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SGIA 2009: N'awlins Opportunities

(September 2009) posted on Wed Sep 09, 2009

The annual expo -- to be held October 7-9 in New Orleans -- offers something for everyone.

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By MaryKate Moran

“The continual flow of new and exciting capabilities has helped [print providers] increase their value to customers instead of needing to compete on price alone. And while the recession has slowed equipment sales, manufacturers have not slowed down R&D efforts. We’ll see lots of new technology at the 2009 SGIA Expo.”

For the Road Warrior
The New Orleans Morial Convention Center underwent a $20 million renovation this year. Physical improvements include i-coves (wi-fi hot spots) and an expanded wireless infrastructure of 10 gigabytes to keep you connected to your business while you’re working hard in The Big Easy. There are also plenty of aesthetic improvements, including new furniture and New Orleans artwork and photography throughout the building.

SGIA has a deal with Travel Planners to provide deals at hotels throughout the city. Visitors can book a room at the adjacent Hilton Garden Inn Convention Center, the nearby Wyndham Riverfront, or at any of the other 26 hotels on the partnership’s list. Visit for more information.

Reopening this year after a $145 million renovation is the historic Roosevelt New Orleans hotel. The 116-year-old luxury hotel just joined the Waldorf Astoria Collection. It’s not on SGIA’s preferred list, but Elvis did stay there during the filming of King Creole.

One Insider's View
By John Maracich, owner of ExpoSigns in New Orleans

Here in New Orleans, we don’t have the kind of revolutionary and monumental signs you would find in New York or Las Vegas. We have a different style. The significance of the industry in New Orleans is more about the history and culture of the places here than the signs that adorn them.

That being said, there are things to see. For instance, any visitor should go to the French Quarter, where you’ll find signage documenting the history of New Orleans, but you’ll also find good eats. Hundred-year-old restaurants like Antoines, Tujagues, and New Orleans favorites like Brennan’s, Emeril’s, Pat O’Briens, and Mother’s all hearken
back to different periods in the city’s history.

New Orleans also has very different street signs in many of the older areas. Of course you’ll see the typical Vieux Carre street sign, but much signage is embedded in the concrete and tiles. Signage is paramount in New Orleans (and most Gulf Coast) casinos. The most impressive local casino “showpiece” sign is the Hard Rock Casino’s giant guitar, but the interiors have amazing signage as well. New Orleans is not like the opulent Las Vegas, but there is certainly a lot to note here.

It’s sad to see many of the buildings and homes in states of disrepair due to the impact of Katrina. Things are improving every day but a trip to the Ninth Ward, New Orleans East, or Chalmette will enlighten you on how devastating the storm was. The long-term effect should be positive for the city and surrounding area but, for now, there is a lot of work left to do.