New Orleans Re-brands Convention Center Auditorium

The New Orleans Morial Convention Center has re-purposed, re-branded and re-invented its Conference Auditorium. Now known as the "New Orleans Theater at the Convention Center," the auditorium will play host to a variety of non-traditional events that will help the convention center nourish its bottom line.

As reported last month, New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center began exploring new event genres early this year and recently signed a deal with Ticketmaster in order to sell tickets to those events—all in response to falling meetings and events revenue in post-Katrina NOLO. The re-branded Conference Auditorium, which will now host concerts and theatrical productions, among other unique performances, is the latest in New Orleans' efforts at recouping convention center losses.

"The re-invention better reflects the room's outstanding production capabilities, which make it an ideal fit for musical events, concerts and theatre," Bob Johnson, president and general manager of the New Orleans convention center, said in a statement. "We're excited to offer an additional theatrical venue to the community."

Although atypical for a major metro area convention venue, hosting concerts, plays and other events will allow the convention center to tap into new revenue streams, including those generated by ticket fees, concession sales and parking. The convention center—which boasts 3,600 seats and state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment inside the new New Orleans Theater at the Convention Center—will continue to be a meetings destination by day, but will open its doors to community events at night. The first such event will be a public concert featuring the band Chicago on Sept. 21, 2008.