What’s New for Visitors to New Orleans
For the fourth consecutive year, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has experienced an amazing increase in passenger volume. According to the 2013 statistical summary for enplanements and deplanements, the airport moved 9,207,636 passengers in 2013, which makes for 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 fact that the New Orleans region continues to be a top flight destination for leisure, conventions and business. Today, the millions of passengers traveling from New Orleans can select one of eleven airlines presently operating on three concourses at the airport for their air travel needs.
They are: Air Tran Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, US Airways, United Airlines and international carriers/operators Air Canada and vacationexpress.com. Spirit Airlines and Vacation Express, operated through Aero Mexico, are the newest airlines to begin service into New Orleans. New non-stop destinations added to the New Orleans line-up last year included Cancun, Mexico and Austin, Texas.
â˘ The city will host WWE WrestleMania XXX, the 30th annual professional wrestling event, on Sunday, April 6, 2014 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The event, produced by the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), is expected to bring more than 80,000 visitors to the city along with a week filled with events and activities for all. The event kicks off with WrestleMania Axxess, WWEâs four-day, interactive fan festival at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The events continue with the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Monday Night Raw at the New Orleans Arena. In addition to the normal action filled calendar, WrestleMania XXX offers family-friendly, philanthropic opportunities as a way to give back to the community. These events include WrestleMania Reading Challenge, allowing children to read along with their favorite superstars, and the Be a STAR anti-bullying rallies to reinforce better techniques to preventing bullying.
â˘ For more than 40 years, music lovers from around the globe have made the pilgrimage to the historic Fair Grounds Race Course for a lineup that reads more like a whoâs who of music legends than an event flyer. This yearâs New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell, April 25-27 and May 1-4, will feature musicians such as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Santana, Allen Toussaint and more, along with food from top restaurants and caterers and a crafts market.
â˘ The 31st Annual French Quarter Festival, April 10-13, 2014, is the largest free music festival in the South with a special focus on New Orleansâ music and food. The festival offers 20 performance stages and more than 90 food and beverage booths set among one of the countryâs most historic neighborhoods. Kidsâ activities, home tours and other festivities fill the weekend with fun.
â˘ The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk will reopen on May 22, 2014 as the nationâs first outlet center in the heart of a downtown. It will showcase many national retailers for the first time in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, such as Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Coach and Kenneth Cole.
â˘ The Young Leadership Councilâs Wednesday at the Square, the 12-week concert series, continues every Wednesday evening in Lafayette Square from 5-8 p.m. through June 4. This season features several well-known performers such as The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Marcia Ball, Theresa Anderson and more.
â˘ The People United for Armstrong Park (PUfAP) is hosting the fifth season of Jazz in the Park. Armstrong Parkâs very own concert series each Thursday, April 17-June 5, 2014. Congo Square will play host to an arts and crafts village, a second line, and the chance to see local musicians perform in Armstrong Park. The Marketplace at Armstrong Park, in collaboration with the Institute of Community Development (icdnola.org), will offer fresh and prepared foods, and a variety of food trucks will be on hand to add to the array of menu choices.
â˘ In January 2014, the Philippines Tourism Board hosted leaders from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to learn strategies and tactics needed to overcome Typhoon Haiyan. The successes of New Orleans tourism industry following natural disasters have positioned the New Orleans CVB as an expert in crisis management, disaster recovery and transforming a city 80 percent underwater to one of the worldâs must-see destinations. New Orleans CVB Executive Vice President Brad Weaber, CMP and Vice President of Communication and Public Relations Kelly Schulz traveled to the Philippines to meet with tourism stakeholders in Manila, Cebu and Boracay to guide them through the process of bringing tourism back to the Philippines. The New Orleans CVB shared their experiences, best practices and immediate recommendations on how to reclaim the Philippines as a top destination.
