Week in Review, Feb. 21: Tourism Challenges, Net-Zero Living and Krewe d’Etat
NEW ORLEANS – It’s the Friday before Mardi Gras and half of the city’s C-suite is two drinks in at Galatoire’s or another Quarter hideout … but for the rest of you, here are highlights from our business news coverage this week:
Monday – The Morial Convention Center issued a request for qualifications to artists and design teams to create permanent art installations on the 7.5-acre pedestrian park that will run along the length of Convention Center Boulevard. The project is the first step in what could a $1 billion investment in the facility to boost convention business in the city. Detractors say similar projects in other cities have disappointed.
Tuesday – As the coronavirus (now officially named COVID-19) dominates international headlines, Tulane University mathematical epidemiologist James “Mac” Hyman has been using mathematical models to help predict the spread of the disease and the effectiveness of potential efforts to stop it. He advocates for better collaboration and communication among the groups responsible for fighting infectious diseases.
Wednesday – At a tourism industry event Tuesday at the downtown Marriott, New Orleans & Company President and CEO Stephen Perry cheered the industry’s successes while warning about challenges ahead. The number of visitors was down slightly in 2019 and tourism boosters have lower budgets this year to market the city.
Thursday – The former St. Bernard Project (now SBP) and partners are beginning work on St. Peter Housing, a $7.4 million affordable housing development near the corner of Broad Street and Orleans Avenue that is aiming for net-zero energy consumption. The building will use an efficient HVAC system, lighting controls/fixtures and appliances to keep energy demands low – and Entergy donated 450 solar panels and a battery array capable of producing and storing the same amount of power required to operate the building year-round.
Friday – Biz New Orleans visited the Krewe d’Etat float den last week to get a video preview of the famously satirical krewe’s 2020 parade and to talk to Richard Valadie of Royal Artists about the process of designing floats for four different New Orleans Mardi Gras organizations.