Nov 4, 2019
Convention Center Authority Receives Responses to RFQ for Master Developer
Posted on October 29, 2019
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (Authority), the governing board of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, received five responses to a Request for Qualifications to identify a Master Developer for its planned mixed-use, upriver development. A nationwide Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued in September, 2019.
The five qualified responses came from the following firms:
The Domain Companies
River Park Neighborhood Investors, LLC
Provident Realty Advisors, McDonnel Construction Services, and Provident Resources Group
A Joint Venture Between Woodward, Leventhal, and Carpenter & Company, Inc.
All five firms will be interviewed, and a short-list of Master Developers will be issued a request for proposal (RFP).
“We are very pleased with the amount of interest and the number of qualified firms responding. These 40 acres are some of the last undeveloped urban real estate in the country, and will be one of the most important and transformative developments for New Orleans and the State of Louisiana in decades,” said Authority Executive Vice President, Michael J. Sawaya.
The Authority envisions that the 20 acres will be for a mixed-use development to complement a convention center headquarters hotel already in negotiations. The Authority expects the master-planned development to be reflective of the unique culture and history of New Orleans, and include elements not commonly found in other parts of the nation.
The Master Developer, expected to be selected early next year, would enter into a long-term agreement with the Authority to create and execute a master-plan that includes residential, entertainment, and retail components.
In June of 2018, the Authority approved a $557 million capital improvement plan that included funding to ready the site for development, as well as upgrades to both the interior and exterior of the Convention Center. A 7.5 acre pedestrian park fronting the entire length of the Convention Center is currently under construction, and a Transportation Center for shuttles, taxis, and ride shares recently opened to widespread acclaim.
Over the next five years, well over $1 billion will have been invested into the Convention Center and its surrounding complex. This dynamic new economic development is expected to spawn additional private investments similar to the model of the New Orleans Warehouse District, which is home to several thousand residents, and features a vibrant dining, retail, and cultural scene.
For updates on these and other developments, go to advantagenola.com.
About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center features an award winning staff and first class amenities, and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A consistent Top 10 host of the largest conventions and tradeshows in the nation annually, the Convention Center is also one of the city’s “Top Workplaces.” A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.
Oct 29, 2019
NOLA ChristmasFest Returns to Downtown New Orleans December 20th; Tickets On Sale Online Starting November 1st
Posted on October 29, 2019
NOLA ChristmasFest transforms 350,000 sq. ft. of convention space into an awe-inspiring indoor “winter wonderland”
NEW ORLEANS – It’s the most magical time of the year, and with nearly 350,000 sq. ft. of holiday entertainment, NOLA ChristmasFest, presented by Coca-Cola promises to dazzle locals and visitors alike with eye-popping attractions and activities for both kids and adults including carnival rides, giant ice slides, ice skating, inflatables, snowball fights, Santa and friends, Gingerbread Village, Christmas Tree display and so much more! Even toddlers can get into the action in our Tiny Tot Zone Bounce Houses, designed especially for little ones.
This year, NOLA ChristmasFest, produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, will offer “Skating With Santa,” a chance for children to ice skate with Santa Claus and his North Pole friends before the doors open to the general public. Donuts, coffee, and hot cocoa will be served. (Separate ticket purchase required.)
Other attractions include a walk-through Gingerbread House, a step-inside snow globe for selfies, snowball fight area, entertainment, and a Yuletide Craft Market. NOLA ChristmasFest’s newest addition this year is the Tinsel Terrace Tavern for adults to enjoy beverages away from the hustle and bustle.
NOLA ChristmasFest will open every day, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., December 20-31, including special hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Buy Online and save time waiting in line at the Box Office! Online tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com starting November 1, 2019. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Convention Center box office, located in front of Lobby I, starting Friday, December 20.
General Admission Tickets include access to all rides and activities within the festival. Tickets are $20 on weekdays, and $25 on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are good for a single admission on the specific day you choose between the dates of December 20-December 31. Individual ticket purchase is required on those ages 2 and up.
