With the much-anticipated opening of the NOPSI Hotel providing a new hub for New Orleans meetings and a wealth of unique cultural activities, the Crescent City has much to offer planners.
“As one of America’s most inspiring cities, when you bring your team to New Orleans, you instantly begin to build stories that will not be forgotten,” says Cara Banasch, MBA, senior VP of business development and strategy at the New Orleans CVB. “As we approach our tricentennial in 2018, there has never been a better time to visit and to let our way of life inspire your way of work. When you meet in New Orleans, your ideas loosen up along with the rest of you.”
The recent opening of the NOPSI Hotel, the first new luxury hotel to open in the city in a generation, has given planners a new place to meet. Ideally situated in the Central Business District, the property offers 217 rooms including 81 suites. It also features 14,000 sf of historically significant indoor and outdoor event space.
“Our building has a powerful connection to the past. NOPSI, which stands for New Orleans Public Service Inc., is in the former headquarters of the city’s power and transportation company,” says Brett Forshag, director of sales and marketing at the property. “This distinctive nine-story brick building highlighted by original vaulted ceilings, Corinthian columns, terrazzo floors and exposed brick walls has been completely redesigned to create a unique meetings destination.”
The hotel’s expansive Dryades Ballroom boasts floor-to-ceiling arched windows, five vaulted breakout rooms and an outdoor patio. Additionally, a rooftop pool and bar, and private dining space for up to 100 above the signature restaurant Public Service is available to attendees.
“New Orleans is a place that every attendee is going to want to get out and experience, and our team is well prepared to assist with the many activities in the area,” says Forshag. “Just one block away, there is a Drink Lab that offers courses about the rich history of our spirits. Attendees can even jump behind the bar and learn how to craft these drinks while a live jazz band performs. Groups can learn about our unique cuisine and take a hands-on cooking class with one of our chefs. Or, if the development of New Orleans is of interest, we can arrange a private city tour. The options are endless in a city with strong roots and a storied past like the Crescent City.”
Secrets of Mardi Gras
Other cultural programming available in New Orleans includes Mardi Gras World, a tour that takes groups behind the scenes of the famous street carnival with a visit to Blaine Kern Studios, which has created elaborate floats for the event since 1947. Team building sessions are available where groups can compete to build their own mini-floats or Mardi Gras masks.
Langlois Nola offers live cooking shows with storytelling chefs who weave tales of Louisiana’s history into cooking demonstrations, as well as interactive Cajun-Creole dinner parties where groups participate in preparing and then enjoying a four-course meal.