“SiteFiles: Mid-South States 2006”
By Bob Andelman
Corporate Meetings & Incentives Magazine
Louisiana and Mississippi, in the heart of the Mid-South region, took a serious blow from Hurricane Katrina last year. But the region is coming back. New Orleans, specifically, is courting corporate business. The Marriott properties are all back up and running, the number of daily flights in and out of Louis Armstrong Airport is on the rise, and the Morial Convention Center recently welcomed its first convention since Katrina.
Baton Rouge, despite its proximity to New Orleans, remained largely unscathed by Katrina.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi remains out of commission until January 1, 2007. Vicki Miller, special events marketing coordinator, says there was one fortunate turn for the Coliseum. “All of our seats in the arena were sent to Arkansas before the storm to be reupholstered. That saved nearly all the seats in the arena.” The convention center, which was completing plans to nearly double its size pre-Katrina, will resume its expansion plans after reopening.
In Huntsville, Ala., Huntsville Bicentennial Water Park, situated above Huntsville’s Big Spring and intended to commemorate the city’s founding at that location, opened last summer. And getting to Huntsville keeps getting easier. Nonstop air service to the city is now available from more than a dozen airports across the nation.
Riverwalk Orange Beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast will open in spring 2007. The development’s first phase includes a marina, retail and restaurant space, Gulf World Marine, and a swim-with-the-dolphins experience. A 680-unit condo-hotel resort with more than 68,000 square feet of meeting space will open in early 2008. Additionally, The Wharf opened with a new 10,000-seat amphitheater. This development will involve a luxury inn and meeting space of up to 20,000 square feet.
And in Kentucky, the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau is exploring expansion of the NKY Convention Center. This past summer the convention center underwent a $400,000 renovation of its exhibit hall, creating additional large group meeting space and breakout space.
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