Convention Center Taking Nominations for Morial Awards

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Urban League of Louisiana announced last week that nominations are open for the 2022 Morial Awards. These awards recognize a small business and a corporation that have demonstrated innovation and economic impact over the course of the last year, as well as exceptional contributions to the sustainability and growth of communities and emerging enterprises across the state of Louisiana. Submissions are due by March 27 and the winners will be recognized at a ceremony on May 25.

“Small business growth in New Orleans is a central focus for the Convention Center,” said Jerry Reyes, chairman of Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority. “These awards underscore our continued commitment to supporting local vendors while honoring the legacy of the Convention Center’s namesake, Mayor Ernest N. Morial. We look forward to recognizing this year’s winners for their achievements.”

The Morial Awards were established to celebrate Mayor Ernest N. Morial’s legacy as a civil rights activist and political pioneer. Becoming the first Black mayor of New Orleans in 1977, a position he held for two terms through 1986, Morial championed the Convention Center’s construction and positioned it to promote economic development, especially for local and diverse small businesses. 

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“The Urban League of Louisiana is committed to building generational wealth for underserved communities and increasing parity. That is why we are proud to partner with the Morial Convention Center to support small and diverse business growth in a highly competitive environment and to recognize businesses that share our commitment and who are overcoming obstacles and finding success,” said Judy Reese Morse, president and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana.

Last year, architecture and interior design firm NANO took home the 2021 Small Business of the Year award. And the Corporate Internship Leadership Institute — a nonprofit organization that helps college students gain work experience through internships and other programs — was named Corporation of the Year.

The Convention Center works year-round to create opportunities to help Louisiana’s small and emerging businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises succeed. Through the Small and Emerging Business Program, the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority encourages the hiring of local vendors to provide goods and services at the Convention Center and is making it easier for these vendors to access new business opportunities through the SEBConnect app and through its website at Since the program launched in 2019, 1,300 certified vendors have registered and more than $40 million has been awarded to area SEBs and DEBs. In 2022, roughly one-third of all payments and contracts awarded were to SEBs and DEBs.

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Applications are currently open for this year’s Morial Awards, and submissions are due on March 27 at 5 p.m.

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