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Welcome to Cvent’s Meeting and Event Planning Guide to New Orleans, made for meeting professionals. As a top year-round tourist destination with a reputation as a warm and gracious host, New Orleans has attracted some of the largest conventions and events in the world. Knowing that most of the city's 22,000 hotel rooms are located in and around downtown and the French Quarter, convention planners have no problem arranging convenient lodging for attendees.
Whether an event needs all the exhibit space in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the more intimate meeting rooms of a French Quarter hotel, or the special ambiance of a Mississippi River steamboat, New Orleans has the perfect space to create a successful and memorable gathering. Invite attendees for an extravagant cocktail party in the historic Elms Mansion, decorated with hand-carved marble, 24-karat gold sconces, and elegant hardwood floors. Host a seated dinner in one of Pat O’s on the River’s two modern function spaces, the Grande Terrace and the Promenade, both of which afford spectacular views of the Mississippi River. Choose from one of 14 distinct private dining rooms at Antoine's Restaurant, which date back to 1840 – it’s the country’s oldest family-run restaurant. Antoine’s various dining rooms showcase memorabilia from many distinguished patrons including Judy Garland, President Roosevelt, and Pope John Paul II. New Orleans offers endless unique venue possibilities!
In addition to offering numerous special New Orleans event venues, the city is also the site of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, long recognized as one of the top convention centers in America. After $60 million in restoration work and several million more in renovation upgrades, the facility boasts 1.1 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space. Planners know it for its excellence in providing cutting-edge technological features such as state-of-the-art lighting, video and audio production facilities, satellite linking, video conferencing, and webcasting capabilities. Best of all, the center's award-winning catering staff prepares exceptional food in step with a city famous worldwide for its cuisine.
Located in the New Orleans Arts District, the New Orleans Morial Convention Center is in the middle of dozens of art galleries and museums and within walking distance of hundreds of restaurants, shops, bars, and jazz clubs in the French Quarter. It's easy for visitors to connect with river cruises, walking tours of the city's beautiful historic districts, boat tours of swamps, and nighttime tours of the haunted hotels and restaurants of the French Quarter. Also scattered throughout the city are world-class museums such as The National WWII Museum, the Louisiana Children's Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art, which opened its doors in 1911 and is home to one of the nation's largest glass collections. The Audubon Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country, and the Aquarium of the Americas is rated among the top 5 in the nation.
New Orleans is also home to top research institution Tulane University, located in the Uptown District. The headquarters of Fortune 500 giant Entergy Corporation calls New Orleans home, and many companies, including Harrah's, Capital One, Popeye's Fried Chicken, Smoothie King, Zatarain's, GE Capital, Chiquita, and Globalstar, have a significant presence in the city.
New Orleans is one of the few cities in the world where just saying the name conjures strong images and feelings, and, for those who have visited, the “Big Easy” creates a deep longing to return. Known also as the “Crescent City,” New Orleans spreads out across both sides of a bend in the Mississippi River, 110 miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. Founded by the French in 1718, it was ceded to the Spanish Empire in 1763 and reverted back to French control in 1801. The back-and-forth fighting ended two years later when the United States bought France's vast North American holdings as part of the famous Louisiana Purchase. No longer a spoil of war, New Orleans entered a time of unprecedented growth as wagon trains carried millions of immigrants to the new western territories.
Today, with a city population of 384,000 people and a greater metro area population of 1.25 million people, New Orleans is home to one of the largest and busiest ports in the world and accounts for much of the nation's refinery and production of petroleum. The New Orleans skyline is dominated by 30 buildings that measure over 20 stories tall. One Shell Square, a 53-story structure in the heart of the Central Business District, is the tallest building in the state and the city’s first skyscraper. At 52 stories, the Place St. Charles incorporates French Quarter-style balconies on the second floor along St. Charles Avenue. Other prominent New Orleans structures are the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Smoothie King Center, and the new and old city halls.
