Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Saturday, April 29 2017

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s Robert Johnson to Retire Effective September

Robert Johnson, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, has announced his retirement effective September 2017. Johnson has served as the facility’s senior director since 2007.

Johnson has led the nation’s 6th largest convention and exhibition hall through numerous renovations and improvements, including the addition of the $52 million Great Hall and Julia Street entry plaza. Most recently Johnson has been the primary visionary and driver behind the facility’s planned renaissance of Convention Center Boulevard to include a more pedestrian-friendly linear park, as well as the development of a series of mixed use hotel, residential, entertainment and hospitality and retail complexes onto upriver acreage owned by and adjacent to the Convention Center. These over $1 billion in improvements and investments are expected to be game changers in New Orleans’ effort to stay competitive in the meetings and convention industry.

“Bob Johnson has been instrumental in every major advancement undertaken by the Convention Center over the past 10 years,” said Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Chair Melvin Rodrigue.  The entire state’s hospitality industry is deeply indebted to Bob for his leadership and tenacity in helping to make our Convention Center one of the most utilized and recognized in the country.”

Among Johnson’s notable accomplishments are his leadership of the Convention Center’s recovery and ultimately, the City’s hospitality industry’s recovery following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.   The Center’s occupancy has returned to pre-Katrina levels and the City’s recently announced record number of visitors reflects that level of business improvement.  Johnson has led several industry- pioneering initiatives including Center owned and produced events, a widely recognized customer excellence program and owning its own UPS Store franchise among others.

“I’ve had the most enriching career a venue manager could want through my early years at the Dome and culminating with my time at the Convention Center.  Through my work, I’ve traveled around the globe but promoting New Orleans has always been my passion,” Johnson said.  “I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure at the Center, which is blessed with the most dedicated staff of any venue.”

Johnson’s venue management career spanned 46 years beginning in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he graduated from Wake Forest University. Prior to joining the Convention Center staff, Johnson opened UNO’s Lakefront Arena which became recognized nationally as a leading concert venue of its size.  He had a distinguished career with global facilities management company SMG, including a 10 year stint in New Orleans as the General Manager of the Superdome where he oversaw the hosting of NCAA Final Four Tournaments, Super Bowls, a Republican National Convention and the Papal visit.

Johnson is a longtime active member of the industry’s professional organization the International Association of Venue Managers and was a founding member of the New Orleans Sports Foundation.

Robert Johnson

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Moves Forward With Plans for Linear Park

 

Plans for the exciting transformation of Convention Center Boulevard in New Orleans, which will connect the bustling Warehouse/Arts District with the historic French Quarter and dramatically transform the guest experience at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, are becoming a reality.

A new linear park will update the urban environment with a tree-lined pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, moving walkways, sleek overhangs, fountains, green walls, water walls, and shaded sitting areas for visitors.

The construction time-line of these exciting improvements include ample added days to work around the schedule of events to minimize any impact.  The staff of the Convention Center is working closely with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau to identify which events will occur during construction so that construction can be stopped and started accordingly and any accommodations that may need to be made to are accounted for well in advance.

The Convention Center recently filed plans with the City of New Orleans to begin construction on the $65 million project.  Plans are pending approval from the Louisiana Department of Transportation after which a construction time-line will be established.

Two key components of the transformation are a multi-modal transportation hub where shuttles will more efficiently move attendees to and from the Center, and improvements to several roads and intersections within the Warehouse District that are the normal shuttle route.

Rendering of proposed linear park at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

 

New Orleans Tourism Industry Celebrates Global Meetings Industry Day at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

New Orleans joined cities across the globe in celebrating the impact of meetings and live events on Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on Thursday, April 6, 2017. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau along with MPI Gulf States Chapter held a special luncheon, featuring an address by industry icon Donald S. (Don) Freeman, Jr., Chairman of Freeman, at the Convention Center. The event was held during the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Region 5 Conference. IAVM educates, advocates for, and inspires public assembly venues worldwide.

The program included a charitable donation from New Orleans Tourism industry officials in support  of budding musicians who are poised to carry on local musical traditions for years to come. The Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp for Kids was presented a $2,500 check from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, with a matching donation from the proceeds of the event. An additional check for $3,300 was presented to IAVM Region 5 to support their various programs including scholarships for aspiring industry professionals. GMID attendees also pledged funds to the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp for Kids, via a text message donation campaign.

Lead by the industry advocacy coalition Meetings Mean Business (MMB), GMID 2017 showcases the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities. MMB joins forces with the Convention Industry Council (CIC), U.S. Travel Association, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence(SITE), COCAL and other groups. In one united voice they will advocate for the industry, showing that meetings make a difference no matter the location.

Click here for Hi-Res Photo


New Orleans Tourism Industry Officials Present Donation Checks to The Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp for
Kids at Global Meetings Industry Day.

Pictured: Cara Banasch, Senior Vice President of Business Development & Strategy, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; Don Freeman, Chairman, Freeman; Stephen Perry, President and CEO, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; Nina Simmons, IAVM Board of Directors and Director of the Student Activity Center and Venue Management, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Bob Johnson, President and General Manager, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; Tim Hemphill, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

AWHONN Convention 2017

UUA General Assembly 2017

SHRM17 Annual Conference & Exposition

Dancer’s Pointe

LA Department of Education – Teacher Leader Summit

IAVM Region 5 Conference

Meetings Mean Business Luncheon


New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s Robert Johnson to Retire Effective September

Posted on

Robert Johnson, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, has announced his retirement effective September 2017. Johnson has served as the facility’s senior director since 2007.

Johnson has led the nation’s 6th largest convention and exhibition hall through numerous renovations and improvements, including the addition of the $52 million Great Hall and Julia Street entry plaza. Most recently Johnson has been the primary visionary and driver behind the facility’s planned renaissance of Convention Center Boulevard    …Continue Reading


New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Moves Forward With Plans for Linear Park

Posted on

 

Plans for the exciting transformation of Convention Center Boulevard in New Orleans, which will connect the bustling Warehouse/Arts District with the historic French Quarter and dramatically transform the guest experience at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, are becoming a reality.

A new linear park will update the urban environment with a tree-lined pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, moving walkways, sleek overhangs, fountains, green walls, water walls, and shaded sitting areas for visitors.

The construction    …Continue Reading


New Orleans Tourism Industry Celebrates Global Meetings Industry Day at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Posted on

New Orleans joined cities across the globe in celebrating the impact of meetings and live events on Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on Thursday, April 6, 2017. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau along with MPI Gulf States Chapter held a special luncheon, featuring an address by industry icon Donald S. (Don) Freeman, Jr., Chairman of Freeman, at the Convention Center. The event was held during the International Association of    …Continue Reading


AWHONN Convention 2017

Posted on


UUA General Assembly 2017

Posted on


SHRM17 Annual Conference & Exposition

Posted on


Dancer’s Pointe

Posted on


LA Department of Education – Teacher Leader Summit

Posted on


IAVM Region 5 Conference

Posted on


Meetings Mean Business Luncheon

Posted on


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