Friday, January 18, 2013

Putting our best foot forward for Super Bowl in New Orleans

By Wendy Waren, VP of Communications, Louisiana Restaurant Association

We are just a few weeks out from hosting our 10th NFL Super Bowl in New Orleans in between two weeks of Mardi Gras—the largest free show in the world! The best that New Orleans has to offer—cuisine, music, food and fun—will be on the world stage, which is priceless exposure for our industry. 

The economic impact of 2013 Mardi Gras and Super Bowl XLVII is projected to near $1 billion. In short order, the City of New Orleans will host more than 1 million visitors giving us the opportunity to overwhelm them with the southern hospitality we are known for the world over.

Another benefit to hosting the Super Bowl is the $1 billion in capital improvements that have been made which include necessary repairs to streets, sidewalks and lighting, among others. The Disney Institute will hold Customer Service Training Sessions for front line staff and managers and supervisors on Jan. 22 and 23 in preparation of the onslaught of Super Bowl visitors.

There are more credentialed media coming to New Orleans for the Super Bowl than any other in history—nearly 6,000. The media will be dining in our restaurants, exploring our famous streets and attractions while here to cover the big game, but also looking for those stories that make New Orleans unique and authentic.
Coverage is already kicking up that some restaurants have signs posted in their windows with a photo of the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with the text, Do Not Serve This Man. The Commissioner is extremely influential in the selection of future host cities for the Super Bowl. Regardless of how you feel, the city’s reputation is so much more important. If you have one of these signs in the window, please consider removing it. There’s always next season to settle our differences and we’ll do it on the field.

This morning I was interviewed by WWL Radio's Tommy Tucker about the negativity surrounding the Saints' assessed penalties by the NFL and Commissioner Goodell's role in them and the possibility of the Atlanta Falcons playing in the big game.

We need to be the people we were when the Saints won the Super Bowl, when Drew Brees held his son in the air as the confetti fell and many of us cried tears of joy. It's important to show our pride, our resilency and our joie de vive for the whole world to see.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime for our industry to throw the biggest party paired with the one of the largest sporting events in the world! It’s important to our growth, future and our bottom lines that we put our best foot forward.

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