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Port of New Orleans courts Disney cruise ship

The port of New Orleans is trying to lure the most famous mouse in the world.

Disney Cruise Line executives have been asked to consider a home port in New Orleans.

The conversations have begun; and with any luck New Orleans could become a new home port for a Disney Cruise Line.

“Bringing the big mouse to the city of New Orleans would be a major coup; there’s no question about that,” said Gary LaGrange.

Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange says Disney is one in a hand-full of potential tenants he wants to secure — once construction of the new Poland Avenue cruise terminal is completed in 2014.

“You don’t start with these people today and expect to have them here in six weeks or six months,” LaGrange explained. “It’s about an 18-month to 24-months in advance discussions.”

He says the cruise ship industry in New Orleans is growing.

Local tourism leaders believe adding Disney would help brand the city as a family-friendly destination.

“Yeah, I think that would be a bonus,” tourist Krista Williams said.

Williams and her family are visiting from Michigan.

She says a Disney cruise just might be the missing link.

“It would give you a better draw for a family,” Williams explained. “We have a little one, we took him down bourbon street early. We didn’t notice any other little ones down in that area so that would be more attention grabbing for a family with younger children.”

Reeling Disney in would increase tourism and give a big economic boost to city hotels, restaurants, and other attractions.

LaGrange thinks it would provide affordable vacation options for millions of families within a 500-mile radius.

“Not everybody can afford to put the whole family on an airplane and fly down to Miami to take that cruise,” LaGrange said.

He says competition is stiff.

There are at least twelve other ports that would like to lure the family-oriented cruise liner.