New Orleans convention center in festival business

New Orleans convention center in festival business
Associated Press


With an empty field and halls quiet in the dog days of summer tourism, the New Orleans Convention Center is putting on a festival. The Tailgate and BBQ Festival runs through Sunday.

General manager Bob Johnson says hurricane season brings a slowdown in the convention business. Three of the region's worst storms - Betsy in 1965, Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005 - all hit in August or September.

Katrina and the recession squashed plans for a 500,000-square-foot expansion planned on 26 acres next to the center. So that lot is available for festivals.

Steve Schmader, chief executive of the International Festival & Events Association, says other facilities, including sports stadiums, are trying to find similar uses for their idled property.
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