â˘ The National World War II Museum announced plans to unveil a new, permanent gallery, âThe Monument Men,â in the upcoming Liberation Pavilion, scheduled to open in 2016. The gallery will showcase the story of men and women who saved cultural treasures from Nazi destruction. The gallery will allow visitors to learn through an immersive experience that brings the missions of these unsung heroes to life. The gallery will lead visitors on a journey with the Monuments Men as they make their way through an Austrian salt mine to recover priceless works of art. The exhibit will also focus on the difficult job of returning these priceless works to their rightful owners.
â˘ New Orleans was named one of the top 10 convention cities, according to the âBest Convention Cityâ Readerâs Choice online poll at USA Todayâs 10best.com. The website cited the convention centerâs great location on the Mississippi River, near a number of hotels, restaurants and world-class entertainment as a factor in the Big Easy making this list.
â˘ Readers of 10Best.com named New Orleans as one of the 10 Best Romantic North American Getaways in 2014. In addition to the culinary scene, the nightlife and the culture, New Orleans offers an elegant setting for any couple.
â˘ East Jefferson General Hospital Broadway in New Orleans announced the lineup of Broadwayâs biggest hits for the 2014-2015 season, at the historic Saenger Theatre. The season will include Chicago – The Musical (October 7-12, 2014), Cameron Mackintoshâs new production of Andrew Lloyd Webberâs The Phantom of the Opera (November 5-16, 2014), Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage (December 16-21, 2014), Mamma Mia! (January 13-18, 2015), Annie (February 3-8, 2015), Once (March 17-22, 2015) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (April 14-19, 2015).
â˘ FestiGalsÂŽ, June 19-22, is a weekend festival dedicated to celebrating women! Fashion, food, friendship and fun, FestiGalsÂŽ is the original girlfriend getaway for women to recharge and reconnect with a relaxing, festive and authentic New Orleans experience. Fridayâs luncheon features Tory Johnson, weekly contributor for ABCâs Good Morning America, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Shift, and contributing editor for SUCCESS Magazine. Celebrity Chef Kevin Belton will also stir it up in the kitchen at a culinary presentation at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Saturday, June 21, is FestiGals signature event, Bodacious Bras For A Cause luncheon and auction fundraiser, showcasing a collection of creative Bra-Art designed by celebrities. The Saints & Sinners Sunday Brunch, June 22, features comedian Becky Allen and more.
â˘ New Orleans hosted the 63rd NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16, 2014 at the Smoothie King Arena, home of the Pelicans. All-Star Weekend kicked off on Friday, February 14, with the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. The fun continued throughout the weekend with NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, the Sprint Pre-Game Concert and the 63rd NBA All-Star Game on February 16. Additionally, fans enjoyed the NBA All-Star Jam Session, the worldâs largest interactive basketball theme park at the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, as well as a full schedule of NBA Cares events aimed at giving back to the Greater New Orleans community. This event was the second time the city hosted the NBA All-Star Game, having previously been held in New Orleans in 2008.
â˘ BUKU Music + Art Project, March 21-22, a progressive music and arts festival, featured local and national artists such as The Flaming Lips, David Guetta, Ellie Goulding and more. Located at Mardi Gras World, the festival also offered the BUKU Graffiti Wall, indigenous art exhibits, local cuisine and a unique VIP section on a historic steamboat on the Mississippi River.
â˘ January 2014 marked the 20th anniversary for the House of Blues New Orleans, the oldest operating venue in the House of Blues family. Founders Isaac Tigrett and Dan Aykroyd teamed together with a group of celebrity friends to launch this restaurant and entertainment venue in New Orleans. Since the opening, the French Quarter venue has hosted thousands of shows including Bob Dylan, George Clinton, Willie Nelson, Elton John and more.
â˘ Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport announced that Alaska Airlines will begin scheduled service from New Orleans to Seattle, Washington. Alaska will inaugurate the new non-stop service on June 12, 2014 with their 737-800 aircraft. The new daily service will depart Seattle at 10:15 a.m. and arrive in New Orleans at 5 p.m. The carrier will depart New Orleans at 5:55 p.m. and arrive in Seattle at 8:50 p.m.