NOLA ChristmasFest by the numbers:
350,000 sq.ft. of holiday fun
8,720 sq. ft. ice rink
2 15 ft. high ice slides
3 bounce houses in the Tiny Tot Zone
50 ft. Ferris Wheel
15 ft. step-inside snow globe
NOLA ChristmasFest is also a great place for birthday parties and corporate events. Special group pricing and party areas are available for a party of 15 people or more. Advanced sales end December 15, 2019. Advanced group pricing is $15 per person.
Oct 23, 2019
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Names New Director of Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility
Posted on October 23, 2019
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s award-winning sustainability program has proven to be a model of excellence through its innovations in energy efficiency, composting and recycling, and more. The Convention Center continues to lead the way to a greener future by establishing a Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility and naming Linda Baynham to the position.
In this role, Baynham will focus on establishing company-wide sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals through initiatives on new construction projects, existing assets, and sustainability programs. She will also work to expand and build upon the Convention Center’s reputation as a leader in community and environmental service. Baynham will continue to pursue the Center’s LEED v4.1 “Silver” Certification in Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (EBOM).
“I look forward to Linda’s leadership and placing New Orleans in the national spotlight within our industry and the ‘Green Community,’” said Adam J. Straight, Vice President – Operations at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Baynham joins the Convention Center with more than 20 years of experience in the environmental, energy, and utility sectors. As a consultant for major clients like Entergy New Orleans, Franklin Energy, Aptim, and CLEAResult, Baynham was able to help businesses and residential customers reduce their energy use through the design and implementation of several energy efficiency programs like the New Orleans City Council and Entergy New Orleans Energy Smart program, , Energy Star’s “Change a Light” Program, and more.
Baynham holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Tulane University, an M.S. in Energy Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.A. in physics from Colorado College. Baynham is a LEED Accredited Professional, and is a Certified Energy Manager and GPRO Green Building Operations Trainer. She also brings experiences from prestigious state and national organizations such as the White House Office on Environmental Policy, the Louisiana State Governor’s Office of Costal Activities, and the Louisiana Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
A Seattle native, Baynham has also served as a professor for Tulane’s Freeman School of Business and is a 5-year member of the Krewe des Fleurs, an all-female “sustainable” Mardi Gras marching group.
What started in 2010 with the computerization of the Convention Center’s Energy Management System has blossomed into a culture of sustainability-focused practices. Currently, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center reduces its energy usage by using energy efficient LED lighting in the majority of the building, and reduces its water usage by using more reliable and efficient water saving devices. The Convention Center has also established recycling and composting programs, and continues sustainability-focused practices in other areas, like green construction, transportation, and more.
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center continues to lead the way into an energy efficient future by continuing research on projects such as generating renewable energy by installing solar panels on the Convention Center roof, replacing all existing water fountains to a more environmentally-friendly model, and potentially utilizing rain water for green space irrigation and restroom facilities.
With Baynham leading the charge, the Convention Center will serve as a model for the local hospitality industry to develop higher sustainability standards and objectives, and create a positive sustainability community, thereby attracting events and businesses to New Orleans.
Oct 15, 2019
Convention Center Authority To Hold Public Meeting On Planned Headquarters Hotel Project
Posted on October 15, 2019
Authority Obtains Significant Concessions from Hotel Developer to Benefit of City and State
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Exhibition Hall Authority (“Authority”) will hold a Public Meeting on Monday, October 21st to solicit public comment on its plans to develop a 1,200 room hotel attached to the Convention Center. The meeting will be held beginning at 6 p.m. in room 220 on the 2nd floor of the Convention Center above Hall B.
In May 2018, the Authority authorized its Executive Vice President, Michael Sawaya, to negotiate terms for the hotel and will continue its diligence process until a final financial closing takes place early next year. The new headquarters hotel is a central element in the Authority’s $557 million five-year capital improvement plan that includes transformative upgrades to the Convention Center, development of a pedestrian park that is currently under construction, and a 39-acre mixed-use development.
