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New Orleans Convention Center Undergoes Transformation; City Offers New Experiences and Openings

Maddy Ryley, Managing Editor
New Orleans Convention Center Undergoes Transformation; City Offers New Experiences and Openings

NEW ORLEANS — New developments and attractions are in the works and opening in the Crescent City, with new hotels, restaurants and experiences solidifying the city as a top tier destination to visit and hold trade shows and events.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC), which holds 1.1 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space, has been undergoing significant renovations as part of the $557 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which will also lay the foundation for the development of a Convention Center Headquarter Hotel that will have a physical connection to the New Orleans convention center.

The CIP includes the upgrade to energy efficient LED exhibit hall lighting, informational technology overhauls, the installation of charging stations that are New Orleans neighborhood-themed and a 7.5-acre pedestrian park among other transformations.

“Construction is underway to transform 140 meeting rooms and lobbies and replace 1.9 million square feet of traditional roofing with a new, energy-efficient roofing system. The new roof is designed to reflect heat more effectively, and added insulation will contribute to increased energy savings. Completion of the new roof is expected in mid-2024. Our continued progress on this project is an important element in our overarching goal to make the NOENMCC more competitive in the event and meeting marketplace, which will in turn help us to have an even greater economic impact on the city and region,” Michael J. Sawaya, NOENMCC President and CEO, said.

Coming in 2024 are Caesars Hotel & Casino New Orleans and Nobu Hotel New Orleans, which will be located within the Caesars property. The launch follows Harrah’s New Orleans’ multi-million-dollar transformation. With 340 rooms and a Nobu restaurant, the hotel-casino resort sits at the foot of iconic Canal Street, steps away from the famous French Quarter and less than a mile from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

“The addition of Caesars New Orleans will offer additional value for meeting planners with built-in benefits, including several on-site restaurant openings from top names including Nina Compton, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and the team behind Nobu, as well as entertainment, shopping, spas and a new, state-of-the-art gaming complex. The hotel will also offer amazing incentive programs for corporate groups, making it an ideal addition to the city of New Orleans,” Kelly Schulz, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Relations at New Orleans & Company, said.

Schulz also said nearly $1 billion dollars in hotel renovations have been completed, are underway or are in the planning phases in the city.

In transportation news, Breeze Airways announced it would offer new summer fares from Pittsburg, Los Angeles, Jacksonville and Louisville among other cities from July 5-August 8. Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission also announced milestones for passenger rail projects along the Gulf Coast and within the I-20 Corridor. There are ongoing talks of an additional route from Baton Rouge to New Orleans as well.

Attractions and Experiences

New experiences are also in full swing in New Orleans, with the COOLinary New Orleans event taking place all through the month of August. The 19th annual culinary event allows people to try menus from more than 50 award-winning chefs, with many establishments also offering major bites for great prices.

In honor of Disney’s 100th anniversary, there is a new exhibit at The National WWII Museum, running through Sept. 24, 2023, that dives into how the company helped the war effort. Notably, the museum is slated to open the Liberation Pavilion on Nov. 3, which focuses on the end of the war, post-war years and WWII’s lasting impact.

The lively food scene in the city has new additions such as King, a French brasserie located on the Kimpton Hotel Fontenot property that opened earlier this year, along with Osteria Lupo, a restaurant that pulls inspiration from northern Italy.

“With over 1,400 restaurants in New Orleans, there’s something for every size group. Several of these restaurants offer private dining rooms to accommodate group bookings or receptions, making it seamless to host a corporate culinary event,” Schulz said.

The NOENMCC will host the inaugural NOLA Pickleball Fest, Barrett-Jackson World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions in New Orleans, and major medical conventions such as American Academy of Optometry, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the NeurIPS Conference throughout the rest of 2023.

Reach at Michael Sawaya at (504) 582-3000

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