â˘ Flight Centre, an award-winning Australian travel site, named New Orleans a Top Destination to visit in 2014. Highlighting the easy accessibility from Australia, the cityâs walkability and the variety of music and cuisine offered, New Orleans is the only U.S. city to make Flight Centreâs Top 10 list. Created by Flight Centreâs team of experts, the list is compiled according to three factors: including what the company believes to be emerging hotspots, what its customers are enquiring about and what the travel industry is offering next year. Flight Centre also reports that adventure and a gourmet lifestyle will shape the holiday plans of travelers in 2014.
â˘ The newly renovated Carnival Sunshine, the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship to ever be homeported in New Orleans, set sail on its inaugural voyage from New Orleans to sail a seven-day itinerary through April 2014. Carnival Cruise Lines also announced its largest and newest line of ships will sail from the Port of New Orleans beginning in 2014. The Carnival Dream, the cruise lineâs newest and largest class of ship, will begin servicing out of New Orleans in April 2014. The Carnival Elation will continue to sail year-round out of the Port of New Orleans. Carnival is the only cruise line to operate two year-round ships from New Orleans and will carry more than 400,000 guests annually from the Port of New Orleans.
â˘ National Geographic Traveler named New Orleans as one of the 21 must-see destinations in the world for 2014. Ranked among destinations such as such as Alentejo, Portugal; Sochi, Russia; and the West African island nation of Cabo Verde, New Orleans is one of only two cities in the United States to make this list. National Geographic Traveler says New Orleans is âthe Imperishable City – New Orleans, like Rome or hope, is eternal.â
Hotels, Restaurants and Attractions
â˘ Windsor Court Hotel is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014. Windsor Courtâs history of hospitality began as the vision of James J. Coleman, Jr., a New Orleans entrepreneur and Anglophile. Mr. Coleman thought a location just north of the French Quarter was the very place to build a grand hotel inspired by Englandâs Windsor Castle, complete with classic art and high tea.
â˘ 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 looking for a great deal can take advantage of several exclusive anniversary offers planned throughout the year including discounted rates, complimentary in-room amenities, unique travel packages and more. And, for groups and meetings, the hotel is offering 10 percent off the published price of all dinner menus for groups for 25 or more through 2014. Meeting and group planners can simply ask for the anniversary dinner special upon booking. Amidst the celebration, the hotel also plans to refresh the look of its rooms. New bedding, carpeting, window treatments and select furnishings will be swapped out in 2014 to welcome the hotel into its next decade of business.
â˘ The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, was named in Hotel.comâs âTop Guest-Rated U.S. Hotels of 2013â list and Travel + Leisureâs âAmericaâs Best Hotels for Christmasâ list. The hotel earned a place in the Best Spa Hotels category in Hotel.com. The site acknowledged the Guerlain Spa at the Roosevelt for the award thanks to its â180 year tradition in beauty and relaxation.â Travel + Leisure cited the hotelâs beautiful lobby decorations, its annual holiday Teddy Bear Tea and the many festive events during the holiday season as reasons for naming it among the best hotels in America for Christmas.
â˘ The Hotel Monteleone received its 27th annual Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings, making it the only hotel in New Orleans to receive this consecutive honor, and its third consecutive Incentive Platinum Partners Award from the Incentive Magazine. The Pinnacle Awards are given to meeting destinations and organizations that have done an outstanding job servicing their meetings, incentive travel programs, trade shows and conventions during the year.
â˘ The Saint Hotel, a boutique property in New Orleans, has completed the hotelâs five luxury suites, which make up the entire second floor of the 166-room, eight-story property. Each suite offers Egyptian cotton linens, Bose Wave sound systems, at least two 60-inch televisions and much more. The two, 1,800-square-foot master suites, named for the opposing Archangels Michael and Lucifer, feature spacious living and entertainment spaces and a bar.
â˘ 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 Orleansâ 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.
