of 9:10 a.m. on Monday, September 5 :
the latest updates click the link above !!!!
Blaine Kern, Jr. please email your contact info to
We offer the deepest and most profound thank you to governments,
individuals, trade organizations, and especially our clients,
customers, and long-time tourist visitors for the overwhelming show
of support and affection for our city and people. You have touched
our hearts. Your offers of assistance and your heartfelt expressions
of eagerness to return to our city when we are on our feet has moved
us beyond words. We love our city and your communication of your
love of our New Orleans has buoyed our spirits.
America's most romantic, walkable, historic city is no longer
herself. We hope it will only be for a matter of months. Only time
will tell the duration. The birthplace of jazz, home of unique
French and Spanish architecture, and the originator of the most
renowned cuisine on the planet has taken a terrible hit. But, its
government, business and tourism industry leaders are pledging that
beginning over the next few months the city will begin its efforts
to be reborn better than ever.
Right now, however, we are in a mode of
rescuing our citizens who are still trapped and without food, water,
and healthcare. They are our first priority.
Among the scores of heroic stories are those of hoteliers who have
remained on site protecting guests, tourists, and locals in their
properties with no regard for their own safety.
The city seemed to turn a corner Saturday as citizens at the
Superdome and Convention Center have now been evacuated according to
MSNBC. There are now thousands of National Guard troops on the
ground and civil order is coming back. The 82nd Airborne is also on
the ground in the city.
The Governor and Mayor now believe that the death total will rise
into the thousands.
Amtrak trains carrying 1,500 passengers a day out of New Orleans are
Three Carnival Cruise Line Ships have been marshaled by the federal
government to move to New Orleans to serve as housing.
The Mayor estimates that 40-50,000 people remain of the 450,000
The historic French Quarter and nearly all of the hospitality
infrastructure survived, though battered. The amazing historic
texture and fabric of this unique city...all of those things that
draw millions of visitors from around the world resiliently remain.
A single bar opened in the Quarter as a gathering spot for locals to
visit and share stories, though it had nothing to sell. A lone
artist living on Pirates Alley next to the St. Louis Cathedral hung
his paintings on the Jackson Square fence just like normal in a
symbolic gesture for others that New Orleans French Quarter culture
would absolutely rebound.
Though we will be down for a period, there is a sense already
forming among our leaders and the people that we will successfully
be able to preserve all of those things which have made us world
famous, and that we will be able to rebuild an even more welcoming
vibrant city in which to live, work and do business. It will require
all of us to unite. The work will be hard but gratifying. The
challenges are immense. We are up to the task.
The tourism leadership is committed to helping lead the greatest
urban rebuilding project in our nation's history. We have a historic
opportunity to be a living laboratory for taking disaster,
infrastructure degradation, and social ills and rebuilding a new
city that remains historic and unique, but is a model for rebirth
socially and structurally.
It may be quite a while...but one day the riffs of jazz trumpets,
the indescribable tempting smells wafting from the kitchens of our
great chefs, the aroma of cafe-au-lait and beignets, the buzz of
great conventions, that foot-wide magnetic smile of the front
bellman, and the romantic strolls through the Quarter will be
commonplace again. The spirit of the multicultural people of New
Orleans is indefatigable, and though we may be bowed and emotionally
stretched, we cannot be defeated and cannot wait to rebuild the
world's most authentic city.
Orleans CVB Staff: See Below Instructions in
Staff Section: New Information!
We are working diligently to return your calls but the cell and
landline telephone grids are down or overloaded. Only brief windows
Perry has moved to the Lt. Governor's
offices in Baton Rouge
at 225-342-7009. Please temporarily make requests to the following
All city-wide conventions are cancelled through December 1.
Additional assessments will be made during the next two weeks when
we are out of search and rescue mode. Contact the following staff in
Washington and Chicago:
Current CVB Activity
The CVB is working with
Lt. Governor Mitch
Landrieu to establish an alternate office
in Baton Rouge.
