What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry


  • The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is embarking on an ambitious new venture that will revitalize the City's riverfront. The Convention Center District Development Project, situated on 47 acres upriver from the Center, calls for construction of a new "headquarters" hotel, a linear park along Convention Center Boulevard, outdoor entertainment, arts and cultural venues and new retail and housing options. www.mccno.com
  • The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) has announced an anticipated French Quarter streetcar expansion. The 2.5-mile segment will run from Canal Street along Rampart Street until Rampart changes to St. Claude and continue to Press Street in the Bywater neighborhood. In addition, a segment will turn off St. Claude down Elysian Fields Avenue toward the river and tie in with the existing Riverfront streetcar line. www.norta.com
  • Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra has broken ground on its New Orleans Jazz Market. The new facility, located in the former Gators Department Store, will serve as a performance space and feature music education experiences, a New Orleans Jazz archive, and tributes to current and past Jazz Masters. The New Orleans Jazz Market is expected to open in March of 2015. www.thenojo.com
  • The National WWII Museum welcomed its four millionth visitor to the museum this July, capping off a record-breaking fiscal year. This number exceeds 2013 visitation by 85,000 visitors. This milestone follows the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, recognized by both New Orleans and France in worldwide media exposure. www.nationalww2museum.org
  • Local museums in New Orleans have partnered to offer a New Orleans Museum Month for the month of August. Visitors with a membership to one museum will have free entry to all participating museums. Museums include the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, The National WWII Museum and more. www.touristathomecom/new-orleans-museum-month
  • The Audubon Aquarium recently opened the Maya Reef exhibit where visitors can snorkel and dive in a recreated Mayan Reef. The plaza in front of the Aquarium is being renovated and will be complete with a water feature by 2015. In 2015 the Audubon Zoo is getting a new lazy river, which will expand the Cool Zoo and wrap around an expanded elephant exhibit. A ropes course will be added near the giraffe exhibit, and a new petting zoo will be added as well. www.auduboninstitute.org
  • The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk reopened its doors on May 22, 2014 as the nation's first outlet center in the heart of a downtown area and already welcomed its millionth visitor at the end of July. The facility underwent a $70 million renovation that expanded its footprint of 50,000 square feet to nearly 250,000 square feet. The space is leased by a mix of national and local retailers including Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus, Coach Factory Store and Kenneth Cole. www.riverwalkneworleans.com
  • The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) will reopen in its new location at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard on September 29, 2014. The former Dryades Market will be converted into the home of the SoFAB, the award-winning, unique museum of culinary culture and history. Plans for the building include the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Leah Chase Louisiana Gallery and the Gallery of the States, which will feature culinary exhibits about the South and District of Columbia. www.southernfood.org
  • Chiquita Banana's shipping operations will return to New Orleans after a nearly 40-year hiatus in the first quarter of 2015. The company, known as United Brands in the 1970s, relocated its shipping operations from the Port of New Orleans to the Port of Gulfport in the mid-1970s after more than seven decades of calling at the Port of New Orleans. The project is estimated to bring 270 to 350 new permanent jobs to New Orleans and an increase of $373 million to $485 million in total economic output over the next 10 years. www.portno.com/Chiquita_returns




  • The 10th annual COOLinary New Orleans, the city's restaurant month, will take place from August 1-31, 2014. More than 55 world-class restaurants will offer special two and three-course lunch menus for $20 or less and/or three-course dinner menus for $35 or less. The event commemorates the renowned cuisine of New Orleans and its expanding culinary community, which boasts more than 1,400 restaurants. www.coolinaryneworleans.com
  • Rodeo New Orleans, Louisiana's Richest Rodeo, is coming to the UNO Lakefront Arena September 13-14. This tri-state rodeo benefits the New Orleans Mounted Police and Molly the Pony, a local pony with a prosthetic leg. www.rodeoneworleans.com
  • NOLATech Week is returning for its second annual unconference to showcase the Big Easy's entrepreneurial startup and technology community. The weeklong event will take place from October 6-11, 2014 and will promote the city of New Orleans as an emerging global tech innovation hub by bringing local residents and business owners together with the startup community to showcase innovative technology along with the city's culture music and arts. This year the unconference will be organized into a non-profit and supported by local organizations. www.nolatechweek.org
  • East Jefferson General Hospital's Broadway in New Orleans announced the lineup of Broadway's biggest hits for the 2014-2015 season at the historic Saenger Theatre. The season will include Chicago - The Musical (October 7-12), Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (November 5-16), Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage (December 16-21), Mamma Mia! (January 13-18), Annie (February 3-8), Once (March 17-22) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (April 14-19). www.neworleans.broadway.com
  • Prospect.3, the International Contemporary Art Biennial, announced the artists and framework for its third installment. "Prospect.3: Notes for Now" opens October 25, 2014 and runs through January 25, 2015 across New Orleans, showcasing the work of more than 50 leading and emerging contemporary artists from around the world. Ten to 15 of these artists are being commissioned to create site-specific works for Prospect.3, and the exhibition includes a focus on diversity, with a high percentage of African-American and Gulf region artists. www.prospectneworleans.com
  • IndyCar, the premier American-based open-wheel racing series, will race in the New Orleans area for the first time in 2015. The open-wheel race will take place at NOLA Motorsports Park's 2.75-mile road course in Avondale, Louisiana, approximately 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans. The $60 million NOLA Motorsports Park opened in 2011. www.nolamotor.com


