How Sustainability Is Taking Center Stage in New Orleans

A Sponsored Message from New Orleans & Company

Author: David McMillin       

convention center behind sculpture of vertical lines

The vast majority of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s ongoing $557-million capital improvement plan never saw a landfill — the center has managed to divert 84 percent of construction waste produced in the project’s first stage. (Mike Palumbo)

New Orleans has always been famous for putting its rich sense of history on full display, like its music. When attendees take a stroll down Frenchmen Street any day of the week, they can experience this history with their own ears by catching some of the best jazz, reggae, blues, and zydeco players in the world. Now, in addition to the lasting impact it has on visitors, New Orleans is making a name for itself for the ways it enables attendees make a meaningful impact on the future of the planet while they’re in the destination.

New Orleans’ difference-making powers start at the biggest single exhibit space in the country: The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The venue recently won the U.S. Green Building Council’s Community Leader Award, thanks to more than $20 million of sustainability projects, including improved stormwater drainage, LED exhibit hall lighting, water bottle filling stations, new $65-million electric vehicle charging stations, and a 7.5-acre pedestrian park with rain gardens to manage stormwater. All of those upgrades add up to a new accolade: the first convention center to earn initial certification under LEED Gold v4.1 O+M.

two round platters of oysters on ice ready to eat

“Once you shuck ‘em, don’t chuck ‘em” is the advice of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and it’s paying off: The organization has helped protect more than 8,000 miles of shoreline.

Citywide CSR Opportunities

New Orleans residents have a proud tradition of taking care of the city and the surrounding area. As meeting planners look for ways for their groups to create a deeper connection to a city, New Orleans & Company can help coordinate meaningful CSR experiences. Here are three:

  • The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has recycled more than 14 million pounds of shells over the past decade to help slow erosion and enable new oysters to grow. Groups can collaborate with the coalition to plant trees or marsh grasses, hop on an oyster boat to deploy a reef, or place shells in marine-grade bags for a return to the water.
  • Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) helps arrange group efforts to expand the city’s urban forest — a key part of protecting New Orleans from storms and climate change, as more trees will slow winds and lower air temperatures.
  • Glass Half-Full works with more than 80 hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, and offices, recycling their glass waste into sand and glass cullet (crushed glass) for coastal restoration, eco-construction, and more. The organization is always looking for volunteers to contribute to its mission.

To learn more about the wide range of giving-back opportunities, contact New Orleans & Co.


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