We will have skeletal operations to work with convention and
meetings clients and tour operators and leisure industry
professionals operational on Monday. The Chicago and Washington
offices are fully functional.
Mr. Perry has scheduled a CVB staff meeting Monday at 10:00 a.m. of
all personnel in the Baton Rouge area. The meeting will be on the
fifth floor of the Capitol Annex adjacent to the State Capitol. All
who are able, please attend.
Executive VP for Convention Sales Kitty Ratcliffe will work from
Dallas for the next week.
Vice President of Tourism Kim Priez will be working from Pensacola,
Director of Corporate Sales Sallee Pavlovich will be based out of
for the near future.
The Washington and
Chicago offices are fully operational and staffed with
The CVB President is fully operational at the Lt. Governor's Office
in Baton Rouge
on the fifth floor of the Capitol Annex along with Vice President
Steve Moeller. Telephone 225-342-7009.
Lt. Governor Landrieu has graciously
welcomed our industry leaders and provided us a home to operate
from. We are forever in his debt.
The City of New Orleans has set up in the building with us on a
separate floor, and we are in constant contact with Brenda Hatfield,
Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, and Don Hutchinson. We have wonderful
access as well as with the staffs of the Governor and Lt. Governor.
Greater New Orleans Inc. and Mark Drennen are also setting up on the
first floor of the Annex at the very gracious invitation of the
Secretary of Economic Development, Michael Olivier. The political
and business base of New Orleans has thus been set up in the same
building adjacent to our capitol courtesy of our state government.
This will greatly facilitate tactical, policy, and financial
discussions over the coming months.
Langkopp, Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans
Hotel and Lodging Association is also here and working with the CVB
team throughout the day.
NOTMC President Sandy Shilstone is established in Houston and is
operational and in contact with our team.
Senior staff will be making their way from multiple
evacuation locations to join
in Baton Rouge
over the weekend to form an executive team with more advanced
communications capabilities for next week. Some sales managers are
now reaching Baton Rouge
and will be joining as well. We will post an inventory of Baton
Rouge personnel after the meeting on Monday.
The city-wide meeting calendar through December 1 has been
cancelled. We will be in touch with all planners affected next
week. Please understand that we simply cannot answer all of your
questions right now until we have time for proper assessment and
discussions. These cannot occur while we are in search and rescue
and evacuation mode.
Our ability to work with and contact our member hotels and other
member companies is severely impaired as of this update. Please be
patient with our wonderful suppliers and properties who are under
incalculable stress at this time.
Planning meetings between tourism and government leaders will likely
not occur until next week, as government agencies, companies and
individuals remaining in New Orleans are engaged in basic survival,
securing property, acquiring water and food, evacuating citizens,
and ardently managing their commitments to citizens, guests,
employees, and property preservation.
There are no means currently of bringing groups together to discuss
strategic issues. Public safety issues are the dominant concern at
The CVB office on St.
is closed and is not likely to have power restored for two months in
a best case scenario. It could take many more weeks. Reports
indicate that our magnificent new headquarters has been
significantly damaged. Updates will be regularly given. We will
likely be located in Baton
Rouge for the remainder of the year.
To our knowledge, all CVB personnel are safe. Virtually all were
asked to evacuate and relocate. Those few who remained cannot be
contacted or reached for the most part, but are assumed safe. Only
those who evacuated are able to work with you at some level at this
time. It is estimated that more than 90% of the CVB staff will have
sustained major home damage or outright loss of their homes.
I will continue personally to write updates to the website as I am
able. We apologize for any inadequacies of information and are doing
our best to maintain communication with all emergency preparedness
entities and with all travelers, meeting planners, and tour
operators. Please work with our regional offices in the meantime.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I am sorry we cannot
speak personally to each of you who have important questions at this
Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans
and the Mississippi
with devastating force on Monday. Most believe that this is now the
greatest natural disaster in the history of the
Thousands still await rescue as 70% of the city is still
underwater. Civil safety seems to be improving today.
