeting spaces, two ballrooms and 12,000 square-feet of event space.
- The hotel is expected to be completed in the spring of 2019.
- For more information visit www.hardrockhotels.com/new-orleans.htm
The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center
- The National World War II Museum has officially broken ground on the Higgins Hotel & Conference Center.
- Will feature 230 guestrooms and a second-floor conference center with more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space.
- The hotel is scheduled for completion in 2019.
- For more information visit www.nationalww2museum.org
Four Seasons World Trade Center, 365 Canal Street
- The New Orleans Four Seasons Hotel and Residences are investing $400 million to renovate and operate the 34-story, mixed-use development comprised of a 401-key Four Seasons hotel on the lower floors, 65 luxury condominiums on the upper floors, and Four Seasons five-star services and amenities.
- Services and amenities will include two restaurants, approximately 32,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa and fitness center, a roof-top pool and deck area, and a roof-top bar. A two-story roof-top cupola on floors 33 and 34 will be a public observation floor and roof deck.
- Visitors and the public will also have access to a cultural attraction on the second floor, which will include a series of interactive exhibits and a theater experience. The theme of the exhibits is expected to be New Orleans history and culture.
- The project is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2020. The project was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc.
Louis Armstrong International Airport
- The airport has launched a $993.7 million capital program involving the construction of a new world class terminal and related facilities on the north side of Airport property.
- The world-class North Terminal was designed by acclaimed architect Cesar Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pilli, Manning Architects and the Crescent City Aviation Team.
- The North Terminal has 35 gates, improved passenger experience with a consolidated checkpoint for ease and efficiency going through security and an in-line baggage system where passengers will just drop off their checked baggage at the ticket counters.
- Other amenities include an adjacent 2,190 space parking garage and surface parking, and concessions located down the center of the concourse.
- The North Terminal is scheduled to open February 2019.
- For more information visit www.flymsy.com
Historic Redevelopment Projects Opening Access to NOLA’s Riverfront
Canal Street Ferry Terminal
- The $37 million Ferry Terminal Project includes a new terminal building and connection between the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Plaza and the Canal Street Wharf.
- The major components of the project include a 5,000-square-foot ferry terminal, an entrance from Canal Street and connection from the Aquarium, a new wharf providing an uninterrupted connection between the Aquarium Plaza and the Canal Street Wharf, an additional upriver street car connection heading toward the convention center, the connection of the Badine Street bus station, and the purchase of eight new buses to operate in the area.
- Funding for the project came from federal grants ($23.9 million), the City of New Orleans Land Match ($4.7 million), the State of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (La DOTD) ($264,856), and the RTA ($8 million).
- The project was designed by Manning Architects and construction is anticipated to be completed in April 2019.
Ferry Pedestrian Bridge
- The $7.3 million pedestrian bridge is being funded by City capital funds ($5 million), bond proceeds from the NOBC Canal Street improvements ($900,000), and RTA funds ($1.4 million).
- The pedestrian bridge will be located next to the Aquarium, on property operated by the Audubon Nature Institute, and it will connect to a new bus terminal and the riverfront streetcar as part of the multi-modal hub being constructed by RTA.
- Construction is expected to be complete by Spring 2019 in conjunction with the Canal Street Ferry Terminal Project.
Woldenberg Riverfront Park
- Recently, Audubon Nature Institute invested over $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.
- Funding for the project came from federal Community Development Block Grant funds ($4.5 million) with the remainder ($1.5 million) coming from bond refinancing and state capital outlay dollars.
- Audubon is planning to invest approximately $1 million in a 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 is investing $3 million to revitalize the riverfront promenade that extends from St. Peter to St. Philip Streets.
- The project will include additional shade trees and native plant materials, enhanced walking surface, new lighting, and improved connection from the city to the river with prominence at Washington Artillery Park.
- The pedestrian only connection between the top of Washington Artillery Park and the riverfront will solidify the “elegant connection” from the Mississippi River to the heart of the French Quarter envisioned in the 2008 Riverfront Master Plan. The connection will add additional plaza space for river viewing.
Esplanade and Governor Nicolls Wharfs riverfront development
- 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 3 miles of contiguous public access to the riverfront from Crescent Park to Spanish Plaza. The Port is working with various hospitality partners to facilitate efforts to secure up to $15 million to convert the wharves into public park spaces.
- New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC) are investing $7.5 million to install new paving, a fountain, trees, plants, lighting, and seating to celebrate the Spanish Plaza as a primary destination on the riverfront and a world-class public venue and tourist 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 plaza’s 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.
- To design the project, the Convention Center is providing $6.2 million and NOBC is providing $1.3 million.