New Orleans tourism leaders concerned, yet optimistic as city becomes ‘murder capital’ of U.S.

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As New Orleans overtakes St. Louis to become the deadliest city per capita in America, tourism leaders say they’re concerned but remain optimistic about the future.

Kelly Schulz of New Orleans & Co. says the national headlines make it harder to sell the city.

“We are getting questions from our customers about what it means for them,” she says. “And it’s not just the headline we are concerned about ... it’s the reality of the situation.”

New Orleans police have investigated 209 homicides this year -- a rate of 52 homicides per 100,000 people.


Schulz says people from all over the world, such as convention planners and travel agents, are calling her office to ask about the safety of New Orleans.

“When we see those negative headlines, they see them as well. And they will call us and ask about what’s really happening in the city,” she said. “It’s certainly challenging.”

Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO Inc., said that while the national headlines are alarming, the tourism industry is doing well.

“Businesses are booming. Tourists are still coming here because there’s so much pent-up demand coming out of COVID for the intimacy, for the culture that New Orleans offers,” Hecht said.

Schulz said that no businesses have canceled plans to bring their events to the city, so far. On Monday, Miss Universe announced its competition will be held in New Orleans in January for the first time ever.

Schulz said it will take everyone, from the tourism industry and public officials to residents to make New Orleans a safe place for all to enjoy.

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