â˘ The historic Pontchartrain Hotel has re-opened as the luxury hotel it was previously. Originally built in 1927, The Pontchartrain Hotel has long been a cherished landmark in the historic Garden District of New Orleans. Sitting directly on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, The Pontchartrain Hotel offers 82 spacious suites with a variety of floor plans that lend themselves to both the one night business traveler as well as long term guests. Each suite offers the comforts of a stylish apartment in the city with stunning views, full kitchenettes and more.
â˘ Dickie Brennanâs Steakhouse, located in the French Quarter, celebrated its 15th anniversary in November 2013. This well-known New Orleans restaurant offers prime steaks with a New Orleans touch, fresh seafood and innovative Creole dishes define the cuisine. It also features a clubby bar and six private dining rooms.
â˘ The Hotel Le Marais, a boutique hotel that is part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection, has received the Expedia Insidersâ Select award from the worldwide travel company. Based on more than 500,000 guest reviews submitted annually by travelers, only 650 hotels were designated the 2013 worldwide award recipients.
â˘ After a recent renovation, the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Convention Center features new wallpaper, carpets, sofas, chairs and curtains in their 192 rooms and 10 suites. The lobby also underwent a major transformation in 2012 and welcomes flexible seating, free wireless internet access and more. The dĂŠcor offers a modern feel with Marriottâs platinum design package while the lobby reveals the buildings historical significance by showing off exposed bricks and beams, as the building was once a sugar and molasses factory.
â˘ Chef Rene Bajeux has been named Executive Chef of the JW Marriott New Orleans. Chef Bajeux has been with Marriott Hotels & Resorts since 2012. In his new position at the hotel, Chef Bajeux will present his cuisine in the JW Marriottâs smaller, more intimate Canal Street Grill restaurant.
â˘ The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans completed renovations of its Maison Orleans wing (the hotelâs exclusive club level) in addition to the Ritz-Carlton Suite (the hotelâs Presidential Suite). This makeover came shortly after the 2011 renovation of the hotelâs 415 Deluxe guest rooms and 36 Executive and Junior Suites.
2014 Festivals and Events
â˘ 80th Annual All-State Sugar Bowl/Jan. 2
â˘ Rock Nâ Roll Marathon/Feb. 2
â˘ Zulu Lundi Gras Festival/March 3
â˘ 25th Annual Lundi Gras at Spanish Plaza with Rex/March 3
â˘ Mardi Gras Day/March 4
â˘ Louisiana Oyster Jubilee/March 8
â˘ Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival/March 19-23
â˘ The BUKU Music + Art Project/March 21-22
â˘ Congo Square/New World Rhythms Festival/March 22-23
â˘ Spring Fiesta/March 22-30
â˘ New Orleans Roadfood Festival/March 28
â˘ French Quarter Festival/April 10-13
â˘ New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell/April 25-May 4
â˘ Zoo To Do for Kids/May 2
â˘ Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo/May 16-18
â˘ New Orleans Wine and Food Experience/May 21-24
â˘ Greek Festival/ May 23-25
â˘ FestiGals/June 5-7
â˘ New Orleans Oyster Festival/June TBD
â˘ Creole Tomato Festival/ June 7-8
â˘ Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival/June 14-15
â˘ New Orleans Pride Festival/June TBD
â˘ ESSENCE Music Festival/July 3-6
â˘ San Fermin in Nueva Orleans/July TBD
â˘ Tales of the Cocktail/July 16-20
â˘ Satchmo SummerFest/July 31-Aug. 3
â˘ COOLinary New Orleans/Aug. 1-31
â˘ Whitney White Linen Night/Aug. 2
â˘ Dirty Linen Night/Aug. 9
â˘ New Orleans Red Dress Run/Aug. 9
â˘ Southern Decadence Festival/Aug. 28-Sept. 2
â˘ New Orleans Burlesque Festival/Sept. TBD
â˘ Downtown River Festival/Sept. TBD
â˘ Gretna Heritage Festival/Oct. TBD
â˘ Art for Artsâ Sake/ Oct. TBD
â˘ New Orleans Film Festival/Oct. 9-16
â˘ Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival/Oct. 17-19
â˘ Louisiana Seafood Festival/ Oct. TBD
â˘ Celebracion Latina/ Oct. TBD
â˘ Voodoo Music + Art Experience/Oct. 31-Nov. 2
â˘ Asian Pacific American Society Festival/Nov. 1
â˘ Bayou Bacchanal/ Nov. 1
â˘ Oak Street Poboy Festival/ Nov. TBD
â˘ TremĂŠ Creole Gumbo Festival/Nov. 8-9
â˘ New Orleans Fringe Festival/ Nov. 19-23
â˘ Christmas New Orleans Style/December
French Quarter Festival
Jazz and Heritage Festival
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
