What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry


  • New Orleans Steamboat Company and Gray Line Tours have announced the construction of a new Mississippi riverboat for New Orleans. The new 600-passenger boat will complement the Steamboat Natchez, offering harbor cruises, dinner cruises and private charters beginning in 2017.
    • New Orleans Steamboat Company's announcement follows Viking River Cruise's commitment to launch two new luxury riverboats on the Mississippi River in New Orleans in 2017, making New Orleans Viking's first homeport in North America. 
    • Cruising from New Orleans has become increasingly popular, and the industry is experiencing a boom: American Cruise Lines added a second riverboat to its river cruise offerings from New Orleans in April 2015, and Carnival Cruise Lines will expand its capacity in New Orleans by replacing the Carnival Triumph with the Carnival Elation in April 2016.
  • The Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences has begun a new phase in the $360 million redevelopment of New Orleans' historic World Trade Center building at 2 Canal Street. The development, chosen by the city earlier this year, will bring 350 luxury hotel rooms and 76 condos to the downtown area. 
    • The Four Seasons Hotel is one of the largest real estate investments in New Orleans' history and will bring more than 400 full-time jobs to the city after construction is completed. 
    • The Four Seasons redevelopment of World Trade Center joins a series of revitalizations along the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has embarked on a 47-acre Convention Center District Development Project to repurpose unutilized riverfront property, which will include a new "headquarters" hotel, a linear park, outdoor entertainment, arts and cultural venues and new retail and housing options. 
  • New Orleans-owned air carrier GLO will restore nonstop service to a variety of regional destinations from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Daily nonstop flights to Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee and Shreveport, Louisiana will begin in November 2015. 
    • The New Orleans startup aims to provide an easier connection to regional destinations that are beyond driving distance for both business and leisure travelers. 
    • GLO's success as a startup exemplifies New Orleans' thriving entrepreneurial business community, where entrepreneurial activity is 56 percent higher than the national average. The city's hugely successful New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, organized by incubator Idea Village, drew more than 10,000 participants for eight days of discussion, education, competition and celebration in March 2015. GLO's new flights will further benefit the local startup community, allowing businesses to connect with regional clients more easily.
  • The National World War II Museum in New Orleans has been named the number three in TripAdvisor's Top 25 Museums in America and number fifteen in the site's Top 25 Museums in the World. Only the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago ranked above The National WWII Museum. 
    • This is the second consecutive year The National WWII Museum has been honored by TripAdvisor, and the museum's ranking rose from fourth in 2014 to third in 2015. 
    • In 2014 The National WWII Museum debuted the Freedom Pavilion, featuring its first innovative Campaigns of Courage exhibit Road to Berlin focusing on the war's effects in Europe. In December 2015, the museum will unveil the second floor of the pavilion featuring a new permanent Campaigns of Courage Road to Tokyo exhibit dedicated to the Pacific. These interactive exhibits allow visitors to view the war from individual's perspectives across the globe and feature a layered multimedia experience. 
  • After a $13 million renovation, New Orleans' historic Orpheum Theater has reopened in the city's Central Business District, featuring a rebuilt acoustic shell, expanded lobby, larger seats and additional bathrooms and bars. 
    • The 1,500-seat Beaux-Arts style theater was damaged extensively by Hurricane Katrina, and the Tipitina's Foundation purchased the building last year and began renovations. 
    • The theater originally opened in 1918 for vaudeville performances, and the vertical hall was built to include perfect sight lines and acoustics before the advent of amplifiers or modern lighting. The building was added to the National Register for Historic Places in 1982.



