Big Easy welcomes visitors back with reopening of attractions

NEW ORLEANS -- Riverwalk Marketplace, reopened for business as the city took another step toward restoring a tourism infrastructure, which remains largely ravaged three months after the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Riverwalk Marketplace, one of the Big Easys top attractions, is home to variety of shops and eateries on the downtown New Orleans riverfront. 

The reopening of Riverwalk is an important step in the journey New Orleans faces to rebuild the vital tourism industry, said John Bucksbaum, CEO of General Growth Properties, in a statement. General Growth Properties owns and manages Riverwalk.

For 20 years, Riverwalk has been an essential part of the visitor experience, Bucksbaum added. As New Orleans begins to rebuild, Riverwalk is ready and proud to be a part of welcoming visitors and local customers back home.

Riverwalk, which will feature live entertainment every weekend by the Riverwalk Jazz Band, will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.   

Riverwalk joins other attractions such as the Riverboat Cajun Queen, to have resumed operations over the past several weeks. Additionally, Amtrak resumed its Crescent and City of New Orleans train service to the city. And popular restaurant Cafe du Monde reopened for business just 18 days after the hurricane hit.

But the city still has a long way to go before it is fully recovered.

For instance, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, about 70% of the citys 35,574 hotel rooms were closed, according to Lodging Econometrics, a firm that tracks hotel real estate.

New Orleans reports that currently only about 17,000 hotel rooms are open, but it expects to add another 9,000 early next year.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at [email protected].

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