Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2021

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B M & T ••• November/December 2021 ••• 40 MEETING PLANNERS DISCOVER GREAT SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY IN THE BAYOU STATE BY BUCK SAMUELS When you make a list of all the unique things Louisiana has to offer visitors, you quickly see the long-lasting influences of the French, Spanish and African ancestry. The state's past is well preserved in the architecture, music, food and lifestyles – which include amazing festivals – and of course in museums of history and fine arts. It is not an accident that Louisiana clings to the phrase: "Laissez les bon temps rouler." Let yourself get lost in the traditions passed down through genera- tions. Come visit during Mardi Gras when costumed riders parade and magnificent balls are thrown from New Orleans and Baton Rouge to Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and beyond. • • NEW ORLEANS • • Whether it's just a couple dozen peo- ple or a convention with tens of thou- sands, New Orleans can host just about any meeting. The city's world-class con- vention facilities offer flexible choices with varying levels of square footage, services and amenities. Meetings in New Orleans, like every- thing else in this city, stay with you long after you've unpacked your conference materials. More than just meetings, they can be game-changing gatherings that inspire free-flowing ideas and forge deep connections. You're company when you're here, and are welcome back any- time! The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO) is home to America's largest contiguous-space exhibit hall with 1.1 million sq. ft. of prime exhibit space plus 140 meeting rooms, 4,000-seat theater, 30,000 sq. ft. ball- room and a 60,300 sq. ft. divisible, col- umn-free ballroom with 25,000 sq. ft. pre- function area. MCCNO is the sixth largest convention facility in the nation and consistently ranks in the country's top ten of facilities that hold the most con- ventions and tradeshows annually. New Orleans is completely reimagin- ing the meeting experience. At the New Orleans Frnest N Norial Convention Center (MCCNO), transformation is hap- pening inside and out — from the trans- portation hub to a new, attached head- quarters hotel and a complete overhaul of the interior meeting spaces. The five-year capital improvement plan currently in place includes more than $557 million in developments and updates to the facility. The overall Convention Center District Development Project will revitalize 47 acres of land upriver from the Center with new dining, retail, entertainment and venue options. With its diverse venues, robust infra- structure and nearly 40,000 hotel rooms in the city and adjacent metro areas, New Orleans has earned its spot at the top of the list of major meeting destinations in the United States. And because meeting planners can always use a hand or a sounding board, the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, headed by Essence Banks and her team, is here with the tools, resources and know-how to provide your group with sup- port services. Music is where New Orleans' first settlers found common ground and no other city loves music more. Nowhere else does it occur more effortlessly or more joyously. Jazz, America's only original art form, was born here while Rhythm & Blues, Gospel, Cajun and Zydeco all express the rich melting pot that is New Orleans' heritage. Conveniently situated in the central region of the US, New Orleans is ideal for travelers. The Louis Armstrong Inter- national Airport is just 20 minutes from city center. WHO YOU GONNA CALL? New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce (504) 948-0991 • • BATON ROUGE • • Baton Rouge is Louisiana's "Capital City" and the hub of all things Louisiana. With a prime, central location — just an hour away from New Orleans and Lafayette — Baton Rouge is the perfect city to explore the eclectic culture of this amazing state. Louisiana's Capital City highlights the unique music, culture and outdoors that both visitors to Louisiana and locals alike enjoy. With French, Spanish, Creole and Native American roots, the city is rich in its culture and politics. Nicknamed the "Red Stick," Baton Rouge houses over New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Photo Credit: Ernest N. Morial C.C L O U I S I A N A Essence H. Banks AREA GUIDES

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