    • The first Tremé Festival will kick off in New Orleans historic' Tremé neighborhood October 3-4, showcasing local cuisine and music to benefit St. Augustine Catholic Church.
      • ­ This free festival will be held at the corner of Henriette Delille and Governor Nicholls Streets, and musical performances include John Boutte, Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers, James Andrews and the Crescent City Allstars and many more. Attendees can also enjoy a second-line led by Roots of Music as well as a kid's fest with free activities for children.
      • St. Augustine Catholic Church, dedicated in 1842, is among the most historic in the city. The church was the first in America to welcome slaves to worship alongside free people of color, and historical figure Homer Plessy of the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision was a member of the congregation. Proceeds from the festival will fund much-needed repairs and improvements for St. Augustine.
    • The James Beard Foundation's Taste America ®: "Local Flavor from Coast to Coast" epicurean tour will visit New Orleans October 9-10, 2015. New Orleans is one of ten cities nationwide to welcome the tour for a weekend of culinary celebration featuring award-winning chefs from around the country as well as local chefs and restaurateurs. 
      • The weekend kicks off with A Night of Culinary Stars benefit at the Hyatt Regency, beginning with a cocktail hour featuring cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prepared by local James Beard Award-winning chefs. Afterwards, Taste America All-Star April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig in New York will collaborate with local chefs to prepare a one-night-only menu for a seated dinner for guests. 
      • New Orleans has long been lauded as a world-class culinary destination, with its own unique cuisine as well as some of the top chefs in the nation. Most recently Alon Shaya of Domenica was awarded Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation. Additionally, the time-honored culinary traditions of the city are still flourishing as Antoine's Restaurant, the oldest family-owned restaurant in the country, celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. 
    • The Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival will return to New Orleans October 16-23, 2015, bringing with it highly-acclaimed independent films and both locally- and nationally-renowned actors. 
      • Celebrating its 26th season in 2015, the filmmaker-favorite festival is now a qualifier for the Academy Awards in the Documentary Short Subject category, making it one of only 23 qualifier festivals in the U.S. 
      • In 2014, the festival welcomed 237 films and more than 450 filmmakers to New Orleans for a week of screenings, panels and parties.
      • Known as "Hollywood South," New Orleans' film scene is one of the largest in the nation, with more than 35 feature films and movies produced in New Orleans in 2014. In 2014, New Orleans-shot NCIS: New Orleans debuted to critical acclaim and has been renewed for another season. The show now airs internationally in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa. 
    • Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival will bring the best of the soulful genre to Lafayette Square in New Orleans October 16-18, 2015 for a free weekend of food, music and art. 
      • Performers at the tenth annual festival include Marcia Ball, Little Freddie King, Ruthie Foster, Swamp Dogg, Mason Ruffner and many more. 
      • Vendors will showcase a span of regional styles of barbecue, from the Carolinas to Louisiana. 
      • The festival will also pay homage to the arts of the South, featuring an Oral Storytelling History Stage and an Art Market.
    • The nationally acclaimed music festival Voodoo Music + Arts Experience returns to New Orleans October 30-November 1 with a lineup of internationally-acclaimed artists.
      • Headliners for the festival include Ozzy Osbourne, Zac Brown Band, Florence + The Machine, Modest Mouse, Deadma5, Jane's Addiction, Third Eye Blind, Gerard Way and many more. 
      • The Experience features art installations woven into the landscape of City Park's Festival Grounds and a local vendor marketplace. 
      • The festival is known for attendees' offbeat Halloween costumes and the unique festival culture. 
    • Halloween in New Orleans is an experience unlike any other with the city's reputation as a haunted destination and its voodoo culture. 
      • Voodoo shines through the city's voodoo priestesses and their practices, from gris gris bags for good luck to healing ceremonies. 
      • New Orleans has long been regarded one of the most haunted destinations in the world, and locals reside alongside the dead, with the city's famed above-ground cemeteries in nearly every neighborhood. 
      • Krewe of Boo, brings true New Orleans spirit to the celebration of Halloween with a parade through New Orleans' famous French Quarter, complete with colorful and detailed floats and costumed crowds. 
      • Popularized by Anne Rice, New Orleans' vampire mysteries are celebrated each Halloween with the Vampire Lestat Ball
      • As a hub for LGBT culture, Halloween would not be complete without annual Halloween New Orleans festivities benefitting Project Lazarus, a home in New Orleans for men and women with AIDS. 
    • November brings cooler weather and a variety of festivals to New Orleans, including culinary delights and city-wide theater:
      • The Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival will return to historic Tremé neighborhood November 14-15, 2015 and will feature a smorgasbord of New Orleans' signature dish in a variety of styles to the sounds of local jazz and R&B. The festival even features a Vegan Gumbo Contest. 
      • Oak Street Poboy Festival will take over Oak Street in New Orleans' Riverbend neighborhood on November 22, 2015 and will feature both traditional and inspired versions of the poboy as well as live music. Festival-goers can even vote for their favorite poboys in various categories, such as "Best Oyster" or "Best Specialty Seafood." 
      • Formerly New Orleans Fringe Festival, faux/real New Orleans celebrates the creative work of artists in theater, literature, food and drink November 4-22, 2015. Participants can attend performances, readings, tastings and parties across the city during the festival's three-week reign.

    For a full list of festivals, click here.



    New Orleans continues to garner international attention as a world-class destination. Recent honors include:



    • The Hilton New Orleans Riverside has debuted Public Belt, a new piano cocktail bar inspired by the iconic railroad brought to the city in the early twentieth century.
      • The bar pays homage to the mystique of prohibition era New Orleans with intimate nooks and live jazz alongside craft cocktails, including speakeasy favorites like the Sazerac or an Absinthe Frappe. Patrons can also sample cocktails inspired by the madams of Storyville, New Orleans' infamous red light district. 
      • From Thursday through Saturday evenings, guests can enjoy award-winning jazz played by renowned pianist Joe Krown.


    Louis Armstrong International Airport, the fastest growing airport in the U.S. will receive a new airport in 2018 and has added a variety of new flights, including:

    • GLO (Three new daily nonstop departures to Little Rock, Memphis and Shreveport, beginning November 2015)
    • Spirit Airlines (One new daily departure to Las Vegas, NV, beginning November 13, 2015)
    • Copa Airlines (One new nonstop departure to Panama four times weekly, June 24, 2015)
    • Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to Oakland, CA, June 2015) 
    • Silver Airways (Two new daily nonstop departures to Birmingham, AL and one new daily nonstop departure to Pensacola, FL, June 16, 2015)



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

    • American Academy of Optometry | October 7-10
      • Founded in 1922, the American Academy of Optometry is committed to promoting the art and science of vision care through lifelong learning. The optometry field is constantly changing. To provide the highest quality continuing education and the most current vision science research, the Academy's annual meeting includes nearly 300 hours of Lectures & Workshops, symposia, and scientific lecture and poster presentations over 4 days.
      • Projected attendance: 7,000
    • Society of Exploration Geophysicists | October 18-23
      • More than 8,500 professionals from 70 different countries will attend the largest global geoscience exhibition, featuring 1,000+ abstracts presented as part of a technical program featuring leading scientists in the field of exploration geophysics.
      • Projected attendance: 8,000

    For a full list of conventions, click here.



    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 celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2015.

    For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, follow us on Twitter (@NewOrleansCVB), ‘like' us on Facebook (New Orleans) and follow us on Instagram (VisitNewOrleans).


    Media Contacts:
    Sarah Forman

    Kelley Pettus

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