According to Authority Executive Vice President, Michael J. Sawaya, “The public meeting is designed to encourage local resident and business owner engagement in the largest investment in our city’s hospitality infrastructure in decades. We are excited by the plans that have developed, the progress we have made in our negotiations with the developer, and how this project will make us more competitive with other leading tourism destinations. As we continue forward, we understand that issues of importance to the public must also be taken into account as we move toward finalizing this milestone agreement.”
The newly negotiated proposed agreement represents a significant improvement in economic benefits for the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana including a reduction of the financial incentive offered to the developer to 17% – far below an industry average of 37% on similar convention center headquarters hotel development projects.
Other concessions obtained by the Authority through these negotiations include:
A property tax payment to the City of New Orleans estimated to be between $3 million and $5 million annually (previously no rebate was contemplated);
A developer obligation of $250,000 in ground lease payments, escalating at 2% per year (the initial draft agreement contained no such provision);
A change in ownership of the hotel parking garage from the Developer to the Convention Center Authority, which will receive $300,000 per year in lease fees.
“The concessions we have been able to obtain represent a “sizeable win” for the people of Louisiana and for our city and state governments,” said Melvin Rodrigue, Chairman of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority. “These concessions can give the taxpaying public confidence that the path we are on is the right one for our city and state – a path that will lead to the creation of 1,900 net new permanent jobs and the generation of more than $282 million total economic impact and generate $18 million new tax dollars for the City of New Orleans, and $6 million new tax dollars for the State, all while bringing a long underdeveloped part of our city’s riverfront back into productive commerce.”
During the 2019 state legislative session, legislators overwhelmingly passed HB 617/SB which grants the Convention Center Authority the ability to own the planned hotel after the bonds used to finance the hotel are retired.
Note: Due to on-going construction along Convention Center Boulevard, persons attending are urged to park in the “whale lot” in front of the Riverwalk Outlet Mall or, if arriving on foot, should cross the Boulevard and enter at Julia Street to ensure their personal safety. Convention Center staff will be available to help direct attendees to the meeting.
Oct 10, 2019
New Orleans Convention Center Authority Launches Latest Expansion
Posted on October 10, 2019
SEBconnect brings small businesses one click closer to opportunity
New Orleans, LA – The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center Authority, the governing board of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, announced the launch of SEBconnect, a new, first-of-its-kind tool built to create awareness and educate local business owners in real-time about available contracting and purchasing opportunities at the Convention Center.
Because research shows 90% of mobile time is spent on apps, SEBconnect is an efficient way to engage with small businesses. According to the Authority’s Small and Emerging Business Committee Chair, Bonita Robertson, “Small business growth is so important to the development of our state and local economy. We are committed to maximizing small and emerging business opportunities between the Convention Center and local vendors, and SEBconnect is a great example of how we’re answering the call from our local business community to better streamline the process of connecting with the Center.”
Through various research methodologies including two focus group studies, the Convention Center found many local small business owners were missing opportunities because either they were not aware of these openings, or that these opportunities were not available for their business. SEBconnect, the first mobile app of its kind, is designed to simplify the process by connecting local businesses with push and text notifications to the most up-to-date contract and purchasing offerings at the Convention Center.
Moreover, for those who are not certified, SEBconnect makes the certification process easy and transparent by connecting business owners with the right point of contact for certification through the Hudson, State and Local Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (SLDBE) and Louisiana Unified Certification Program (LAUCP).
SEBconnect represents another important milestone for the Small and Emerging Businesses program which launched in 2017. Earlier this year, the Authority hired Small Business Program Director, Rocsean Spencer to help promote the importance of diversity, inclusion and small business development at the Convention Center.
“Connecting has been cited as the number one unwritten rule of success in business,” said Spencer. “Who are you connected to? Let’s SEBconnect!”
In addition to SEBconnect, the SEB program has a dedicated webpage at exhallnola.com, devoted to assisting business owners with State and Local program certification as well as an integrated outreach campaign to educate business owners on the opportunities at the Convention Center.
