This Just In
  • SMG has been acquired by private equity firm Onex Corporation for an undisclosed sum. Onex says its acquisition of
  • SMG Holdings Inc. will close in early 2018. SMG manages 240 venues, including many of the major convention centers in the U.S.
  • Halifax Convention Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada, to debut Dec. 15 with first client event scheduled for Jan. 20, 2018. …
  • Three other events — Brides 2018, the Halifax Business Awards and the Franchise Expo —
  • also are booked for early 2018. … In all, the new facility already has 90 events on the books for 2018
  • Dan Lincoln will retire as President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau at the end of the year. He spent 11 years on
  • the job. COO Mike Laatsch will be interim CEO while a nationwide search for Lincoln’s successor takes place.
  • Shepard has acquired McCune Audio-Video-Lighting in a move to bolster Shepard’s presence in the western U.S. market. McCune has California
  • operations in Anaheim, Monterey and San Francisco and will be absorbed by Shepard’s AV department.

New Orleans is  Open for Business:  Gift & Jewelry Show is the First to Return to the Morial Convention Center

Sandi Cain
, News Editor
February 15, 2006
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By Sandi Cain, News Editor

New Orleans - A portion of the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans reopened in February, almost six weeks ahead of the projected April 1 target date. The Helen Brett Gift & Jewelry Show, held in New Orleans for 54 years, will hold the first post-Katrina event at the center beginning, Feb. 17. The last Helen Brett show held there ended just four days before Hurricane Katrina hit.

The show will be held in Halls E and F of the Morial Convention Center. Halls D, E and F together contain more than 300,000 square feet at the 3.1 million-square-foot building. They were among the least damaged as a result of the hurricane.

“They’ve done an excellent job ramping up for us,” said Robert Kolinek, president of Helen Brett Enterprises.


The Helen Brett trade show is expected to bring 500 exhibitors and 20,000 buyers to New Orleans for the popular regional event. Over the past decade, four Helen Brett shows have been held annually at the convention center. Most of the attendees are from the regional drive-in market, Kolinek said, so the show typically has a hotel block of 200 to 300 rooms.

“We are delighted to be able to open the building earlier than originally anticipated with the Helen Brett gift show,” said Kathleen Ratcliffe, executive vice president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s a great boost for the tourism industry in New Orleans,” she said.


By June, eight of the convention center’s 12 halls and meeting room space are expected to be open, with full restoration expected by November. The fast pace of restoration is attributed in part to executive orders from Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco that helped expedite the process.

Following the Helen Brett trade show, the Convention Center will host three back-to-back Mardi Gras parades and balls.

As we go to press, nearly 95 percent of downtown hotels have been repaired and are open for business. Riverfront and some Canal St. streetcars are in operation and most major roads leading in and out of the city are open. Ten airlines are serving the city,  and American Airlines resumed service from New York LaGuardia on Feb. 3.

Reach  Robert Kolinek, Helen Brett Enterprises at (630) 241-9865 or; Kathleen Ratcliffe, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau at (504) 566-5044 or

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