  • For more than 40 years, music lovers from around the globe make the pilgrimage to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell at the historic Fair Grounds Race Course. This year's festival, April 25-27 and May 1-4, featured musicians such as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Santana, Allen Toussaint and more, along with food from top restaurants and a crafts market. The festival reported estimated overall attendance reaching 435,000, an uptick from 2013's total of 425,000. www.nojazzfest.com
  • This year's Essence Music Festival, July 3-6, featured top performers and speakers over four days in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO.) With more than 550,000 attendees, Essence marked its 20th anniversary with 20 stages and a roster that included Prince, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige and over 80 other artists. Free, daytime empowerment seminars held in the MCCNO featured top speakers, and Google and Essence partnered to bring livestreams of the experiences to fans for the first time. www.essence.com/festival
  • The 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail international bartending festival and education took place July 16-20 in New Orleans, with the Hotel Monteleone as its headquarters. Bartenders and mixologists from around the globe flocked to New Orleans to discuss the newest in their industry. This year Tales of the Cocktail launched a brand new Restaurant Week in conjunction with its popular Spirited Dinners. In 2013, Tales of the Cocktail brought a record 22,770 attendees and had an economic impact of $14.1 million on the local economy. www.talesofthecocktail.com


          For a full list of festivals, click here.


Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) include:

  • New Orleans Gift and Jewelry Show | Aug. 15-18
  • New York Life Insurance Company | Aug. 24-27
  • National Baptist Convention | Sept. 1-5
  • Infor Global Solutions | Sept. 15-18
  • International Facility Management Association | Sept. 17-19
  • Water Environment Federation | Sept. 27-Oct. 1

          For a full list of conventions, click here.


  • In July 2014, New Orleans was named one of the "World's Best Cities" by Travel + Leisure readers. One of only two US cities to make the list, New Orleans ranked second only to Charleston domestically, which was credited to its authenticity. www.travelandleisure.com
  • New Orleans was named the fifth Friendliest City in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler readers in August 2014, ahead of other Southern cities Nashville and Fort Worth. www.cntraveler.com
  • In April 2014, Condé Nast Traveler readers voted New Orleans one of the "Best American Cities for Foodies." The publication gives credit to the ever-changing culinary scene, which ranges from the perfected beignets and gumbo to farm-to-table and experimenting cuisine. www.cntraveler.com
  • Travel + Leisure named New Orleans the "Best City for Night Owls," based on the city's affordable and unique late night events, in the May 2014 issue. Also, New Orleans was named "Best City for Girlfriend's Getaways," referencing the great shopping, cuisine and live music scene, and one of the "Best Cities for Barbecue." www.travelandleisure.com
  • Smart Meetings Magazine named the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO), the Hyatt Regency and the Hard Rock New Orleans recipients of its "2014 Smart Stars Awards." MCCNO received gold for Best Convention Center; the Hyatt Regency New Orleans received silver for Best Convention Center Hotel; The Hard Rock New Orleans also received silver for Best Special Event Venue. www.smartmeetings.com



