New Orleans is a city that leaves a unique impression on everyone. To some, this city is their heart, soul and home. To others, it is the birthplace of jazz, home of the Saints or the perfect place to photograph living history. For all visitors, New Orleans is an experience, a celebration and a great place to do business. For those inquiring what New Orleans could mean to your meeting or convention, there is one thing you need to keep in mind: This authentic, historic metropolitan has unlimited possibilities and offers so much more than the iconic Bourbon Street.
From the vast array of festivals and tours celebrating anything that crawls, dances, and cooks; to the six miles of boutique, antique and unique shopping on Magazine Street that cater to any budget; to Audubon Nature Institute’s zoo, aquarium and butterfly garden; there is something in New Orleans for people of all ages and interests. Here is the local’s scoop on what you need to know and can expect from this fine city:
First off, you should know that New Orleans is broken down into seven major neighborhoods: the French Quarter, Garden District, Faubourg/Marigny/Bywater area, Downtown/Warehouse District, Treme, Uptown and Magazine Street, each with its own distinct vibe and culture.
While you scout the walkable neighborhoods and attractions, be sure to take the iconic streetcars. They make navigating New Orleans a breeze, and only cost $1.25 a ride. Not to mention, another line is being built, which will even further enhance the city’s ability to host huge sporting events and city-wide conventions simultaneously.
The Food and Drinks
After a long day of exhibit-hopping and exploring, you will be “fixin’ to eat,” but no need to search for the typical chain restaurants you can find at home. This city is chock full of family-owned, locally-established eateries with all the seasoned goodness only found in New Orleans. While you might be inclined to fill your bellies with just pralines and beignets, be sure to try out gumbo, jambalaya, muffalettas, etouffée and po’ boys. Don’t be intimidated if you have not heard of these ”N’awlins”originals before, just give them a “geaux” and you will not be sorry. While indulging at one of our home-grown restaurants, if you have not seen the bottom of your cocktail, created by a local award-winning mixologist, feel free to walk right out the door with it. It is legal to walk the streets of the city with alcoholic beverages, so do not be caught off guard when a bartender asks if you would like your drink “for here or to go.”
Next, I need to clear up a common misconception. New Orleans is not beach-front property. The city is surrounded by water to say the least, but these bodies of water are lakes, rivers and swamps. Now, a day floating in a pirogue (Cajun canoe) on the bayou can be the perfect get-away, but there is no gulf coast as far as the eye can see.
The Movie Scene
Now for you movie buffs, get excited, because New Orleans is the largest film production city behind New York and Los Angeles. Movies are constantly in production here, so if “gris gris” (VooDoo for good luck) is on your side you might just run into a celebrity.
The Business Side
Well, now you are probably thinking New Orleans is all food and fun, but we can really get down to business. Our award-winning Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) can help you plan a meeting that exceeds all expectations and helps you reach your goals. The CVB team can recommend turn-key voluntourism projects and provide assistance with complimentary marketing resources, including customized strategic planning, promotion and personalized site-inspections.
And, here’s a little lagniappe for ya’. New Orleans’ Bio-District is a state-of-the-art complex, that includes the Louisiana Cancer Research Center and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Medical Center Project, propelling New Orleans into the forefront of the medical industry.
Also, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, one of the most technologically advanced centers in the country, is adding on to the Great Hall. It will be a hotel-like ballroom with sophisticated lighting and exterior balconies, attractive to groups both large and small.
So, if you are looking for a place where you cannot only elevate your meeting to a whole new level, but also “laissez les bons temps rouler,” then New Orleans is the place for you.