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Friday 5: What's New in New Orleans

By November 19, 2010

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Each Friday, I bring you five new things you may not know about cities around the world to help you decide just where to hold your next event. This week, what's new in New Orleans.

  1. The suites and penthouse at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans are about to get a, forgive the pun, ritzy new look. A renovation project is close to kicking off. New decor will still celebrate the colorful Mardi Gras atmosphere for which the city is known, but in a much more contemporary vibe.

    Ritz-Carlton New Orleans Design Board
    ©Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts

    Hotel executives shared a sneak peek of their design inspiration with About.com (pictured above). Design Continuum Incorporated's use of rich, bold colors paired with patterned and textured fabrics will do the hotel, and the city, proud. The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans offers more than 35,000 square feet of event space.

  2. The 66-room Hotel Le Marais is the hip, new kid hotel on the block.

    Formerly the St. Ann Hotel, new owners recently reopened the property after a multi-million facelift that basically had them stripping everything down to the studs and installing brand new materials from carpet and furniture to electrical and A/C systems. The finished product, which manages to be both vibrant and soothing at once, can be seen below.

    Hotel Le Marais
    ©The New Orleans Hotel Collection

    Executives also transformed an outdoor courtyard into a trendy lounge complete with a wine and tequila bar and a dipping pool. Event professionals will appreciate the hotel's policy of providing guests with complimentary WiFi, breakfast and newspapers daily. An executive meeting room can accommodate groups of 10 or less.

  3. There's a brand new event venue in New Orleans that will have you feeling like a champion.

    Champions Square, New Orleans, La.
    ©Photography by Philip Gould

    Champions Square opened in August and serves as a game day gathering spot for Saints fans due to its location right next door to the Louisiana Superdome. But, when the field is quiet, the 53,000 square foot outdoor space is available for private events for groups of up to 8,000.

    A built-in stage comes equipped with a video control room, wireless microphones, high-tech audio system, a 32'x18' LED screen, VIP green room and more. Just steps away, indoor club XLIV is also available for private functions for up to 500.

  4. Air travelers should expect construction at New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport through September of next year. The airport is adding six new gates to its "D" concourse and 8,000 square feet of concession space. Additionally, construction of a Consolidated Rental Car Facility will almost double the airport's rental car capacity when it is complete in 2012.

    For those in search of more immediate gratification, a new airport website (www.flymsy.com) made its debut just a few short weeks ago. Travelers will find real-time flight updates, among other new features.

  5. A new Zagat survey out today says New Orleans is the most affordable dining city in the US.

    Commander's Palace, New Orleans
    ©New Orleans CVB

    A poll of 3,000 diners found the cost of an average meal is about $28 bucks. (The national average is $35.) New Orleans residents and visitors were also found to be the best tippers in the nation. It's no surprise that the favorite cuisine is seafood. It may also be no surprise that Commander's Palace won for "most popular." But, Bayona grabbed the top spot for top food.

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