Week in Review, Dec. 7-11: Harrah’s to Become Caesar’s
Here, from staff and wire reports, are the week’s top business stories:
Caesars Entertainment Inc. announced a $325 million renovation and construction project that will transform Harrah’s New Orleans into Caesars New Orleans by 2024. The plans, presented Dec. 8 to the city, detail a large-scale renovation that will “create a new flagship resort featuring the elegance and indulgence that has become Caesars’ hallmark.” Preliminary plans include a new 340-room hotel tower, new culinary and hospitality offerings, additional development of the unoccupied area on the second floor of the casino and “full exterior and interior architectural and design enhancements.”
New Orleans will host the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Final Four for the sixth time on April 2 and 4, 2022. This week, the NCAA and New Orleans Local Organizing Committee unveiled the official logo for the event, which is expected to be one of the first major sports gatherings in New Orleans since the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Orleans is lucky to be hosting the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2022 instead of 2021. Next year’s championship, scheduled to take place in Indianapolis (which happens to be the headquarters of the National Collegiate Athletic Association), will likely be heavily modified because of COVID-19 safety protocols. With vaccines on the horizon, however, organizers of the 2022 New Orleans tournament – only 16 months away – are planning for a good old-fashioned live sporting event that draws big crowds while incorporating appropriate safety protocols. It’s a vision that seems miles away from the current situation in New Orleans, where positive coronavirus tests have doubled in the last two weeks and the city is considering stricter measures to prevent crowds from gathering and the virus from spreading.
Meeting with other governors at a White House event Tuesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana expects to quickly administer its first two weeks of coronavirus vaccine doses to health care workers within 48 hours of receiving the shipments, which could begin this month. Louisiana is holding weekly logistics discussions to ready for distributing and administering a vaccine and expects to receive 39,000 doses in its first shipment week and 40,000 vaccines the following week, Edwards said during a talk with three other governors at President Donald Trump’s “vaccine summit.” “States, we’ve been in the business of doing this for a long time” distributing vaccines, Edwards said. “It’s not anything new. It’s just at a scale that we don’t typically have to do it at.”
New Orleans Magazine, a sister publication of Biz New Orleans, has partnered with d’Livery NOLA to give every customer who orders from the restaurant delivery service this month a copy of the magazine’s December “Best of Dining” issue. New Orleans Magazine’s largest-ever dining issue features regular food and drink columns plus special coverage of more than 50 essential spots.
Biz New Orleans has announced it will host the 21st Century Business Forum, a free monthly webcast featuring entrepreneurs, executives, thought leaders and other business experts from around the world. Each month’s conversation will be led by Jon Gordon, best-selling author of “The Energy Bus,” “The Carpenter,” “Training Camp” and other business titles.The first webcast – scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 13 – will feature Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Media and a former presidential candidate. Forbes is a four-time winner of the Crystal Owl Award, honoring the financial journalist whose economic forecasts for the coming year proved most accurate. He will share his insights, ideas and experience.