Just six months after the 2005 disaster, musicians were again prancing down Bourbon Street during the annual Mardi Gras celebration. New Orleans remains a hotspot for cultural tourism, with over 9.5 million people flocking to the city each year to experience its multicultural heritage, unique personality, and unparalleled treasures of music and cuisine.
A fun-loving city, New Orleans is the gracious host of some of the country's most famous events including Mardi Gras in February/March, French Quarter Festival in April, the two-week-long New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April, Essence Festival on July 4, Satchmo SummerFest in August, and Voodoo Art & Music Experience in October. Any day of the year, visitors can start off the morning with coffee and a mouthwatering beignet followed by a cruise on an authentic Mississippi riverboat. The young and old will enjoy exploring the mysteries of Southern Louisiana's primeval swamps and bayous or simply sitting down to a Cajun or Creole meal prepared by the finest chefs in America. Other New Orleans musts include shopping at the French Market, browsing through The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, having lunch or dinner at Muriel's, spending an evening of entertainment at one of the many French Quarter music clubs, riding on a New Orleans streetcar, and relaxing with a refreshing New Orleans Hurricane cocktail from Pat O'Brien's.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Located on a bend of the Mississippi River about 110 miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans has a subtropical climate. Like the tropics, summers are hot and humid with highs around 90°F. However, the winters are cooler than those in the tropics, with average temperatures around 55°F in January, the city's coldest month.
Annual precipitation averages 63.5 inches per year. From July to October, tropical winds can bring high tides and heavy rains to the area. The months of June to November constitute hurricane season. The best time to visit New Orleans is in the spring, when temperatures are still mild and precipitation is at its lowest.
New Orleans Morial Convention Center
Located in the heart of the culturally vibrant Warehouse District just one mile from the French Quarter, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is the 6th largest convention center in the country. After $60 million in restoration work and several million more in renovation upgrades, the center boasts over 3.1 million square feet of enclosed space. Its expansive facilities include 1.1 million square feet of continuous exhibit space, 140 meeting rooms totaling 232,827 square feet, two luxurious ballrooms, one at 36,000 square feet and one at 60,000 square feet, and a 4,032-seat auditorium acoustically divisible into three separate sections. Completely handicapped-accessible, the center has ramps and elevators to access all event areas. The Morial Center provides cutting-edge technology that includes the latest lighting, video, and audio production technology, a dual-system indoor cellular phone network, an 800-Mhz two-way radio system, high-speed Internet access, Wi-Fi in public areas, wireless phone rentals, satellite link, video conferencing, video streaming, and webcasting ability.
In a city where anything less than fabulous food is unacceptable, Morial Convention Center has set unrivaled culinary standards in its industry as one of the top two convention centers in the category of “Good Food Served”. Guests to the center enjoy a wide range of dining choices without leaving the building, whether it's red fish for one, jambalaya for 10, or crawfish etouffee for 10,000. In addition to catered event meals, dining venues range from the elegant Ma Maison to the convenience of delicious food court selections from around the world.
Paired with New Orleans' popular destination appeal, the Morial Convention Center's spaciousness, flexibility, and service continues to sustain the Crescent City's national leadership status, with the facility consistently ranking in the top 10 for hosting the most national conventions and tradeshows.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome an SMG Managed Facility
Continuous enhancements and upgrades make this facility one of the finest domed stadiums in the world. Offering more than 162,000 square feet of column-free main floor space and the ability to seat over 73,000 people, the Superdome is a premier facility that excels in hosting a wide array of events including private or public concerts, special events, general sessions, banquets, convention tradeshows, and sporting events. Home to Super Bowl games, Final Four tournaments, the Sugar Bowl, Rolling Stones concerts, and Microsoft extravaganzas, the colorful legacy of the Superdome entices an incredible variety of programming.
New Orleans & Company
The experienced Convention Services team at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau can help you schedule your next meeting at one of the city's dedicated, world-class convention facilities including the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, John A. Alario Sr. Event Center, Pontchartrain Center, or the Keifer UNO Lakefront Arena. For a more unique setting, the city has more than 100 hotels and boutique venues in the French Quarter.
