The Road Explorer - Summer 2012 - (Page 22)

destination 200 Years of Joie-de-vivre Louisiana celebrates its bicentennial by Sarah B. Hood I t was 200 years ago this past April 30 that Louisiana officially became a state, and throughout 2012 bicentennial celebrations will be held to commemorate the history and culture of this former French territory. Tourists have been flocking to Louisiana in recent years; in fact, The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch reports that the New Orleans region was the most improved market for business in the United States between 2010 and 2011. Among the unusual draws to the state is the phenomenon known as “voluntourism,” which is the practice of visitors dedicating holiday time to helping others, often by signing up for a project such as a Habitat for Humanity home building project. This year is also the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the Faubourg Tremé, America’s earliest African American neighbourhood, into the City of New Orleans. A recent Emmy-nominated HBO series named Tremé, currently moving toward its third season, set in the neighbourhood in the postHurricane Katrina era, has stimulated public interest in this historic neighbourhood. This year, a roster of bicentennial events are planned. They’ll reach a crescendo in October with the colourful Tremé 200 Festival, when the neighbourhood will host a free outdoor event with multiple open-air performance stages and plenty of food, music, crafts and culture. On February 3, 2013, New Orleans will host Super Bowl XLVII. The date happens to fall in between the two weekends of Mardi Gras (January 24-27 and February 6-11), so the party couldn’t possibly get any bigger. Between the rowdy masquerade celebrations of Mardi Gras and the NFL’s own brand of starstudded entertainment leading up to the big game, this will certainly be a Super Bowl to remember. Bound to be popular with fans who don’t hold a coveted ticket to the game will be Manning’s New Orleans in the Warehouse District. This 210-seat restaurant has just been launched by former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning; with its 30 television monitors and a sports anchor desk, it’s the obvious venue to watch the action. In preparation for game day, the city’s NFL stadium and home of the Saints, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, has undergone an $85 million renovation to expand the Plaza Level concourse, increase the number of women’s washrooms and add more concession stands, seats and video monitors, as well as two new lounges. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International The Road Explorer Airport has also been upgraded – to the tune of $300 million. Additional upgrades to passenger facilities like WiFi availability and waiting area décor are expected to be complete in time for the Super Bowl. As of January 2013, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will have a new, 60,300 square-foot Great Hall, along with a new junior ballroom and an executive club lounge. There are also several new and redesigned hotel projects around town. Following a change of ownership and a facelift, the Saint Hotel on Canal Street reopened in January 2012. It offers 166 rooms, a restaurant and two bars. Also newly renovated is the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, which saw $17 million worth of upgrades to its 218 rooms and 28 suites. Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter in Crescent City reopens in July 2012 after major refurbishments, with 186 guest rooms plus meeting space and a restaurant. After almost a decade of silence, the Joy Theater at 1200 Canal Street, which opened in 1947 as a postwar movie palace, reopened in December 2011. Just across the street, the 1927-vintage Saenger Theater, closed since Hurricane Katrina, is also undergoing a $51 million restoration. It is expected to open its doors in 2013. With the bicentennial and the Super Bowl, New Orleans will be a major hub of activity throughout 2012 and early 2013, but the entire state is gearing up to welcome tourists to its 200th birthday party from Baton Rouge to Bossier City. Updates on the ongoing celebration are available all year at ■ 22 Summer 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2012

Industry Voice
Issues Update
Canadian Travel to the U.S. Continues to Grow
Electronic On board Computers
Capital Gains
Making the Grade in Kingston,Ontario
200 Years of Joie-de-vivre
Buyers' Guide
List of Advertisers

The Road Explorer - Summer 2012