What’s New in New Orleans’ Hospitality Industry – February/March 2011
· More than one million revelers, including thousands of Spring Break travelers, celebrated in New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2011. With parades culminating on Fat Tuesday, March 8, New Orleans area hotels and the CVB reported a near sold-out Mardi Gras weekend, and one of the largest festivities the city has seen in 25 years.
· The $47 million New Orleans BioInnovation Center is set to open its doors in March to a new generation of innovators. Situated between the medical district and the downtown business district, the Center offers 66,000 square feet of state of the art wet-lab, office and conference space. The facility boasts a flexible 100-person conferencing center with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment; a 2,000-square-foot retail/food service area; and an interior atrium facing the courtyard, with public break areas at each level. The only LEED certified facility in New Orleans with a “gold” rating, the building will be protected by operable sunscreens to limit energy costs, create comfortable lighting and provide storm protection.
· Leisure travelers and industry leaders continue to recognize New Orleans as a top travel destination. Recently, GayCities.com named New Orleans the third most popular city in America for gay travel. Also, AOL Traveler named New Orleans a Top Budget Destination for 2011, while Rachael Ray named New Orleans a Top Three Winter Destination.
· After a record-breaking attendance of 512,000 attendees last year, French Quarter Festival presented by Capital One Bank, announced the addition of Thursday to the 2011 festival. The 2011 festival dates are April 7-10, 2011.
· ESSENCE Music Festival has announced the lineup for the 2011 festival, July 1, 2 and 3. This year’s headlining artists include Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jill Scott and Trey Songz. Also announcing their 2011 music lineup is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The seven-day festival will feature artists such as The Strokes, Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Mumford & Sons and The Neville Brothers.
· Arena football is back in New Orleans. The New Orleans VooDoo will resume playing at the New Orleans Arena on March 11 when they take on the Tampa Bay Storm.
· Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne unveiled a new tourism logo for Louisiana that includes the theme “Pick your Passion,” when delivering the State of the Tourism Industry address last month.
· Vicari Auction has announced the First Annual New Orleans Classic Auto Festival. The festival will be held on March 13-14, 2011, and will feature a preview of auction cars parading through the French Quarter and the “Royal Street Rumble” block party among other events.
· WWL-TV and Zehnder Communications have launched Experience Mardi Gras, an app available for Apple® or Droid® mobile devices offering a real-time parade tracker beginning with the Krewe of Muses on March 3 and ending with the Krewe of Zulu on March 8.
· The Louisiana State Museum has reopened It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana, an exhibit at the Presbytere showcasing nearly 1,000 rare artifacts including elaborate costumes and gowns, jewelry, krewe favors and lavish print materials, including invitations and parade posters.
· Readers of Travel + Leisure have awarded the Windsor Court Hotel a spot on the publication’s ninth annual Top 500 Hotels survey.
· The Domain Companies, a national development firm based in New Orleans and New York, is working to develop the South Market District, combining 450 first-class apartments with 170,000 square feet of upscale retail, restaurants and entertainment venues in the heart of downtown New Orleans.