The Convention Services team also serves as a booking agent for the Morial Convention Center and will be happy to arrange personalized site inspections of any facilities of interest to your company, as well as a customized bid presentation or proposal for the company decision makers.
Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY)
Approximate taxi fare: $36USD
Located just 15 miles from the Central Business District, New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport is the busiest airport in Louisiana and one of the top 10 busiest in the Southeast. The airport offers service to over 30 cities across the country. Fourteen major carriers, including American, Continental, Delta, and United, operate out of Louis Armstrong International.
In 2016, the Louis Armstrong International Airport offers direct service to four international destinations including Panama City, Punta Cana, Cancun, and Toronto.
Amenities abound at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Advanced baggage check-in, free wireless Internet access, tax-free shopping, lounges, and financial services are all available to make the passenger experience more comfortable. The airport also features a cell phone pick-up lot, ticketless parking, and 5,500 spaces combined between its short- and long-term facilities.
Airline carriers serving Louis Armstrong International Airport
The New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, with its famous restored mural on the walls, is the major hub in the South for Amtrak, which services the city with three trains. The Sunset Limited currently operates between New Orleans and Los Angeles, the Crescent operates between New Orleans and New York City, and the City of New Orleans line operates between New Orleans and Chicago. An intermodal transportation facility, the terminal provides space for Greyhound Lines' intercity bus service.
With a reputation for clean and safe transportation, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority operates one of the largest fleets of buses and trolleys in the nation. The buses run to several major stops around New Orleans, including Elysian Fields Avenue, Judge Perez Drive, and Chef Menteur Highway. Two express routes serve eastern New Orleans. The E-2 Airport Bus, operated by Jefferson Transit, provides weekday service to downtown New Orleans from the upper level of the airport at Entrance number 7. The E-2 bus travels downtown to Tulane and Loyola avenues, just two blocks from Canal Street. NORTA bus one-way fare is $1.25, with an additional $0.25 for transfer. Express bus one-way fare is $1.50.
As of 2016, the Regional Transit Authority runs New Orleans' three famous streetcar lines including the St. Charles line, the Canal Street line, and the Riverfront line. Trolley fare is $1.25 per person.
In 2004, the new Canal Street Line returned after a 40-year absence. The route ties into the Riverfront Streetcar Line from Esplanade Avenue to Canal Street and travels along Canal Street from the Mississippi River to a streetcar terminal at City Park Avenue and the Cemeteries.
Opened in 1988 to an enthusiastic public, the 1.9-mile Riverfront Streetcar Line was the first new streetcar line since 1926. Seven bright red streetcars now service the Riverfront line, which includes 10 stops between Esplanade Avenue and the Morial Convention Center.
Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the St. Charles Avenue Line has been in continuous operation since its inception in 1893. Trolley cars travel the entire length of the celebrated St. Charles Avenue, from the Central Business District to the charming Garden District and Uptown.
In continuous operation since 1827, the historic Algiers Point/Canal Street Ferry connects downtown New Orleans with the Algiers Point neighborhood on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Pedestrians and bicycles ride for $2 each way. Ferries leave daily from the West Bank every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour beginning at 6 AM. Ferries depart from the East Bank on the quarter hour and three-quarters hour with the last ferry leaving at 11:45 PM.
For more information, call 506-309-9789.
Shuttle service is available from the airport to hotels in the Central Business District. One-way shuttle fare is $24 per person and round-trip fare is $44 per person. Ticket booths can be found on the lower level in the baggage claim area. There is a three-bag limit per person.
For more information, call 866-596-2699.
Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty car rental agencies have offices located on the lower level of the airport. The Consolidated Rental Car Facility is located outside of the West Terminal Baggage Claim (Claims 12-14.)
Taxis are plentiful in New Orleans and rates may vary. Cab rides cost $36 from the airport to the Central Business District for up to two persons and $15 per passenger for three or more passengers. There may be an additional charge for extra baggage. Taxis are required to offer a credit card payment option. Taxi pick-ups are located outside the airport's baggage claim area on the lower level.
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