NOLA and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Back in Business

Frances Ferrante, Senior Editor
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New OrleansNEW ORLEANS — Less than two weeks after Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, La., the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is up and running, other than one isolated area with minor water and roof damage that is still being restored. Though the city suffered extensive power outages, Entergy had power fully restored to the convention center on Sept. 3.

Though Solar Power International (SPI) and the co-located Energy Storage International (ESI) shows cancelled due to the hurricane, the Specialty Coffee Expo, which is expecting several thousand attendees, will begin moving in on September 27.

“They have been great supporters of New Orleans and stayed course through COVID, delta and now the hurricane,” Mike Sawaya, President of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, said. “We couldn’t be more happy to have customers like that.”

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The center has played an important role throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and now ongoing support for the hurricane relief efforts will continue for another week, including the staging of the Louisiana National Guard. “Then, we’re ready to host again. There are plenty of rooms available at hotels throughout the city and we’re ready to be back in business,” Sawaya said.

Beyond the convention center, power has been restored to 99% of the city and the streetcars are rolling again. Cultural attractions, museums, restaurants and retail shops are reopening and preparations are underway to host the NOLAxNOLA music celebration in October.

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“Hurricane Ida was a catastrophic event for bayou and coastal surrounding parishes in Louisiana, but not for New Orleans itself,” Stephen Perry, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company, said. “New Orleans had virtually no flooding and the biggest challenge we faced was power outages. Power to the downtown and tourism areas was restored in three to five days, and hotels have been fully operating and restaurants have reopened, as well as the airport, major museums and cultural attractions. We very much look forward to a normal, vibrant meetings volume this fall.”

Reach Stephen Perry at (800) 672-6124 or sperry@neworleans.com; and Mike Sawaya at (504) 582-3000 or msawaya@mccno.com