Jetset Report: What’s New In New Orleans For 2016

French Quarters
The French Quarter of New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Neworleansonline.com

Have Millennial clients looking to travel to New Orleans soon? Here’s the scoop on all the latest hotel news, restaurant openings and upcoming events happening in The Big Easy. 

Hotel News

Marriott’s Moxy Hotel, located on O’Keefe Avenue in New Orleans’ Business District, is scheduled to open in March 2016. 

Formerly a Quality Inn, the 107 room property will cater specially to millennial travelers with amenities including high-tech lounges, grab-and-go food kiosks and efficiently sized rooms available at affordable rates. 

The hotel is situated a few blocks away from the French Quarter and is within walking distance to live music venues, restaurants and shopping. Nearby attractions include the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, The Civic Theater and Bourbon Street.

The first and only currently open Moxy hotel is located in Milan, Italy. Along with its New Orleans property, the brands U.S. debut in 2016 will also include New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle

Visit www.moxy-hotels.marriott.com

Things to Do

Visitors to New Orleans looking to get a taste of the city’s rich history can check out The Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6 mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting Armstrong Park in the Tremé neighborhood to City Park in Mid-City. Lafitte Greenway opened to the public in November 2015.

The $9.1 million project transformed New Orleans’ historic transportation corridors, formerly a canal and then a railroad, into a linear park, with a 12-foot asphalt path for cyclists and pedestrians complete with LED energy-efficient lighting along the entire trail.  

Lafitte Greenway also includes several new recreation fields, green space, landscaping improvements and over 500 shade trees and several native plant meadows.

Visit www.lafittegreenway.org

City Park
City Park in Mid-City, New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Neworleansonline.com

Events

For the adventurous traveler, Mardi Gras season kicks off in New Orleans on January 6 (also known as 12th Night). Mardi Gras day is early this year, with its official festivities taking place on Tuesday, February 9. 

Parades will begin two weeks before Mardi Gras day, with more than one million revelers expected to hit the streets of New Orleans and generate more than $840 million for the local economy. 

An estimated 12,500 tons of Mardi Gras beads are thrown from parade floats to crowds each year, and over 500,000 king cakes are sold annually during the two-week celebration. 

The third annual King Cake Festival will celebrate the city’s famous Mardi Gras treat in Champions Square on January 31. The event, which will benefit babies and children at Ochsner Hospital, will begin with a one mile Fun Run at 9 a.m., followed by a fitness challenge. 

Later, at 11 a.m., gates to the event will officially open, and festival goers can enjoy king cakes from local bakeries including Haydel’s Bakery and Caluda’s King Cakes. Local musicians including Flow Tribe and the Bucktown Allstars will provide live entertainment. 

Visit www.kingcakefestival.org 

On February 26, after all the excitement of Mardi Gras has died down, foodies visiting New Orleans can check out Nuit Belge, a premier event pairing Belgian beers with dishes prepared by local chefs at Generations Hall.

Fourteen restaurants, including Shaya, Emeril’s New Orleans, Cochon Butcher and Primitivo, are all scheduled to participate in the event, which debuted to such success in Nashville in 2015 that the event is going on tour. Atlanta and Charleston in addition to Nashville and New Orleans will all host the event. 

Visit www.nuitbelge.com 

Both music lovers and running enthusiasts headed to The Big Easy should visit The Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon, which will take place on February 28, 2016. 

Participants will have the option of running a 10K, a half marathon or full marathon through the streets of downtown New Orleans, the French Quarter and New Orleans City Park, all while passing live musical performances at every mile of the race. 

The weekend of events starts off with a Health & Fitness Expo at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on February 26th and 27th. After the races have ended, runners will also be able to enjoy the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series, which will include musical performances by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and J. Roddy Walston & The Business.

Visit www.runrocknroll.com/new-orleans

Brennan's Restaurant

Restaurants

The Besh Restaurant Group is scheduled to reopen its iconic Caribbean Room restaurant in Ponchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in 2016, at the same time as the hotel’s reopening after undergoing a $10 million renovation. 

Former chef de cuisine of Restaurant R'evolution, chef Chris Lusk, will oversee the return of the Caribbean Room, which originally opened in 1948 and was considered one of the most distinguished restaurants in New Orleans. 

Additionally, Besh Restaurant Group will reopen the hotel’s Silver Whistle coffee shop and Bayou Bar. Silver Whistle will offer counter service and a ten-top table as a nod to the original coffee shop, while the Bayou Bar will offer a casual tavern-style setting. Besh Restaurant Group will also have a new rooftop bar affording 270-degree view of the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans. 

Visit www.chefjohnbesh.com/restaurants 

Also on the restaurant scene, the recently renewed Brennan’s Restaurant will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2016. 

Known as one of New Orleans’ most historic Creole restaurants, executive chef Slade Rushing will bring back some the venue’s favorite dishes from its original menus, including dishes like Frog Legs Bathurst and Crabmeat Lundi Gras. The specials will rotate throughout the year and will also include vintage Brennan’s cocktails. 

Brennan’s Restaurant, known for its signature flaming Bananas Foster dessert, underwent a $20 million renovation in 2014 after being purchased by Ralph Brennan and Terry White

Visit www.brennansneworleans.com

Getting There

Louis Armstrong International Airport, the fastest growing airport in the U.S., began construction on January 4, 2016 on a new terminal facility, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

In addition to the new terminal, the airport has also added a variety of new flights, including: 

- GLO: One new daily departure to Shreveport and two new daily nonstop departures to Little Rock and Memphis
- Allegiant: One new twice weekly departure to Pittsburgh, beginning February 19, 2016. 
- Spirit Airlines: One new daily departure to Las Vegas, which began in November 2015, and a daily flight to Los Angeles, beginning April 14, 2016. 
- Copa Airlines: One new nonstop departure to Panama four times weekly, which began June 24, 2015. 

For a full list of flight schdules, visit www.flymsy.com

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