What's New in New Orleans Hospitality Industry This April?

April 2 2018 | Latest News


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New Orleans is celebrating its 300th anniversary throughout 2018.

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) has opened a special bilingual tricentennial exhibit New Orleans, the Founding Eraa multifaceted exploration of the city’s first few decades. The exhibit will be on view through May 27, 2018.

Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans will be on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, March 8-September 2, in conjunction with the Tricentennial celebration of New Orleans.

Tall Ships New Orleans 2018 will welcome a magnificent line-up of historic ships known as “tall ships” from the U.S. and around the world to New Orleans’ Woldenberg Riverfront Park at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, April 19-22, 2018.

The line-up of ships includes Elissa from Galveston, TX, Oosterchelde from The Netherlands, Oliver Hazard Perry from Newport, RI, Picton Castle, from the Cook Islands, and others.

Tall Ships 2018 will coincide with NOLA Navy Week, which returns to the city’s waterfront, April 19-25, welcoming ships from the United States, Canadian and French Navies.

— The Tricentennial Interfaith Prayer Service will take place at St. Louis Cathedral on April 17.

The service will be an opportunity for the various faiths of New Orleans to come together in thankfulness and unity.

— New Orleans Voices of Congo Square will take place at the Orpheum Theatre April 20, celebrating the culture of Congo Square through music, dance and the beauty of the city’s beloved Mardi Gras Indians.

— International Weekend will take place this month, April 20-22, as the official welcoming ceremony of international dignitaries, including dinner for international guests at the historic restored Gallier Hall.

— Throughout 2018 several local businesses are offering special deals, packages, discounts and tricentennial-themed items that visitors and locals can take advantage of all year long. To learn more about the Tricentennial deals and packages click here.

For the full Tricentennial calendar, click here.

Upcoming Events:

— WWE WrestleMania 34 returns to New Orleans, April 4-10, for six days of live events at the New Orleans Convention Center and Smoothie King Center, with the WrestleMania main event taking placing place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 8.

The events will include a fan festival, the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, NXT TakeOver, Monday Night Raw, SmackDown and more.

The 35 annual French Quarter Festival, the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world, will bring more than 300 acts to 23 stages scattered across the French Quarter April 12-15.

The 2018 lineup features Irma Thomas, Sweet Crude, Little Freddie King, Bonerama, Walter Wolfman Washington and the Roadmasters, Amanda Shaw and many more.

French Quarter Festival will include more than 60 of New Orleans’ finest restaurants throughout the festival.

French Quarter Festival, Inc. reports an economic impact of approximately $190 million generated from the festival each year.

— The annual Zurich Classic, part of the PGA Tournament Circuit, will return to TPC Louisiana golf course April 23-29, welcoming top golf competitors and fans to the Crescent City.

Players in the 2018 Zurich Classic include Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas and more.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is televised in more than 224 countries and territories.

The tournament reports a generated spending of more than $40 million within the local economy.

— The 49th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival begins April 27-29 and continues the following weekend, May 3-6 at the Fair Grounds Race Course, welcoming more than 500 bands across 13 stages for seven incredible days of live music.

Headliners include Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffet, Jack White, Beck and many more.

New Orleans’ own Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas and Big Freedia will also headline the festival, as 80 percent of the festival’s music lineup is local.

Each year, Jazz Fest attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and has an economic impact of over $350 million.

— Wednesday at the Square, a free Spring concert series, has begun and will continue through May 30, benefitting the Young Leadership Council.

Wednesday at the Square’s music lineup features local talent, as well as local restaurant and drink vendors, and an artist village.

For a full list of events, click here.


— The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) presents A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, a showcasing of rare pieces from one of the world’s largest private collections of Alexander McQueen fashion.

The collection features more than 100 experimental gowns, headpieces, jewelry and shoes by more than 30 of the world’s most insightful contemporary designers.

The fashion exhibition will be on view through May 28, 2018.


— Hard Rock International has announced the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans, set to open its doors in the spring of 2019.

The 18-story building will sit on the corner of Rampart and Canal Streets and will feature 350 guestrooms, four meeting spaces, two ballrooms and 12,000 square feet of event space.


— New Orleans’ celebrated bartenders, Chris Hannah and Nick Detrich, have recently opened a Cuban bar and café, Manolito, in the city’s historic French Quarter.

Hannah is the lead bartender at the James Beard award-winning French 75 Bar, and Detrich is the former lead bartender at Cane & Table.

