NEW ORLEANS — It’s the start of the Memorial Day Weekend and for the first time in a long time, there’s a lot of life throughout the city during a holiday weekend.
Tourism is beginning to rebound in New Orleans as most COVID restrictions are lifted.
“We’re still a little cautious, but we got our shots,” said Dennis Perez from California.
Perez is scoping out the city and party before his daughter moves to New Orleans for college.
“It’s crowded out there, but people are saying lets remove the masks and have some fun,” Perez said. “If we feel like we have to put it on, we put it on.”
Restrictions on bars, restaurants and music venues are lifted.
The city’s decision is contributing to the spike in visitors this Memorial Day Weekend. According to tourism leaders, 85 to 90% of hotels in the French Quarter and Downtown are occupied.
Mark Romig with New Orleans & Company said, “There’s a lot of activity, not only Downtown and in the French Quarter, but also up Magazine Street, Mid-City, the Lakefront. We expect to see a lot of visitor spending throughout the community. People are seeing a certain amount of new freedom to visit around the country and the regional market is so important to us.”
One family from Lafayette decided to make a weekend girls’ trip. They feel comfortable traveling since more people are getting vaccinated.
“We’ve done our part in kind of staying to ourselves, but we’re slowly making our way out,” said Michelle Gisclaire.
More people are also planning their visits further in advanced. One woman from Chicago has not let the pandemic stop her.
“I’ve been outside the whole pandemic. I’ve been to Egypt, I went to Atlanta, Florida. We’re lit up,” Denia Web.
While this weekend is expected to be the shot the city needs, it could take time before the hospitality and tourism industry truly rebounds.
“New Orleans has always come back from a lot of crazy things and we will come back from this one as well,” Roming.