“Since launching our SEB outreach program, we’ve made great strides in better connecting with our local small business vendors. The SEBConnect app will make it easier. I am extremely proud of the dedication our team and the Authority has shown and look forward to seeing what’s next,” said Michael Sawaya, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Oct 4, 2019
First-Ever Comprehensive Convention Center Transportation Center Opens To Rave Reviews
Posted on October 4, 2019
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center opened its new Transportation Center for buses, shuttles, taxis and ride shares to rave reviews. The Convention Center made a significant investment to improve public safety and convenience of residents, local commuters and event attendees by eliminating shuttles, taxis and ride-shares on the boulevard that fronts the Center. The Transportation Center is the most well-designed and functional transportation center of any Convention Center in the U.S., as expressed by planners who first used it recently.
“The AAO-HNSF conference attendees found the Transportation Center’s central location convenient, easy to navigate, and admired it’s modern design,” said Tami L. Rollins, CMP, CEM, Director, Global Education, Meetings, and Strategic Partnerships, AAO-HSNF.
The AAO-HSNF (American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery) Annual Meeting & OTO Experience was the first group to use the Transportation Center which attracted more than 9,000 otolaryngologist head and neck surgeons from more than 80 countries with more than 250 exhibiting companies.
“Having managed thousands of transportation systems in several convention centers all over the US, we have seen and experienced different transportation areas. The new “Transportation Center” at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is a welcomed update to the property,” said Sam A. Spadavecchia, Director of Sales & Marketing, CMAC, LLC – Convention & Event Transportation Management.
“A large construction project is always frightful for us as we approach a program, but our experience last week was smooth and painless. We welcomed having a centralized location for all transportation needs for all attendees,” Spadavecchia continued.
The construction of the Transportation Center is part of a $557 million five-year modernization plan that will transform the planner and guest experience including reimagined meeting rooms, restrooms and public spaces. Negotiations are underway to develop a 1,200 room headquarters hotel connected to the Center that will be surrounded by a 39-acre mixed-use project with unique retail, dining and entertainment options.
The next major milestone will be the opening of the Pedestrian Park, expected in late 2020. It will be a lushly landscaped park the length of the Convention Center that will include communal gathering areas, public art, water features and outdoor event space.
Sep 27, 2019
Traffic Advisory: Eastbound Right Lane of Poydras Street to Temporarily Close Monday, September 30
Eastbound Right Lane of Poydras Street to Temporarily Close Monday, September 30
The eastbound right hand lane of Poydras Street in front of Gordon Biersch will temporarily close for construction on Monday, September 30, 2019, around 11:00 am. to facilitate a portion of the demolition and roadwork that extends into the Poydras intersection. The lane will be closed for approximately three weeks.
The pedestrian crossing at the corner of Convention Center Blvd. by Gordon Biersch Restaurant heading towards the River will also be inaccessible during this time.
Conditions will continue to change; motorists and pedestrians are advised to remain aware of the directional signs and consider alternate routes.
The construction is part of a $75 million safety and beautification plan to convert Convention Center Boulevard into a 7.5 acre landscaped Public Park to be completed in the fall of 2020.
Questions can be directed to the RoadworkNOLA Hotline is 504.658.ROAD (7623).
Sep 20, 2019
Convention Center Authority Extends Deadline for Responses to RFQ for Master Developer to October 18th
Posted on September 20, 2019
Due to strong interest from both the local and national development community, the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (Authority) has extended the deadline for the initial response to its selection process to find a qualified developer for its development upriver. Request for Qualifications (RFQ) responses will now be due on October 18th.
“The RFQ has generated a lot of interest, and some have expressed a need for more time to appropriately respond given that these 20 acres are some of the last undeveloped urban real estate in the country,” said Authority Chairman Melvin Rodrigue. “This will be one of the most important developments for New Orleans and the State of Louisiana in decades, and it is important that we allow more time for additional responses and further clarity beyond the initial phase,” continued Rodrigue.
The process provides for a short list of qualified respondents to be determined who will be asked to submit a Master Development Proposal to ultimately be considered by the Authority.
The Authority envisions that the 20 acres will be for a mixed-use development to complement a headquarters hotel, an entertainment concept, specialty retail, and residential uses already being considered. The Authority expects the development to be reflective of the unique culture and history of New Orleans and include elements not commonly found in other parts of the nation. The selected Master Developer would enter into a long-term agreement with the Authority to implement the plan for all or portions of the site. Selection criteria will include experience and capabilities, financial components, and commitment to inclusion of small and emerging business enterprises (SEB).