Insurance exposure and damage estimates are initially estimated at a
minimum of $25 billion.
Some 90,000 acres of America, an area the size of Kansas, are
Over 80,000 people have been evacuated to shelters in other
locations. Federal relief efforts are finally showing significant
Some of the most heroic rescues in our nation's history have
occurred over and over. First responders have been brave and
stretched to the breaking point by their commitments and efforts.
President Bush was on the ground Friday and consulting with local
and state leaders. The local hope was that federal efforts would
quickly become more effective with the President's input. And that
has been the case.
The presence of the President was reassuring to locals because he
already expressed that he believes the federal relief efforts to
that point had been totally unacceptable.
After meeting with the Mayor and Governor, the President toured the
New Orleans area by air before departing for his return to
The President signed a $10.5 billion aid package on Friday which he
described Saturday in a White House Press Conference as a down
The city seemed to turn a corner Saturday as most of the citizens at
the Superdome and Convention Center were evacuated according to
MSNBC at 6:00 p.m.
There are now 35,000 National Guard troops on the ground and civil
order is coming back. The 82nd Airborne is also on the ground in the
city. A large influx of military under the command of General Honore
is currently restoring order.
The most important steps right now focus on search and rescue,
evacuation, and providing food and water and healthcare to our
besieged remaining local residents. The restoration of civil safety
is also critical and has begun to occur with the influx of the
Once search and rescue is finished and all of our citizens have been
stabilized and cared for with food, water and accommodations, we
have urged the government leaders to make stabilizing our hotels a
Many in our hotel industry would serve as the location and
headquarters for emergency workers, construction workers, federal
personnel, public safety officers and all other essential persons
and provide a base of operations from which to facilitate the
rebuilding of the city. As the city is rebuilt, the hotels could
also rebuild their own infrastructure and put service workers into
jobs that would stabilize their lives and serve the rebuilding
worker teams. Then we would have a headstart on rebuilding the
economy and the 81,000 jobs provided by the industry. It will be a
long process, but our hotels want to do their part. Their current
infrastructure would be invaluable to the rebuilding process.
We are also urging the federal government to preserve and protect
the integrity of the French Quarter upon which the economy of the
city is built and is dependent. We can rebuild modern buildings. The
Quarter is what defines us and is not replaceable.
There is no electrical power for the
city of New Orleans in the largest
power outage in the history of
or Entergy. Certain areas of the city including the French Quarter,
parts of Downtown, the Warehouse District and Convention Center may
have power within a month or it may take much longer....other areas
may be without power for up to three to five months.
Spotty electrical service has been restored in parts of Jefferson
Parish along major thoroughfares. See the Entergy website.
Telecommunications and Internet
There has been no or little cell phone service in the city as all
towers are either down or battery charged transponders cannot be
reached to be recharged. For the first time Friday, there was
intermittent availability of cell service. Cell phone
service continues to come back well over the weekend. Lines are
still ot esy to gain however.
Only those hotels with corporate housed servers in other cities have
any internet possibility. Communication with anyone in the city is
Long distance lines are sometimes difficult to acquire throughout
Louisiana and the
Coast because of the high traffic.
There is no access to the city of
by citizens who evacuated whatsoever. The Governor has issued an
order barring all evacuees from returning to the city until it is
deemed safe. There is no access to the city at this time and none is
expected for two weeks or more.
Some estimates have full return to the city more than a month away.
Temporary return of evacuees to collect belongings is being
considered by governmental officials but is unlikely until civil
order is established firmly and evacuation and search and rescue
begins to wind down.
Jefferson Parish will allow residents with ID
or proof of address to return beginning Monday at 6:00 a.m. via
Airline Highway. A curfew from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. is still in
Water in the area is no longer potable and must be boiled before
Evacuations of Tourists and Citizens
The evacuation and rescue of the
40,000 citizens remaining continues.
