A former French colony, New Orleans, often referred to as ‘The Big Easy’, is a truly unique city, not just in the United States but across the world. With a proud cross-cultural and multilingual tradition, this one-of-a-kind city situated alongside the great Mississippi river is a growing tourist destination, welcoming close to 18 million visitors in 2017.
Marketing itself as a state of opportunity, Louisiana offers a business environment built for success, combining an extensive collection of competitive advantages, including customised workforce training, low business operating costs, and robust infrastructure. As a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the Gulf Coast region.
Founded in 2004, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce helps members build mutually beneficial partnerships within the city, and currently boasts around 1,300 members. This focus on business has helped Louisiana rank among the top ten business climates in the nation across three independent sources.
The recently revamped New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center plays a major role in the success of the city’s business events. The centre is the sixth largest convention facility in the United States, boasting over a million square feet of exhibit space, and regularly ranks in the country’s top ten facilities holding the most annual conventions and tradeshows.
In New Orleans, both business and culture are abounding. Steeped in a proud musical tradition, there is never a night in New Orleans where one can’t see the finest jazz and blues musicians lighting up a stage, along with a host of other performances that give a real flavour of the city’s historic music and arts scene.
If one is lucky enough to visit the city in carnival season, then the Mardi Gras celebrations across New Orleans are less of a ‘must see’ and more of a ‘cannot miss’. For two weeks in February/ March, the city is transformed into a cornucopia of celebration, hosting parades, balls and many more vibrant community events that get the streets dancing and singing.
Those visiting outside carnival season are still in for a treat. The French Quarter is the city’s historic heart, famous for its vibrant, around-the-clock nightlife, and colourful buildings resplendent with cast-iron balconies. The centre of activity is famous Bourbon Street, packed with such crowd-pleasers as jazz clubs, Cajun restaurants and rowdy cocktail bars.
Head down to the Toulouse Street Wharf and one can see the city differently by taking a ride on New Orleans’ only steamboat, the Steamboat Natchez. This two-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter will take you around the beautiful crescent of the lower Mississippi River, with food, cocktails and wine available on board to help you float in style.
A short walk further south, in the CBD, is the National WWII Museum. Designated by the U.S. Congress as the nation’s official National WWII Museum in 2003, it offers a range of fascinating special exhibits and events, as well as museum tours across its six-acre campus, interactive features, oral histories, and personal vignettes.
A visit to Louisiana wouldn’t be complete without exploring the New Orleans plantations, which provide insight into some of America’s most interesting and tragic stories. The history of slavery in the state, and the nation, is not always comfortable to learn about, but these tours give a fascinating glimpse into both the opulence and exploitation of plantation life.
New Orleans has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most culturally rich destinations, and the sense of excitement and joy that permeates this great city is infectious.
Our accommodation provider of choice when staying in New Orleans is Stay Alfred, offering short or long-term stays right in the downtown core. Find out more at www.stayalfred.com.