A complete timeline for the process includes:
October 18, 2019 All RFQ submittals due.
October 21-24, 2019 Panel review and scoring/short-list.
October 24, 2019 Notice of Interviews.
November 11-15, 2019 Interviews and scoring.
November 19, 2019 Finalists notified. Issue RFP to finalists.
January 17, 2020 RFP responses due.
Sep 10, 2019
Convention Center Authority Issues RFQ for Master Developer of Convention Center District Development Project
Posted on September 10, 2019
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (Authority), the governing board of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, is soliciting responses from qualified Master Developers to create a Comprehensive Development Plan and Strategy for the approximately 20 acres of the Authority’s overall 47 acre parcel adjacent to the Convention Center in downtown New Orleans.
The Authority envisions that the 20 acres will be for a mixed-use development to complement a headquarter hotel already in negotiations, an entertainment concept and additional Authority specific uses already being considered. The Authority expects the development to be reflective of the unique culture and history of New Orleans and include elements not commonly found in other parts of the nation. The selected Master Developer would enter into a long-term agreement with the Authority to implement the plan for all or portions of the site.
“Collectively, the mixed-use development of these 20 acres, the headquarters hotel currently being negotiated, the Pedestrian Park and Transportation Center under construction and the other enhancements the Authority is undertaking at the Convention Center, will represent the largest economic development initiative in the city in decades if ever,” said Authority Chairman Melvin Rodrigue.
Last year the Authority approved a $557 million five year Capital Improvement Plan that will include complete renovations to the all the Convention Center’s meeting rooms and public spaces, a retrofit of all exhibit hall lighting, replacing its 40 acre roof and complete upgrade of its technology infrastructure.
“Within the next five to seven years, between the Authority and the private sector, nearly $2 billion will have been invested to improve the experience for both our visitors and residents that will support thousands of new jobs and generated millions of new tax dollars for the New Orleans and the State of Louisiana.
The Master Developer selected through this process will help the Authority realize the most transformative era for New Orleans since the opening of the Convention Center,” said Michael Sawaya, Convention Center President/General Manager.
Qualified parties should visit https://exhallnola.com/opportunities/available-opportunities/ to register with the Exhibition Hall Authority website to view and download the RFQ details. The deadline for submittal is October 4, 2019.
Aug 28, 2019
New Orleans Convention Center Named a “Top Workplace”
Posted on August 28, 2019
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has been selected as one of the city’s Top Workplaces by The Times-Picayune|The Advocate. This is the fourth time the Convention Center has received the prestigious honor.
The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by Energage, LLS (formerly Workplace Dynamics), a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. Several aspects of the workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection.
“It is truly a testament to all of our employees, whom we consider internal customers, in helping maintain a work environment where internal customer satisfaction is among our highest priorities. We are indeed honored that the Convention Center has been recognized as a Top Workplace. When our SPICE Customer Service Program was implemented ten years ago, one of the goals was to make the Convention Center a place where our internal customers/employees would sincerely feel good about doing their jobs, and in turn create a positive experience for our external customers/patrons,” said Michael J. Sawaya, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “Our employees truly understand and appreciate the role they play and the positive affect they have on the state and local economy.”
All 500 full-time and part-time employees are required to attend regular training on the five Customer Service Standards that are the guiding philosophy of the program. These standards are reinforced during a daily SPICE Rack meeting. During SPICE Rack, employees are encouraged to recognize fellow employees for exceptional acts of service. The Convention Center also holds motivational, educational and teambuilding events for employees during the year, to reinforce the program.
The program was named “SPICE” to reflect the celebrated culinary heritage of New Orleans. The acronym SPICE stands for:
S – Serve with flexibility and a sense of urgency;
P – Perform with pride and passion;
I – Identify issues and provide solutions;
C – Convey a positive attitude;
E – Exceed expectations always.