2011 Festival Calendar
· Zulu Lundi Gras Festival/March 7
· 25th annual Lundi Gras at Spanish Plaza with Rex/March 7
· Mardi Gras Day/March 8
· Soul Fest/March 12-13
· Spring Fiesta/March 25-April 3
· Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival/March 23-27
· Louisiana Oyster Jubilee/March 26
· Frisco Festival/March 12-13
· New Orleans Classic Auto Festival/March 13-14
· New Orleans Roadfood Festival/March 25-27
· French Quarter Festival/April 7-10
· New Orleans Earth Day Festival & Green Business Expo/April 17
· New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell/April 29-May 8
· Mid City Bayou Boogaloo/May 20-22
· New Orleans Wine and Food Experience/May 24-28
· Greek Festival/May 27-29
· New Orleans Oyster Festival/June 4-5
· New Orleans Vieux to Do/June 10-12
· ESSENCE Music Festival/July 1-3
· San Fermin in Nueva Orleans/July 8-10
· Tales of the Cocktail/July 20-24
· COOLinary New Orleans/Aug. 1- Sept. 30
· Satchmo SummerFest/Aug. 4-7
· Whitney White Linen Night/Aug. 6
· Dirty Linen Night/Aug. 13
· New Orleans Red Dress Run/Aug. 13
· Southern Decadence Festival/Aug. 31-Sept. 5
· New Orleans Seafood Festival/Sept. TBD
· New Orleans Burlesque Festival/Sept. 15-17
· Gretna Heritage Festival/Oct. TBD
· Art for Arts’ Sake/Oct. TBD
· New Orleans Film Festival/Oct. TBD
· Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival/Oct. 14-16
· Krewe of Halloween/Oct. 29
· Voodoo Music Experience/Oct. 28-30
· Louisiana Swamp Festival/Nov. TBD
· New World Rhythms Festival/Nov. 12-13
· Words and Music Literary Festival/Nov. TBD
· New Orleans Po-boy Preservation Festival/Nov. TBD
· Christmas New Orleans Style/December
2010 Festival Attendance
Mardi Gras 1 million +
French Quarter Festival presented by Capital One 512,000
Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell 375,000
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 10,000
ESSENCE Music Festival 400,000
Tales of the Cocktail 17,000
Satchmo SummerFest 26,000
Southern Decadence Festival 125,000-135,000
Voodoo Music Experience 125,000-150,000
Poboy Preservation Festival 45,000
Recent Awards and Accolades
· New Orleans was named one of the 10 Best Cities to Hold a Business Meeting by Globe and Mail in January 2011.
· Founded in 1886, the historic Hotel Monteleone is celebrating 125 years of hospitality in the French Quarter. Year-long festivities in 2011 include special events, vacation getaway packages and a 125th anniversary gala.
· Adding nearly 1,200 high-quality rooms to the city’s inventory of 35,500, Hyatt Regency New Orleans is being completely repositioned and is set to open in the fall of 2011. The hotel is undergoing a multi-million dollar redevelopment, doubling its meeting and exhibition space to 200,000 square feet.
· The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl brought in thousands of fans for the two college bowl games held on December 18, 2010, and January 4, 2010. The Troy Trojans defeated the Ohio University Bobcats 48-21 in front of 29,159 fans, while 72,000 spectators watched the Ohio State Buckeyes defeat the Arkansas Razorbacks 31-26 for the 77th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic. The Allstate Sugar Bowl brings $140 million in economic impact to the city of New Orleans and this year’s game was sold out.
· Carnival Cruise Lines has committed an additional ship to New Orleans. The Carnival Ecstasy, a 2,617 - passenger ship, begins sailing four- and five-night cruises year-round from New Orleans on September 22, 2011. New Orleans is also the home port of the Carnival Triumph, which will be replaced by the Carnival Conquest in November 2011. Also, the Voyager of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International will call New Orleans its homeport beginning November 12, 2011. The Voyager of the Seas will offer seven-night cruises to the Western Caribbean and can accommodate 3,835 guests.
Museums, Films and Cultural Attractions
· The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is celebrating 100 years in 2011. NOMA, located in City Park, houses more than 30,000 art objects encompassing 4,000 years of world art. On November 13, 2010, NOMA presented the exhibition Great Collectors/Great Donors: the Making of NOMA, 1910-2010.
· The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation have teamed up to present “Drawn to Life: Al Hirschfeld and the Theater of Tennessee Williams.” The exhibit commemorates the centennial of Tennessee Williams’ birth and will display dozens of drawings at THNOC January 11-April 2, 2011. In addition to celebrating the 100th birthday of the legendary author, the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will also celebrate its 25th anniversary March 23-27, 2011.
· On January 2, 2011, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) opened its doors to a permanent exhibit titled Tout de Suite-All about Sugar. The exhibit aims to remind visitors and locals of the importance of sugar to New Orleans’ rich culinary culture.
· The National World War II Museum, home to the new Solomon Victory Theater, Stage Door Canteen and American Sector Restaurant, continued its $300 million expansion by breaking ground on the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: Land, Sea and Air on August 27, 2010. The new Pavilion will display large artifacts, including a B-17, and will honor all of the service branches that served in World War II. This new addition is scheduled to open by spring of 2012.
· The HBO hit series Tremé, which chronicles the historic neighborhood following Hurricane Katrina and is currently filming its second season, has released a music CD featuring several of New Orleans’ extraordinary musicians. Music is also available for digital download on iTunes. The second season of Tremé is set to air on April 24, 2011.
