When you hear the words New Orleans Convention Center today you can’t help but see those horrific images of thousands of stranded New Orleans Locals who where pushed out of their homes by the ranging flood waters post Katrina. It was such a hopeless time in our country and the media wasn’t able to cover it all because of its magnitude. Even today when I look through the countless photos of the disaster I get very angry and upset.
Five years later when I pass the convention center I think of all those people scared and dying on the curb side of the convention center. I can not wipe those images from my mind. It is really amazing how New Orleans has rebuilt and cleaned itself up. It is a real reflection of the pride of this city. Now with the Gulf spill it is like we just picked ourselves up, brushed ourselves off and then got kicked in the teeth again. If we survive this Oil Spill after Katrine then I may start to believe that we are invincible.
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center History
The Convention Center was planned starting in 1978. It is the 5th-largest facility of its kind in the United States, and as of early 2005 was the second-busiest. The first portion of the building was constructed as part of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition; a series of additions in subsequent decades expanded the center further upriver. The complex was named in honor of Ernest N. Morial, the city’s first African American mayor, in 1992. In 2008, the Center was renamed the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in order to emphasize its New Orleans location.
From August 26 through 27, 2005, Wheel of Fortune came to tape three weeks of shows at the convention center. But as Hurricane Katrina threatened the area, they canceled the last week in order to evacuate. In the aftermath of Katrina, the Convention Center was the second most important shelter for survivors, after the Louisiana Superdome. After serving as a temporary medical clinic for some time, the structure again began welcoming conventions in early 2006, including that of the American Library Association.
The Convention Center recently finished a complete renovation of the facility in November 2006. A previously scheduled expansion project, which would add 524,000 square feet (48,700 m2) of exhibition space in a new building, has been temporarily delayed.
For more information on the Ernest Morial Convention Center read the Hotel Monteleone’s review.