New Orleans is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. There is no specific reason — there's no amusement park or beach — but like other great cities such as Paris and Manhattan, people come here to spend time just living like we do.
Ironically, we herd them into the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street, which locals mostly avoid. We put them on buggy rides, ghost tours and swamp tours that locals never go on, and they eat in restaurants that most of us can only afford on special occasions. Tourists go home declaring New Orleans is a wonderful city, but they could never live here because they'd put on a hundred pounds and be drunk every night.
Making that experience the greatest week ever for around 9 million tourists a year isn't the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation's only task, but it does drag a good portion of the $6 billion in annual hospitality spending into the local economy. Mark Romig, the President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, joins Peter on this edition of Out to Lunch.
It's become a mantra these days that you can't be a truly great American city if you don't have a professional sports franchise. New Orleans has two big ones: the Saints and the Pelicans. The Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of both the Saints and the Pelicans is Ed Lang.
On today's Out to Lunch Peter Ricchiuti talks with Ed Lang and Mark Romig about the three biggest games in town: The Saints, The Pelicans, and The Tourists.