New Orleans: Underwater Wasteland Or Budget Bonanza?

New Orleans: Underwater Wasteland Or Budget Bonanza?

Like an iced drink in the hot summer, it sounds so good. New Orleans, or just call it the “Big Easy.” In the same moment, images of a non-stop party town mingle with the scenes of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath that have been engraved into our minds by watching the news. So what does New Orleans have to do with saving money on travel, and aren’t there are a lot of things to worry about if you go there?

*After two years, is the city still underwater?
No, the flooding was a temporary problem directly resulting from the storm.

*Are there lawless vigilantes roaming and looting the city?
No, the ratio of police officers to citizens is actually double the pre-Katrina levels.

*Are the historic areas destroyed?
No, the historic areas got the lesser of the effects of Katrina.

*Is New Orleans a deserted ghost town?
No, there are about 200,000 people living in New Orleans itself, with over a million in the metro area.

The city of New Orleans is heavily dependent on the visitor, it’s largest industry by far. With over billion per year at stake in conventions, meetings, and tourism in the city: the residents, the government, and the business community have worked feverishly to make sure that the key areas – the French Quarter, the central business district (CBD), and the Warehouse District are ready for visitors to return.

Judge their efforts: In 2006, the American Library Association trusted New Orleans with a 20,000-person convention. In 2007 so far, the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society has held a 24,000-person convention and the National Collegiate Athletic Association has held a 20,000-person convention. Recent corporate meetings held in the city include those of Whirlpool, Coca-Cola, Konica, Minolta, Sherwin Williams, and IBM.

After all, it’s easy to see why New Orleans would be a great choice because of the incredible location and accessibility. New Orleans is roughly in the center of the country, but far enough south that the snow doesn’t pound it in the winter. Interstate 10 runs right through it. American, Delta, Southwest, US Air, and several more airlines continuously fly there from nearby Atlanta and Houston, but non-stop flights also come from Dallas, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, New York, DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and more cities.

But the layout is absolutely the best part. It is an easy 1.5 miles from one end of the French Quarter to the other end of the Warehouse District. The CBD lies in the middle with a range of brand name hotels that vary from limited service to luxury. There are the historic hotels in ‘the Quarter’ and several newer hotels in the Warehouse District, including one with a Starbucks right in the hotel.

But in the end, it all comes down to the money you save. Here is a good comparison. Starting with a hotel in the New Orleans CBD, a random week was picked and prices pulled from the internet for a Tuesday arrival / Friday departure (Nov 6-9). For a comparable hotel room for 3 nights in equally accessible cities, was saved over Chicago and roughly 0 over Dallas, Atlanta, or Houston.

If you travel to New Orleans, you are in a position to save a lot of money. The weak demand makes it a traveler’s market. You may not be able to pronounce Tchoupitoulas Street (I had to ask a local), but you can save a lot of money.

For pictures of the city from my recent tour look at our website to experience beautiful, historic, and alive New Orleans. See you there!