Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Named to New Orleans CityBusiness “Top Construction Projects 2023”

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The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans is undergoing an extensive renovation and a necessary system upgrade, many of which date back to 1984. In 2018, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans began a five-year renovation of the spacious structure and surrounding area. Massive improvements have since taken shape, but more are currently on the way, according to Convention Center President Michael Sawaya.

Exterior rendering of MCCNO's "intervention" areas.
Photo courtesy Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

To date, approximately $150 million of the $557 million five-year capital campaign has been spent. According to Convention Center officials, an additional $300 million will be spent over the next three to five years.

The first phase of the plan called for the construction of a linear park along Convention Center Boulevard. This project was hampered by pandemic-related delays, and components are still in the works, according to Sawaya. The new roofing system will consist of the same material as the roof of the Caesars Superdome. Since the Superdome’s roofing system is highly rated for hurricanes and other tropical weather, Sawaya said his team found it to be an ideal fit for the Convention Center’s roof.

According to Sawaya, the Convention Center’s 140 meeting rooms continue to be outfitted with technology and design from 1984. Between July and October of 2023, approximately $90 million to $100 million will be spent to gut and rebuild these 140 rooms to modern standards.

Rendering of meeting room
Photo courtesy of New Orleans CityBusiness.

Sawaya envisions a concept known as “Lapont,” which is French for “The Bridge,” as the centerpiece of the redesigned Convention Center. On the third floor, between the two spans of the Crescent City Connection, a 40,000-square-foot grand ballroom will be constructed. The massive pillars of the bridge can be seen in the center’s exhibition hall, which was designed to incorporate the original structure.

According to Sawaya, the Convention Center will be revitalized and modernized for decades by the total renovation package that will cost about $300 million.

Top Construction Projects 2023: 4. New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center | New Orleans CityBusiness

Project description: The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is undergoing a massive renovation and a much-needed upgrade of systems, some of which date back to 1984. Project cost: $557 million Start date: 2018 Completion date: 2024 Owner/Developer: Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Construction/Architecture teams: Various The New Orleans Ernest N.