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New Orleans Welcomes 400,000 For ESSENCE Music Festival, Continues To Invite Summer Visitors

NEW ORLEANS—The 2010 ESSENCE Music Festival brought big summer crowds to New Orleans, selling out hotels and filling area restaurants. In all, more than 400,000 attendees flocked to the Big Easy for the three-day July Fourth weekend festival — a positive sign for a city still fending off negative perceptions of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, 100 miles to the south.

“The energy at the ESSENCE Music Festival was tremendous,” said Toni Rice, president of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network. “Visitors I spoke with were certainly concerned about what’s happening at the coast, but they were clear about the fact that there’s been no physical or environmental damage to New Orleans.”

The ESSENCE Music Festival is the largest summer festival in New Orleans, and the first of several major events planned for the season, including Tales of the Cocktail (July 21-25, 2010), a five-day celebration of the history and artistry of making drinks — and one big toast to the city that introduced cocktails to the world. Then there’s the annual Satchmo SummerFest (August 5-8, 2010), which brings free music and amazing food to the French Quarter in honor of native son Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.

Even as the ESSENCE Music Festival and July Fourth celebration were in full swing, city tourism officials shot off a few fireworks of their own, airing a new ad campaign that addresses the BP oil spill head on. See Video

The campaign features musicians, chefs, and celebrities assuring visitors that the city they love is better than ever. (Or as actor Bryan Batt puts it in one of the TV spots: “Everything’s normal — well, our kind of normal.”) The ads also promote “Spicy Summer Deals,” with hotel rates starting at $79.

“All of the things you come to New Orleans for remain unchanged by the BP oil spill,” said Stephen Perry, president/CEO of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The music is playing, the streetcars are rolling and the seafood has never tasted better.”

From the fisherman on the boat to the chef in the kitchen, there is more scrutiny on seafood safety now than ever before, ensuring that only the highest quality products reach market. To date, all the tests are coming back showing that Louisiana seafood is safe to consume.

Tourism to New Orleans has undergone a resurgence over the past few years as huge numbers of visitors and convention goers head back to one of the world’s most exciting culinary and nightlife destinations. One out of every twelve people in Louisiana is employed as a result of tourism, and it is the city’s top industry.

For more information, contact Glenda McKinley English at 504-915-1552 or glenda@gmcadvertising.com.

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