I-10 East Destroyed
The Twin Span of Interstate 10 leaving the city to the east toward
Florida has been destroyed.
glimpsed a possible turning point Wednesday as floodwaters that had
risen harrowingly for two days reached equilibrium and began
spilling back into Lake Pontchartrain
through breaches in the levee system, officials said.
At least 60% of the city is still under water. Official estimate
that after the levees are repaired, it may still take 30-45 days to
significantly drain large sections of the city.
The French Quarter, Uptown and the CBD
had initially suffered the least amount of flooding and water damage
and have been doing relatively well from the standing water
The Warehouse and Arts District and CBD and Convention Center Area
are relatively dry today . Some hotels fared poorly and others did
well, relatively speaking.
Most internal roads in the city are impassable with water or downed
tree limbs or other storm debris.
The historic character of the French Quarter has otherwise survived
and many of the buildings have suffered far less wind damage than
those in other parts of the city. Mayor
estimates that 60% of the city is still under water at this time.
Restoring the integrity of the levees will determine the level of
water damage in the Quarter and Downtown. Currently the Quarter is
in acceptable condition considering what has occurred.
The fires at Canal Place adjacent to the Quarter on the River Side
did not destroy the building structurally. They have not spread to
any other part of the Quarter at this time. Saks has been destroyed
although firefighters saved the structure.
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center had fared well from the
hurricane winds in a part of the city having less damage than most.
Damage assessments are forthcoming but early views were very
optimistic. Unconfirmed secondary sources report that the center
suffered minor window breakage and wind damage. Water damage
is limited to two halls and is very manageable at this time. Thus,
structural issues are positive.
Unfortunately, the interiors of the Center have been under
considerable duress from large crowds which had gathered and
inhabited the center as shelter. The citizens there were not been
provided with water or food for more than three days, resulting in
civil unrest through mass frustration. The interiors will require
considerable cleaning and renovation.
All citizens have been evacuated from the Center now. No time is
able to be estimated yet for the beginning of renovations and
Significant wind damage to the Superdome has been sustained and to
many high rise buildings in downtown as additional wind torque with
the storm blew out many windows including those at several large
hotels. The Hyatt near the Superdome has
sustained serious damage to its windows on one side.
The 15,000 survivors staying in the Dome have been relocated to the
of the NFL announced that it was unlikely the New Orleans Saints
would be able to play football in the Dome for the entire NFL
Commissioner David Stern of the NBA is considering relocating the
New Orleans Hornets to another city according to ESPN.
A mandatory curfew is instituted in the evening hours and has
cleared New Orleans'
streets of people, cars and public transit at night. All ferry
service has been discontinued, and
New Orleans area bridges have been closed.
No Entrance to City
The Governor has issued an order barring all evacuees from returning
to the city until it is deemed safe. There is no access to the city
at this time and none is expected for the next week or more.
Jefferson Parish will allow residents with ID or proof of address to
return beginning Monday at 6:00 a.m. via Airline Highway. A curfew
from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. is still in effect. Television news in
Baton Rouge reported that Entergy and Bell South are very concerned
about the decision and believe that the crowds of returning citizens
will clog the roadways and greatly impede restoration of power and
telecommunications. Lines on Airline Highway are already reported as
citizens line up to return to the parish. Caution and patience
For specific information regarding traffic management
and evacuation protocol, check the
Louisiana Homeland Security & Emergency
For information regarding statewide shelters, please call
Currently, a number of New
Orleans hotels still remain open and are
accommodating guests and survivors and public safety personnel.
The Canal Place complex is currently on fire according to CNN.
Status of the Wyndham is unknown at this time.
However, in accordance with mandatory evacuation orders in effect
for Orleans Parish, and the status of the city after the storm,
all have been working to evacuate remaining tourists. These efforts
have been largely successful.
