Last updated: 12:15 PM ET, Fri August 05 2016

What's New in New Orleans

Destination & Tourism | August 05, 2016

What's New in New Orleans

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans CVB

WHY IT RATES: Already legendary for its Big Easy vibe, New Orleans has garnered numerous accolades as of late. For late summer/early fall, the city is offering a number of special once-a-year events, hotels deals and a number of quintessential NOLA cuisine experiences — and that's just scratching the surface. -Michael Isenbek, TravelPulse Senior Editor


• New Orleans was named the No. 7 City in the World and the No. 2 City in the United States for the third consecutive year in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2016.

• New Orleans ranked ahead of Rome, Barcelona, Bangkok and Cape Town in the list of the World’s Best Cities and second to Charleston in the U.S., and ahead of cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Savannah.

• Readers ranked cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

• The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, one of the city’s newest hotels, was also recognized as the No. 7 Hotel in the Continental United States.

• Condor will begin seasonal nonstop flights from Frankfurt, Germany to New Orleans twice weekly on May 3, 2017.

   -This will be New Orleans’ first nonstop flight to Europe since the 1980s and will connect New Orleans passengers to more than 120 other cities in the Eastern hemisphere through Condor’s partner airlines.

   -Flights will depart on Wednesdays and Sundays on a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with 259 seats.

      • The flight is estimated to bring nearly 10,000 people to New Orleans annually.


•  COOLinary New Orleans Restaurant Month offers discounted menus from more than 75 award-winning restaurants, including special two- and three-course lunch menus for $20 or less, three-course brunch and dinner menus for $39 or less. See a list of participating restaurants here.

•  Participating restaurants include favorites such as Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s and Brigtsen’s, as well as new additions including Kenton’s Food & Bourbon, Rebellion Bar & Urban Kitchen and many more.

• Following COOLinary, through the week of Sept. 12-18, celebrate Restaurant Week New Orleans, formerly “We Live to Eat” Restaurant Week, to continue supporting local restaurants as they offer reduced menu options.

• In conjunction with the Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown campaign for New Orleanians in August and September, the second annual New Orleans Museum Month offers members of participating museums admission to other participating institutions free of charge during the month of August. August and September are great times to experience New Orleans, and the two campaigns encourage locals to experience the best the city has to offer.

• Satchmo Summer Fest returns to New Orleans August 5-7, with a change of location to Jackson Square. This festival is considered the only traditional jazz festival in New Orleans and celebrates the music and legacy of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.

•  Whitney White Linen Night celebrates its 40th season on Aug. 6, inviting patrons of the arts to don white linen and peruse more than 20 local galleries on Julia Street. Guests are invited to sample food from 25 restaurants along Julia Street in the Arts District.

• The Louisiana Food Service and Hospitality Expo hosted by the Louisiana Restaurant Association will return to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center August 6-8.

• The EXPO includes the 13th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off, featuring chefs from across the nation competing for the title of King or Queen of American Seafood using domestic seafood from their home states

• Based in New York City, the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) will be coming to New Orleans for the first time, August 11-13.

   -ADFF is the largest film festival dedicated to the creative spirit of Architecture & Design, giving people in the region a great opportunity for exposure and participation in the world of architecture and design through film.

• On August 13, Dirty Linen Night invites art enthusiasts to don their dirty linens from the previous weekend to stroll through galleries along Royal Street through the French Quarter and sample food and cocktails from local restaurants.

•  On August 13, both men and women will don red dresses to race through the French Quarter in the annual Red Dress Run, which supports more than 100 local charities.

• Southern Decadence returns for its 45th celebration of LGBT culture in New Orleans over Labor Day Weekend Aug. 31-Sept. 5, bringing parades, parties and celebration to the French Quarter.

   -In its 45th year, Southern Decadence celebrates New Orleans’ gay culture, anticipating more than 180,000 participants and expecting to generate over $200 million for the local economy.

   - New Orleans is a major destination for LGBT travelers with a thriving drag scene, gay heritage and cocktail tours, LGBT-interest entertainment and much more.

September Festivals

• Louisiana Seafood Festival will welcome a weekend full of seafood, live music, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, an arts village, family activities and more to the City Park Festival Grounds September 2-4.

   - This free festival celebrates the fresh and flavorful bounty of seafood in Louisiana.

   -The inaugural New Orleans Daiquiri Season is set to take over New Orleans for the month of September.

   - Formerly the New Orleans Daiquiri Festival, Tales of the Cocktail is bringing back the festival as a season with 30 days of special events and tastings.

For a full list of festivals, click here.


• Chef Emeril Lagasse has appointed Chef Will Avelar as Chef de Cuisine of Meril, the celebrity chef’s fourth New Orleans restaurant slated to open in New Orleans’ Warehouse District later this year.

• Will Avelar joined the Emeril’s team in 2005 and has enjoyed positions at all of Emeril’s New Orleans restaurants, most recently serving as sous chef at Emeril’s Delmonico.


• Marriott Hotels’ Moxy New Orleans has debuted in New Orleans’ Central Business District as one of the first U.S. locations of the hip European hotel line. Moxy New Orleans will feature 108 keyless-entry rooms.

