Royal Sonesta New Orleans Announces Promotion, New Staff Members

NEW ORLEANS – Royal Sonesta New Orleans (“RSNO”), a landmark hotel in the heart of the French Quarter, announced several new hires and promotions to its sales team. The property, which recently completed extensive guestroom renovations, and will soon reveal its newly reimagined grand ballroom, welcomes five experienced hospitality professionals to its team or to a new role.


• Chalon LaFleur has been promoted to director of group sales. Hotel reps said since starting with RSNO in June 2013, LaFleur has been especially effective in growing the Southeast and Midwest group markets while proving herself as a well-respected leader within the hotel. Prior to joining RSNO, LaFleur was part of the opening team for the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Her experience includes roles with Caesar’s Entertainment, Omni Royal New Orleans and the Fairmont New Orleans.

• Kathy Werhan has been hired as sales manager, handling the West Coast market for groups of 31 and more. Werhan worked as a contract sales manager for RSNO in 2014. Most recently, she was with Le Meridien New Orleans as sales manager for the West Coast. Werhan has a wide range of experience that includes the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, Buckhead and Reynolds Plantation, as well as Sea Island, Fairmont Hotels and Hilton Hotels.

• Marieke Franz has been hired as senior sales manager for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets for groups of 31 and more. Most recently, she was with the Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans as senior sales manager for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. Franz had a long tenure with Hilton that included serving as front office supervisor, food-and-beverage positions and as senior sales manager with the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

• Rhonda Thibaut has been hired as sales manager for the Midwest and Southeast markets for groups of 31 and more. Previously, Thibaut was senior sales manager for the corporate market with Intercontinental Hotel New Orleans. Her wide experience includes serving as assistant sales director at the Hilton St. Charles Hotel and sales manager at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and St. Christopher’s hotels. She began her career as a sales and catering assistant at RSNO.

• Jennifer Keller has been hired as catering sales manager. She joins RSNO with an extensive hospitality background that includes several years of executive catering sales in Dallas, founding her own catering business and working in restaurant franchise management and training. In addition, she served as a regional event sales manager for the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.


         RSNO reps said the hotel is a hub of authentic jazz, vibrant night life and refined southern design. The hotel is home to several dining and entertainment venues including Restaurant R’evolution, Bar R’evolution, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, Desire Oyster Bar, Le Booze and PJ’s Coffee Café. Royal Sonesta New Orleans offers 20,000 square feet of meeting and special event space, and with 483 newly appointed rooms, including 36 suites, the hotel is one of 66 properties within the Sonesta Collection.


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