The focus of hotels has been managing water and food supplies to
their guests and making them as comfortable as possible under
exceedingly difficult disaster conditions. They have been Herculean
in their attention to and management of water and food supplies with
only skeleton staffs, and their amazing efforts to ease the
difficulties of stranded locals and tourists and to the families of
public safety personnel remaining behind.
Arrangements are being made to evacuate all remaining stranded hotel
guests as soon as possible from every property still protecting
guests. Many of those evacuations have already begun and many have
been completed. Hotels simply have no staff or supplies to handle
the situation much longer. Federal and state assistance will be
necessary soon for those remaining open.
Damage to hotels has been much less compared to the other parts of
the city from a structural or wind perspective. Damage assessments
however cannot really begin for some time.
If you had plans to travel to
during the next three months, it is important that you check this
website, the national news, and check directly with your hotel
regarding the status of the city and your reservation. Local TV
website links are provided below.
All city-wide conventions are cancelled through
Additional assessments will be made during the next two weeks when
we are out of search and rescue mode. Contact the following staff in
Washington and Chicago:
If you are a meeting planner, please
understand that the CVB and most hotels have no telephone or cell
service, nor internet access at this time. Nor is there access to
electronic files and databases to contact customers. The staffs of
the CVB and your hotel will contact you directly as soon as it is
All office electronic files should be restored by Tuesday. We will
be in touch with all of you next week.
Airport & Airlines
remains closed at this time to commercial traffic due to power
outages throughout the region. There is no timeline for the
resumption of commercial air service into the
New Orleans area.
The airport is currently being utilized as a critical care medical
triage facility for the evacuation of patients.
Passengers will not be allowed to retrieve vehicles left in the
airport parking garages until further notice.
Only emergency supply flights are now allowed into the city.
Airlines are working with the
Baton Rouge airport to add significant new
flights there to help service the region.
We will work with airlines over the next few days to ask for
forbearance on issues related to fees on rescheduling flights,
particularly as they relate to meetings and conventions. We expect
the airlines to respond appropriately and assist you, particularly
in a natural disaster situation such as this one. However, you must
work directly with the airlines yourself on your individual
situations as we do not have the manpower or communications systems
to do so.
of New Orleans & Cruise Lines
All in-coming access into
New Orleans and the Port is now closed due to
the condition of the city. Guests that parked at the pier in
New Orleans will not be able to access their
cars for an undetermined period and there is a complete assessment
of the area. The Port
of New Orleans
hotline (1-866-476-7866) will provide updated information about
access to the port area as it becomes available.
Three Carnival Cruise Line ships have been marshaled by the federal
government to move next week to New Orleans to serve as temporary
The Regional Transit Authority suspended all bus and Para transit
services. Streetcars are not operating.
RTA will inform the public when service can be reinstated.
Ferry service has been suspended and virtually all area bridges have
been closed. For a list of
closed bridges, click here.
Unfortunately, the CVB emergency team has had no power or internet
or telephone access along with all of the other residents and
businesses. Virtually all staff were evacuated pursuant to the
orders of the Mayor. For remaining staff , there is no access
possible to telephone messages at the office or to internet
communications. This website is hosted in
California and will continue to operate. Mr.
Perry will continue to update the website
himself and use it to send messages to staff.
All CVB employees who evacuated and are in a
secure location, please email
Mr. Perry at
include your location and a landline number and your status and
All CVB staff who are in the Baton Rouge area are asked to attend a
meeting on the 5th floor of the Capitol Annex on the river side of
the Capitol Building at 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning.
We believe that we will be able to process CVB payroll on Tuesday.
We will keep you informed.
CVB staff members are just now able to communicate with or reach
This website will continue to be updated as is possible with any
information from city and state officials as announcements are made.
Recorded CVB Information Line: 504-566-5011 This line may not