  • Windsor Court Hotel was named one of Travel +Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels, the only Louisiana hotel to make the list. www.travelandleisure.com
  • The W Hotel on Poydras Street is transforming into a Le Méridien Hotel with a $29 million renovation. The hotel has transitioned to Hotel New Orleans Downtown for the remainder of its transformation and will debut as a Le Méridien hotel in December of this year. The hotel will feature a Le Méridien HubTM lobby experience, 410 renovated guestrooms, a destination restaurant and bar and a re-concepted second floor meeting space. Le Méridien is a Starwood Hotels brand. www.hotelneworleansdowntown.com
  • The Sheraton New Orleans is undergoing a $5 million renovation that includes its George Rodrigue and Jack Robinson Galleries. This new renovation follows last year's $50 million renovation. www.sheratonneworleans.com
  • For more than 100 years the buildings that currently house The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans have been towering landmarks at one end of the bustling Canal Street shopping district. Beginning this summer, the historic terra cotta façades of the Maison Blanche and S.H. Kress Co. buildings are set to undergo a $2 million process to restore the buildings to their early 20th century glory. These restorations are coupled with the recent $9 million (2011) and $5 million (2013) renovations to The Ritz-Carlton guestrooms and Club Level. www.ritzcarlton.com/NewOrleans
  • Windsor Court Hotel is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014. Windsor Court's history of hospitality began as the vision of James J. Coleman, Jr., a New Orleans entrepreneur and Anglophile. Coleman thought a location just north of the French Quarter was the very place to build a grand hotel inspired by England's Windsor Castle, complete with classic art and high tea. www.windsorcourthotel.com
  • The Grill Room at Windsor Court announced the return of John Mitchell to its food and beverage team as sommelier and director of outlets. The Grill Room is one of New Orleans' premier dining venues and the only restaurant in the city to hold both Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond dining awards. An award-winning sommelier, Mitchell brings an extensive knowledge of wine, years of experience and a passion for French and Creole cultures. www.windsorcourthotel.com
  • Loews New Orleans Hotel is celebrating a decade of hospitality in the Big Easy with a full year of events, deals and giving back to the community. Travelers can take advantage of several exclusive anniversary offers including discounted rates, complimentary in-room amenities, unique travel packages and more. Amidst the celebration, the hotel also plans to refresh the look of its rooms with new bedding, carpeting, window treatments and select furnishings. www.loewshotels.com
  • Loews New Orleans Hotel is pleased to welcome Loris Menfi as general manager. Menfi has over 20 years of hospitality experience, including previous luxury hotel experience in New Orleans. She spent the last year at Loews Philidelphia where she oversaw the completion of a $25 million renovation and led the hotel to the Loews Hotels & Resorts Hotel of the Year Award for 2013. www.loewshotels.com



  • For the fourth consecutive year, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has experienced an amazing increase in passenger volume and is the fastest growing airport in the U.S. According to the 2013 statistical summary, the airport moved 9,207,636 passengers in 2013, an 18 percent increase over the 7,787,373 passengers in 2009. The 7.1 percent increase in 2013 is credited in large part to the growth of the New Orleans region as a top flight destination for leisure, conventions and business. Today, the millions of passengers traveling from New Orleans can select one of twelve airlines presently operating on three concourses at the airport for their air travel needs. Spirit Airlines and Vacation Express are the newest airlines to begin service into New Orleans, and non-stop destinations added to the New Orleans line-up last year included Cancun, Mexico and Austin, Texas. www.flymsy.com

Additional flights in 2014 include:

  • Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, March 2014)
  • Delta Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, March 2014)
  • Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to San Diego, April 2014)
  • Vacation Express (One new weekly departure on Saturdays to Montego Bay, Jamaica, May 2014)
  • Alaska Airlines (One new daily departure to Seattle, June 2014)
  • Southwest Airlines (Twice new daily departures to Washington, D.C., August 2014)
  • Spirit Airlines (One new daily departure to Houston and Ft. Lauderdale, August 2014)
  • PEOPLExpress Airlines (Three weekly departures to Newport News/Williamsbrg, August 2014)
  • Spirit Airlines (One new daily departure to Chicago and Detroit, beginning October 2014)
  • Southwest Airlines (Thanksgiving departures to San Antonio, November 2014)



  • 2013: 9.28 million visitors | $6.47 billion (highest visitor spending in city's history)
  • 2012: 9.01 million visitors | $6 billion
  • 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: $6.47 billion
  • Employment: Nearly 78,000 
  • Hotels: 22,800 hotel rooms in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area
  • Restaurants: 1,414 (www.nomenu.com
  • Airport: 17,869 average daily seats and 138 average daily departures serving 42 non-stop destinations



The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. The CVB and its members influence 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., Chicago and four foreign countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrates its 54th anniversary in 2014.

For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, follow us on Twitter (@NewOrleans), ‘like' us on Facebook (Visit New Orleans) and view images of New Orleans via our Instagram (New Orleans CVB).



Media Contacts:
Sarah Forman

Kelley Pettus

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