· The lights of the legendary Saenger Theatre marquee shine bright again. The 2,700-seat Canal Street theatre, which originally opened in 1927, will undergo a $38.8 million restoration and is scheduled for completion in late 2011.
· “Broadway Across America-New Orleans” is bringing another stellar list of performances to New Orleans for the 2011 season at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts. Theater fans can look forward to West Side Story (March 15-20) and Shrek the Musical (May 31-June 5).
· According to the Office of Film and Video, New Orleans boasts the most diverse portfolio of film and television work in the state of Louisiana, catering to the largest of studio features, the smallest of independent projects and also to a wide range of television and commercial productions.
Major movies and productions filming in 2011 include:
· Tremé, Season 2
· Memphis Beat, Season 2
For a complete listing and more information, visit www.filmneworleans.org.
Meetings and Conventions
· Investors from around the globe will once again converge in New Orleans for Entrepreneur Week, March 18-26, 2011. This annual gathering, which is made possible by the New Orleans non-profit organization The Idea Village, brings some of the nation’s most innovative minds together, including top executives from major companies and MBA students from around the country for this one-of-a-kind event.
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2011 include:
· American Mathematical Society and Mathematics Association of America/Jan. 6-9
· American Academy of Dermatology/Feb. 4-8
· American Physical Therapy Association/Feb. 9-12
· ESPN BassMasters Classic/Feb. 18-20
· Cisco Partner Summit/Feb. 28-March 3
· Louisiana National Guard/March 11-13
· Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/March 16-19
· Sungard Higher Education/March 20-23
· American Counseling Association/March 23-27
· American College of Cardiology/April 2-5
· American Educational Research Association/April 8-12
· National Intramural Recreational Sports Association/April 13-16
· New Orleans Dental Conference/April 14-16
· National Catholic Education Association/April 26-28
· United Fresh Produce Association/May 2-5
· American Institute of Architects/May 12-14
· Rotary International/May 21-25
· American Society of Microbiology/May 21-24
· National Conference on Volunteering & Service/June 6-8
· Institute of Food Technologists/June 11-14
· National Athletic Trainers Association/June 19-22
· American Library Association/June 23-28
· American Society of Animal Science Societies/July 10-14
· Amateur Athletic Union/July 27-Aug. 6
· Disabled American Veterans/Aug. 6-9
· Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association/ Aug. 29-Sept. 1
· National Association for College Admission Counseling/Sept. 22-24
· American Public Transportation Association/Oct. 3-5
· Specialty Graphic Imaging Association/Oct. 19-21
· International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans/Oct. 30-Nov. 2
· National Association for Gifted Children/Nov. 3-6
· National Communication Association/Nov. 17-20
· Diversified Business Communications/International Workboat Show/Nov. 30-Dec. 2
· American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/Dec. 4-8
· Former New Orleans Saints Quarterback and New Orleanian Archie Manning have partnered with Harrah’s New Orleans to open Manning’s, a restaurant and bar located in Fulton Square set to open in fall 2011.
· World-renowned chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto have announced their partnership and the formation of Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development, LLC, in which their first joint venture will be Restaurant R’evolution. The restaurant is scheduled to open in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in 2011 and will offer contemporary Creole cuisine.
· In total, a $300 million modernization project is underway at the New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport. Last March, the airport began a $16.9 million terminal improvement project that will double the size of Concourse D, creating six new gates and 8,000 square feet of space for concessions. This project, which is expected to be completed in September 2011, will create 1,000 construction jobs for the regional economy and provide an enhanced airport experience for all passengers with minimal passenger disruption.
· In July of 2010, the construction began on a new Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC). The nearly $75 million project will greatly increase rental car capacity to accommodate current needs and anticipated growth over the next 15 years and will increase capacity from 800 cars to approximately 1,800. The CONRAC will also eliminate the need for off-site shuttles to rental car facilities currently scattered throughout the area and is scheduled for completion by October 2012.
Additional flights in 2011 include:
TOURISM INDUSTRY STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
About the New Orleans CVB
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a nationally accredited, 1,000-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. We create $5 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 and four countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com.
# # #