When Locals Act like Tourists

New Orleans CVB launches new campaigns

Last Saturday in the French Quarter, as I dodged the beach bodies and swingers, I noticed something. Beyond the conference attendees and out-of-towners, there seemed to be more locals than usual.

Now how, you may ask, could I possibly tell? Besides the name tags the conference attendees kept wearing outside of the convention center, how could I tell locals from visitors?

Locals have better reflexes.

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We know how to gracefully dodge a Bourbon Street puddle. We can weave our way through Frenchman Street carrying three drinks in one hand — and one of those drinks will be water because we are not about to get dehydrated.

We also know how to watch the tourists experience our city. We sit back in corners and observe the bachelorette party from Iowa dance to traditional jazz for the first time. We eavesdrop on the couple at the bar next to us while they argue over which swamp tour to take in the morning. We smile as we see a child feed the parakeets at the Audubon Aquarium while his parents take pictures.

For all of our knowledge of shortcuts, short lines and short order cooks, sometimes it’s fun to pretend to be a visitor here too. Tourists see New Orleans with curiosity. Whether you’ve grown up in New Orleans or made it your home more recently, it’s important to reconnect to that sense of wonder.

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Thankfully, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) has made that easy with its Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown campaign. Launching August 1 and running through September 30, the summer campaign aims to help New Orleanians and other Louisiana residents rediscover NOLA’s cultural attractions.

The easy-to-use website helps you discover more than 135 deals to plan a full staycation or a night out on the town. You can find discounted rates for hotels, attractions, cocktails and dining.

And speaking of dining, August 1 also heralds the beginning of NOCVB’s other annual summer campaign, COOLinary New Orleans Restaurant Month. The overlap of the two specials makes August a pretty great month. Oh yeah, August is also Museum Month, which allows members of area museums to visit participating institutions for free.

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“Each year, our Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown and COOLinary campaigns give locals the opportunity to rediscover our vibrant neighborhoods, evolving food and art scene, and admired traditions,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of NOCVB. “These elements of our city make New Orleans one of the world’s most visited destinations for travelers across the world. The summer months are a great time to reacquaint yourself with New Orleans’ authentic spirit and culture, especially as we gear up for the city’s tricentennial next year.”

The combination of these two campaigns is meant to encourage business during the slowest month of the year for the tourism and hospitality industry in NOLA. August events like Satchmo Summer Fest, Red Dress Run, White Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night tend to draw more locals than tourists. So this year, treat yo’ self. Instead of Ubering home to Mid-City after a day in the Quarter, book that hotel room. Make reservations for both lunch and dinner at restaurants you can’t normally afford to take advantage of their discounted COOLinary menus. And join a museum for year-round deals and the bonus of admission to sixteen museums around the city in August.


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