“Our efforts have been successful, and our external customers, our clients, have taken notice. The Convention Center has received numerous industry awards and letters from clients praising the heightened level of service. Our employees truly make a difference in our success,” Sawaya added.
The Times-Picayune|The Advocate published the complete list of Top Workplaces on August 27, 2019. For more information about the Top Workplaces lists and Energage, please visit www.topworkplaces.com and www.energage.com.
Oct 26, 2017
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Generates $2 Billion in Economic Impact in 2016
Posted on October 26, 2017
$158.4 MILLION IN NEW TAX REVENUE FLOWS TO CITY, STATE
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s operations and activities produced $158.4 million in new tax revenue and $2 billion in total economic impact on the Metro New Orleans area last year.
The 2016 Economic Impact Analysis, prepared by the University of New Orleans (UNO) Division of Business and Economic Research, showed that the Center hosted 128 events last year that attracted 616,234 out-of-town visitors. Visitor and event spending, along with the Center’s operations, produced the statewide impact of $2 billion, which breaks down as $1.1 billion in direct spending and $873.1 million in secondary spending.
Included in those totals are $158.4 million in new tax revenues for the State of Louisiana and local government bodies–$94.1 million of this revenue was collected by the State of Louisiana and $64.3 million was collected by local government bodies, specifically the City of New Orleans, the Orleans Parish School Board and the Regional Transit Authority.
In addition, 19,734 jobs in the local economy were supported by the activities of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center last year, creating $611.4 million in income for local area residents.
“These impressive figures show that the Convention Center is a main driver of Louisiana’s economy, contributing millions each year to local governments, with a return of $60 for every dollar invested,” said Melvin Rodrigue, President of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, the Convention Center’s governing board.
Over the 31-year period of the Center’s operations, 2,835 major conventions and trade shows have been held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center that have brought 16.5 million registered delegates, guests, and exhibitors to the New Orleans area.
Most importantly, these events have created new spending of $81.7 billion, including $5.1 billion in new tax revenues. Of that total, $2.9 billion was in new State tax revenue and $2.2 billion in new local tax revenue.
Oct 5, 2017
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s Robert Johnson Retires
Posted on October 5, 2017
JOHNSON’S IMPRESSIVE RÉSUMÉ SPANS 46 YEARS IN THE FACILITIES INDUSTRY
NEW ORLEANS – Robert “Bob” Johnson, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, concluded his impressive 46-year facilities industry career on September 25, 2017 – his 70th birthday. Johnson has served as the facility’s senior director since 2007.
To celebrate Johnson and his legacy, employees, colleagues and friends gave him a true New Orleans-style send-off complete with a traditional brass band and a second line parade. There was much clapping, dancing, handkerchief waving, singing, cheering, and even tears, as Johnson exited the building for the final time.
Johnson has led the nation’s 6th largest convention and exhibition hall through numerous renovations and improvements, including the addition of the $52 million Great Hall and Julia Street entry plaza. Most recently Johnson has been the primary visionary and driver behind the facility’s planned renaissance of Convention Center Boulevard to include a more pedestrian-friendly linear park, as well as the development of a series of mixed use hotel, residential, entertainment and hospitality and retail complexes onto upriver acreage owned by and adjacent to the Convention Center. These over $1 billion in improvements and investments are expected to be game changers in New Orleans’ effort to stay competitive in the meetings and convention industry.
“Bob Johnson has been instrumental in every major advancement undertaken by the Convention Center over the past 10 years,” said Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Chair Melvin Rodrigue. The entire state’s hospitality industry is deeply indebted to Bob for his leadership and tenacity in helping to make our Convention Center one of the most utilized and recognized in the country.”
Among Johnson’s notable accomplishments are his leadership of the Convention Center’s recovery and ultimately, the City’s hospitality industry’s recovery following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. The Center’s occupancy has returned to pre-Katrina levels and the City’s recently announced record number of visitors reflects that level of business improvement. Johnson has led several industry- pioneering initiatives including Center owned and produced events, a widely recognized customer excellence program and owning its own UPS Store franchise among others.