— Chef Nina Compton has opened her newest restaurant concept, Bywater American Bistro.

The menu features fresh and approachable dishes that honor ingredients, smart sourcing, proper technique and bold flavor combinations.

The restaurant is located in the Rice Mills Loft at 2900 Chartres Street in New Orleans’ Bywater district.


— New Orleans has been recognized as a top destination to visit in 2018 by more than 25 publications including, Condé Nast TravelerFodor’s TravelFrommer’s Travel GuidesThe New York TimesRobb ReportRough GuidesTravel + Leisure and many more.

— The New York Times named New Orleans the No. 1 destination in its 52 Places to Go in 2018.

— New Orleans has been recognized as a top LGBT Destination by three popular LGBT publications.

— Southern Living readers recognized New Orleans as the “South’s Best Food City” in their “South’s Best” list, March 2018.


— The Port of New Orleans set a record with 1,150,172 passengers at its Erato Street and Julia Street Cruise Terminals in 2017.

This marks the fourth consecutive year of more than one million cruise passenger movements and reinforcing its importance as a key driver of the hospitality industry’s economic impact in the region.


— New Orleans’ historic Gallier Hall recently completed a full-scale restoration and preservation as the legacy project for the city’s Tricentennial. The restoration project includes both extensive interior and exterior repairs.

Gallier Hall is one of the city’s most important landmarks, erected between 1845 and 1853, and served as City Hall for over a century.

— City Hall announced the historic riverfront redevelopment projects that will open access to the city’s riverfront with 3.2 miles of contiguous space from Spanish Plaza to Crescent Park. The development has an estimated completion date of early 2020. The projects include:

Spanish Plaza - $7.5 million plaza renovation

Four Seasons - $400 million Renovation of the World Trade Center

Canal Street Ferry Terminal - $37 million state-of-the-art terminal

Ferry Pedestrian Bridge - $7.3 million new pedestrian bridge

Woldenberg Riverfront Park - $6 million park improvements

Moonwalk Park - $3 million park renovation

Esplanade and Governor Nicholls Street Wharves - $15 million conversion

Crescent Park - $31.2 million

— The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has announced an expansion to the plans for the new terminal, currently under construction, bringing the total number of gates from 30 to 35. The plans include a 2,200-car parking garage, a central utility plan and a ground transportation area.

The new terminal is now set to open February 2019.

The five-gate expansion and new opening date comes as the airport has exceeded all passenger enplanement targets and added new international airlift to Europe and South America.

— The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) has set a new record with 12,009,512 total passengers served in 2017.

Passenger totals from 2017 follow record-setting years in 2015 and 2016 with 10.6 million and 11.1 million passengers traveling through MSY.

Last year was the seventh year of continued passenger growth, with an overall increase of more than 35 percent in total passengers since 2010.


— Condor Airlines will return to New Orleans with twice-weekly flights operating Thursdays and Sundays from May 17, 2018 through September 30, 2018, from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) to Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).

— Spirit Airlines announced a new nonstop flight from Atlantic City, NJ to New Orleans beginning April 13, 2018.


Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) includes:

— American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting | April 10-14

The AAG Annual Meeting is an interdisciplinary forum open to anyone with an interest in geography and related fields.

Projected attendance: 9,000

— Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference| April 15-17

The AFP 2018 International Conference on Fundraising is the premier event for the global fundraising community. From education sessions, first-class exhibitors and social gatherings for all, it is the must-attend conference for anyone in the philanthropic community.

Projected attendance: 5,000

— American College of Physicians (ACP) Internal Medicine Meeting | April 19-21

The multidimensional meeting program from the ACP includes hands-on learning, 200+ scientific and interactive sessions, and dynamic presentations, all from nationally-recognized faculty.

Projected attendance: 10,000

— American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference(NPC) | April 21-24

APA’s 2018 NPC is the premier planning event of the year, bringing together the hottest topics in planning, the latest tools for planning professionals, and leading industry speakers.

Projected attendance: 5,500

— Le-Vel Brands THRIVEpalooza | April 27-29

THIRVEpalooza will be a high-energy party, recognition and business growth event hosted by Le-Vel Brands. This will be a private event for THRIVE users and employees of Le-Vel Brands.

Projected attendance: 8,500

— American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting | April 28-May 2

More than 5,000 neurosurgeons and other neuroscience professional are expected to attend the AANS 86th-Annual Scientific Meeting, which will feature the latest neurological surgery research, exhibits and industry speakers.

Projected attendance: 5,000