Week in Review, Jan. 10: Carnival Begins and Drew Dons a Disguise

Drew Brees in disguise on this week's episode of "Undercover Boss."

NEW ORLEANS – More than 100,000 college football fans (and possibly one polarizing U.S. president) are descending on New Orleans for the College Football Playoff National Championship scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13 at the Louisiana Superdome. That’s a lot of money being spent on hotel rooms, restaurant meals and Cat’s Meow karaoke performances over the next three days. Jay Cicero, CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, said the early projections are an economic impact approaching $300 million. So while the city has been preparing all week for the big game, there were some other business news highlights:

The Carnival season officially began on Monday as many Christians worldwide celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany. In New Orleans, Carnival sights included customers lining up outside Manny Randazzo Original King Cakes (watch our exclusive video) first thing in the morning and the Phunny Phorty Phellows parading along the Uptown streetcar line after the sun went down.

Also Monday, the New Orleans Hotel Collection and the French Quarter Hotel Collection – previously two separate hotel groups – announced they are merging and re-branding as the J Collection, a group that includes 19 unique, locally owned and operated hotels situated throughout New Orleans and the surrounding region.

On Tuesday, we reported that King Crow Studios, a digital media company located in the Louisiana Technology Park in Baton Rouge, was selected as one of six recipients of a $1 Million contract from the United States Air Force for its training and simulation application. The move was part of an effort to give opportunities to a more diverse group of smaller companies.

On Wedneday, we welcomed two new restaurants to the city: Emmylou’s barbecue at the St. Roch Market and Laurel Oak, a southern brasserie and cocktail bar in the Magnolia New Orleans hotel. 

Also Wednesday, Saints quarterback Drew Brees appeared on the CBS TV show “Undercover Boss.” In the episode, Brees is disguised as a long-haired, bearded, middle-aged man named “Chris” who is starting his second career by signing on to be a dishwasher at Walk-On’s (where, in real life, Brees is an investor).

Thursday  brought news of two retirements: legendary jazz musician Ellis Marsalis is saying goodbye to his weekly gig at Snug Harbor and John White is stepping down as Louisiana’s education chief.

Also Thursday, New Orleans-based company TrayAway announced that 100 hotels – from Kazakhstan to California – are using its system to help pick up room service trays faster and more efficiently.

There will definitely be a lot of trays to pick up in New Orleans hotels this weekend … have a great one.


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