“I’ve had the most enriching career a venue manager could want through my early years at the Dome and culminating with my time at the Convention Center. Through my work, I’ve traveled around the globe but promoting New Orleans has always been my passion,” Johnson said. “I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure at the Center, which is blessed with the most dedicated staff of any venue.”
Johnson’s venue management career spanned 46 years beginning in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he graduated from Wake Forest University. Prior to joining the Convention Center staff, Johnson opened UNO’s Lakefront Arena which became recognized nationally as a leading concert venue of its size. He had a distinguished career with global facilities management company SMG, including a 10 year stint in New Orleans as the General Manager of the Superdome where he oversaw the hosting of NCAA Final Four Tournaments, Super Bowls, a Republican National Convention and the Papal visit.
Sep 28, 2017
TICKETS GO ON SALE NOVEMBER 6 FOR NOLA CHRISTMASFEST 2017
HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES EXPAND AT NEW ORLEANS CONVENTION CENTER CELEBRATION
(NEW ORLEANS) – The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center today announced that individual and group tickets for one of the largest and fastest growing family holiday events on the Gulf Coast – the 2017 NOLA ChristmasFest – will go on sale at www.nolachristmasfest.com beginning Monday, November 6. The Fifth Annual NOLA ChristmasFest kicks off Thursday, December 21 and continues through Sunday, December 31.
The popular family holiday extravaganza will feature the only indoor ice skating rink in New Orleans as well as two captivating, 120-foot real ice slides. Along with an expanded Gingerbread House Exhibit, there will be a 10-foot, walk-through gingerbread house for photos and visits with lovable characters.
For 11 fun-filled days, people of all ages will experience the magic of the season amidst scores of decorated Christmas trees and thousands of dazzling lights inside the, weather-controlled festival. More than a half dozen themed inflatables and carnival rides will enhance the experience, including the Kringle Carousel, Winter Whirl, Blitzen Flyer, Polar Express and Snowy Summit Climbing Wall. The Snowball Fight Zone, Children’s Craft Area, holiday characters, life-size maze and themed-movies will also be returning to the indoor celebration, together with some soon-to-be-announced special events. Back by popular demand, 30-minute, private ice skating lessons will be provided by Ice Ambassadors before opening daily.
To commemorate the city’s Tricentennial, a “One Time in New Orleans” interactive center will be open on selected days to allow NOLA ChristmasFest participants to share their best New Orleans memories on video for the world to see.
NOLA ChristmasFest visitors will also have the opportunity to take photos with Santa and several of his North Pole friends. The Christmas festival will take place inside Hall I at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Special hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Christmas Day from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Pay One Price tickets are $20 per person for admission and will include skating, skate rentals, admission to all rides and attractions. Skating lessons, photos with Santa, face painting and cookie deocorating will be at an additional charge. Group tickets are available for only $15 each when 50 or more tickets are purchased in advance. Convenient parking will be provided directly across from the NOLA ChristmasFest entrance at Hall I for only $10.
Convention Center Boulevard will once again be decked in holiday décor and mesmerizing lights synced to traditional and contemporary Christmas music. This year’s display will extend for nearly two miles, lighting the way to NOLA ChristmasFest from Poydras to Henderson Streets connecting with the stretch of holiday lights along Canal Street.
Businesses can host their corporate holiday parties and events at NOLA ChristmasFest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
With 1.1 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space, an award winning staff and first class amenities, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO) is the sixth largest convention center in the nation, a consistent Top 10 host of the largest number of conventions and tradeshows annually, and one of the city’s “Top Workplaces.” A leading rainmaker of the city’s hospitality industry, MCCNO event activity has produced $53.7 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $3.4 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.
Diane Lyons | 504.524.1227 | email@example.com
Steve Schulkens | 504.401.6990 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sep 7, 2017
Chefs Taste Challenge and Farm & Table Jamboree at Convention Center This Weekend
Posted on September 7, 2017
Don’t miss the Chefs Taste Challenge on Friday, September 8 and the FREE Farm & Table Jamboree on Saturday, September 9.
CTC Tickets: chefstastechallenge.com.
Jamboree Schedule: farmandtablenola.com