   - The hotel brand aims to appeal to adventure seekers with inviting lobbies, self-service grab and go, free Wi-Fi and the Moxy Digital Guestbook for streaming videos and pictures.

   - The openings of the Moxy Tempe in March and the Moxy New Orleans are the brand’s first in the U.S.

•  The historic Pontchartrain Hotel reopened with 106 rooms and a refreshed Caribbean Room restaurant on St. Charles Avenue on June 17, 2016.

   - Originally opened in 1927, the hotel earned notoriety with visits from Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, Truman Capote, President Gerald Ford and Tennessee Williams, who wrote "A Streetcar Named Desire" while staying at the hotel.

   - The hotel’s food and beverage program is run by Chef Chris Lusk of Besh Restaurant Group, and dining options will include the iconic Caribbean Room, Silver Whistle Coffee Shop, the Bayou Bar and the Hot Tin rooftop bar.

• The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery welcomed student Artist in Residence Thomas “TJ” Kiser from the Art Institute of Chicago, who lived at the hotel through the month of July while exploring New Orleans’ unique culture and creating artistic works.

   - Kiser produced a collection of writings, poems and sketches for a White Linen Night exhibition to be held on August 6 in the hotel’s Chandlery space.


• U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, the travel industry’s premier international marketplace, took place in New Orleans June 18-22, attracting more than 6,000 attendees. IPW is the largest generator of travel to the U.S

   - More than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations and more than 1,300 international and domestic travel buyers from 73 countries conducted more than 105,000 pre-scheduled business appointments and negotiations that collectively generate more than $4.7 billion in future travel to the U.S.

   - In addition, more than 500 international and domestic media members were in attendance to report on IPW and New Orleans.

   - IPW’s impact will ripple through the local economy for an estimated three years after – as travel buyers and international journalists attending the show influence future trips to the host city based on what they experienced at the conference and exploring New Orleans and the region.

   - The direct economic impact of IPW 2016 on the Greater New Orleans economy is estimated at more than $1.7 billion, with 1 million international visitors by 2018.

FUHWE, a new travel website and app that connects explorers to locals in person, launched in New Orleans in April 2016.

   - The app encourages visitors to explore the city like a local and gives New Orleanians the opportunity to monetize their passions while creating authentic and memorable experiences for travelers.

   - The app is available for free download on iPhones and will be available later this year on Android devices.


New Orleans continues to garner international attention as a world-class destination. Recent honors include:

• The number one “Most Affordable U.S. City” by TripAdvisor

• No. 7 on the “World’s Best Cities” by Travel + Leisure

• The number two on its rankings of “The Best Cities in the U.S.” by Travel + Leisure

• One of the “Top 10 Rising Star Foodie Destinations” by Gogobot

• The number four “Best Affordable Destination in the USA” by U.S. News and World Report

• One of the “Best Cities for 4th of July Celebrations” by

• One of the “15 Most Dynamic Cities in America” by Worth Magazine

• One of the “Top 10 Cities for Barbecue” by

• The number one “Top 10 Cities for Creatives” by  

• One of “America’s Favorite Cities” by Travel + Leisure


• The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has set a new record welcoming over one million passengers traveling through the airport in May 2016.

   - Over one million passengers traveled through the Airport for the first time in a one month period.

   - This record signifies a 10.6 percent increase in total enplanements in comparison to May 2015.

• Construction has begun on a new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, set to debut in 2018.

   - This $826 million project will feature 30 gates, a 2,000-car parking garage, a central utility plant and a ground transportation staging area.

   - The new terminal is projected to have a $3.2 billion annual economic impact on tourism in New Orleans.

• The airport has also added a variety of new flights:

   - Condor (One new twice-weekly departure to Frankfurt, Germany, beginning May 3, 2017)

   - Allegiant (One new twice-weekly departure to Tulsa International Airport, May 26, 2016)

   - GLO (Two new seasonal weekly departures to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, June 24-Sept. 5, 2016)

   - JetBlue (One new daily departure to Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, beginning Sept. 29, 2016)

   - Branson AirExpress (Return of seasonal air service four times weekly to Branson Airport, May 26-Aug. 14, 2016)


• The Port of New Orleans welcomed the Carnival Triumph, the city’s newest cruise ship, on April 4, 2016.

   - The Carnival Triumph offers 4- and 5-day cruise itineraries from New Orleans and will bring a 34 percent increase in capacity to cruises from New Orleans.

   - Together the Carnival Dream, which offers 7-day cruises from New Orleans, and Carnival Triumph are expected to carry 450,000 passengers annually.


• Farm to Table Experience – New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center | August 18-20

• The Farm to Table Experience showcases the cultivation, distribution and consumption of locally sourced food and drink through hands-on demonstrations, education and more.

• New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show – Helen Brett Enterprises | August 19-22

   - Helen Brett Enterprises has welcomed buyers and sellers of gifts, jewelry and general merchandise to the Gift & Jewelry Show for 70 years.

   - The Gift & Jewelry Show attracts an average of 13,000-15,000 buyers and includes 500 booths.

SOURCE: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau press release

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