ESSENCE Music Fest
Tales of the Cocktail
Southern Decadence Festival
Voodoo Music Experience
Meetings and Conventions
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2014 include:
National Automobile Dealers Association/Jan. 24-27
World of Wheels/Feb. 7-9
New Orleans Gift and Jewelry show/Jan. 24-27
New Orleans Comic Con/Feb. 7-9
LIMU International Convention/March 7-8
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons/March 11-15
International Sleep Products Association/March 26-29
Access Intelligence/April 1-3
New Orleans Dental Conference/April 3-5
National School Boards Association/April 5-7
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics/April 9â12
American Association of Orthodontics/April 25-29
International Reading Association/May 9-12
International Jewelry Fair/ General Merchandise Show/May 16-19
National Science Teachers Association (STEM Forum)/May 14â17
Institute of Food Technologists/June 21-24
National Association of Counties/July 11-14
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks/July 13-17
Association of Locksmiths of America/July 19-26
Louisiana Restaurant Association/Aug. 2-4
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
American Society of Anesthesiologists/Oct. 11-15
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene/Nov. 2-6
National Association of REALTORS/Nov. 7-10
International Jewelry Fair/ General Merchandise Show/Nov. 6-9
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Nov. 16-21
American Public Health Association/Nov. 15-19
International Workboat Show/Dec. 3-5
Southwest Airlines continues to expand its air service offerings at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with the announcement of new service to Washingtonâs Regan National Airport (DCA). In this most recent announcement, Southwest will begin service to DCA beginning August 10, 2014. The new twice daily service will depart New Orleans at 7:40 a.m. and 2:55 p.m. and arrive in Washington at 11:05 a.m. and 6:25 p.m. respectively. The return flights will leave our nationâs capital at 9:00 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.; arriving in New Orleans at 12:05 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Vacation Express announced non-stop seasonal flights between New Orleans and Montego Bay, Jamaica, starting on May 17, 2014. The non-stop service to Cancun, Mexico will resume for the summer of 2014 with the increased frequency of twice weekly flights.
Southwest Airlines is increasing their air service from New Orleans with a new non-stop service to San Diego, CA beginning on April 8, 2014. Southwest Airlines is the largest airline in the New Orleans market with more than 42 percent of the market share at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began to discuss rolling out TSA Preââ˘, part of the agencyâs larger effort to implement risk-based security, at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. TSA Preââ˘ is an expedited screening initiative and at MSY, select American, United, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, and US Airways frequent flyers and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs may receive expedited screening benefits when traveling.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with the New Orleans Aviation Board and regional elected, business and tourism leaders, announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art airport terminal on the north side of the current airport property. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport serves as a gateway to millions of tourists and business travelers each year. Creating a new airport will continue New Orleansâ success as a world-class destination, along with creating more than 13,000 jobs in construction.
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)
TOURISM INDUSTRY STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
2012: 9.01 million visitors/$6 billion (highest visitor spending in cityâs history)
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 âŚ more than any other business sector
Economic impact of tourism: $6 billion
Employment: Nearly 78,000
Hotels: 277 and 37,844 hotel rooms in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area
Restaurants: 1,400 (www.nomenu.com)
Airport: 18,059 average daily seats and 144 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), âlikeâ us on Facebook (New Orleans) and view images of New Orleans via our Instagram (New Orleans CVB).