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by Michael C. Lowe | November 01, 2010
Theater of War
The National World War II Museum in New Orleans is undergoing a $300 million expansion that will quadruple the size of the existing facility to 300,000 square feet. Several of the museum's new components already are completed, including the American Sector restaurant, featuring American cuisine; the 250-seat Victory Theater, with a 120-foot-wide screen; and the Stage Door Canteen, a live entertainment and dining venue for up to 285 guests. To be completed in 2011 is the Restoration Pavilion, where visitors will view conservators restoring and preserving World War II-era weapons, equipment and vehicles, and the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: Land, Sea and Air, which will display a B-17 plane and the USS Tang submarine, among others. Most rooms and theaters will be available for events. (504) 528-1944; nationalww2museum.org
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New Orleans
Local Update:On Canal Street, the Saenger Theater is undergoing a $38.8 million restoration expected to be completed in late 2011. The venue, which originally opened in 1927, will be closed for the duration of the work, although theater-goers still can enjoy live shows at the Mahalia Jackson Theater down the street. The Saenger Theater seats up to 2,700 and can be rented for private functions.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans
International Airport is undergoing a $33 million project to double the size of Concourse D. Six new gates and 8,000 square feet of concessions are expected to debut by September 2011. The construction is only one part of $400 million worth of improvements currently under way or planned at the airport.

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff
Sculpture Garden reopened this past March following a seven-month, $2.7 million renovation. Adjacent to the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park, the garden is open to the public seven days a week without charge. Visitors can take an audio tour of the grounds using a guide accessible via cell phone.

Meeting Hotels
 
Among major properties in the city's Central Business District are the 1,616-room Hilton New Orleans Riverside; 1,290-room New Orleans Marriott; 1,110-room Sheraton New Orleans; 504-room Roosevelt Hotel; 494-room JW Marriott New Orleans; 479-room InterContinental New Orleans; 423-room W New Orleans; 367-room Doubletree New Orleans; 324-room Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel; 296-room Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome; 285-room Loews New Orleans Hotel, and 272-room Renaissance Pere Marquette.

In the Convention/Warehouse Arts District are the 331-room Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center, 288-room Hampton Inn & Suites New Orleans Convention Center and 217-room Renaissance Arts.

In the French Quarter are the 693-room Astor Crowne Plaza; 570-room Monteleone; 527-room Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans; 483-room Royal Sonesta; 438-room Westin New Orleans Canal Place; 346-room Omni Royal Orleans, and 251-room Chateau Bourbon-A Wyndham Historic Hotel.

Convention Center
The New Orleans Morial Convention Cen­ter; exhibit space, approximately 1.1 million contiguous square feet; number of meeting rooms, 140; (504) 582-3023; mccno.com

Airport Transit
Louis Arm­strong New Orleans International Air­port, 10 miles west of the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Transfer cost by taxi, $33 for up to two people, $14 per person for more than two people; by shuttle, $20; roundtrip, $38

Taxes
Room tax, 4%, plus a $1-$3 surcharge per room, per night, based on room count; sales tax, 9%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13% plus the surcharge

Group Venue
Champions Square
opened in August near the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena. The 120,000-square-foot outdoor venue can be used for corporate events and includes Club XLIV, an 11,000-square-foot indoor lounge space. (504) 587-3663; superdome.com/square

CVB Services
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 672-6124; neworleanscvb.com