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Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

LOUISVILLE

The Kentucky International Convention Center, with a total of 300,000 sq. ft., offers the highest capacity venue for groups meeting in Louisville.

Kentucky's most populous city has a number of notable Black heritage attractions, including the Muhammad Ali Center; Louisville Slugger Museum, which features exhibits on the Negro Leagues; and the statue on the Ohio Riverfront of York, a slave who traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Delegates won't want to miss a chance to tour Louisville's most famous attraction, Churchill Downs, and visit the Kentucky Derby Museum, which houses a permanent exhibit on the contribution of Black jockeys and trainers.

LOUISIANA

Louisiana's African American Heritage Trail extends from New Orleans to north Louisiana, with highlights including the birthplace of Harlem Renaissance writer Arna Bontemps in Alexandria, the birthplace of Madam C. J. Walker in Delta, and Grambling University, located between Shreveport and Monroe.

Monroe is the largest city in the state's Sportsman's Paradise region, popular for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities. It's also home to the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum.

Natchitoches, in the Crossroads region, is Louisiana's oldest permanent settlement. Notable sites include the Cane River Region, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, and Melrose Plantation, where many works by African-American folk artist Clementine Hunter are displayed.

Lafayette, in southwest Louisiana, is the center of the state's Cajun community. Local cultural and historical attractions include Acadian Village, the Lafayette National History Museum and the clubs and dance halls featuring Zydeco, a lively style of music with African-American roots.

BATON ROUGE

The premier meeting venue in Louisiana's capital city is the Baton Rouge River Center, a 200,000-sq. ft. facility that features a new 70,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall, 125,000 sq. ft. of flat floor space, banquet facilities and several meeting rooms. The River Center also encompasses the Arena and the Theatre for the Performing Arts. There are more than 8,000 area guestrooms.

The flagship campus of Southern University, the nation's largest historically Black university, is located here. A campus tour offers views of Memorial Union, Jaguar Cage - home to the university mascot, and the Southern University Museum of Art. The city's Odell S. Williams African American History Museum and the River Road African-American Museum in nearby Donaldsonville house exhibits highlighting the area's Black history and culture.

The State Capitol, a 34-story Art Deco-style structure, is America's tallest capital building. The 27th floor observation deck provides a great view of the city and the Mississippi River below, while the front lobby displays a bust of P.B.S. Pinchback, the nation's first Black governor.

Another great spot for a Mississippi River view is the Shaw Center for the Arts, which houses the Louisiana State University Museum of Art. At LSU's Rural Life Museum & Windrush Garden, where exhibits include slave cabins and a blacksmith's shop, visitors can watch live demonstrations of blacksmithing, candle making, soap making and other crafts.

The Old State Capitol, another important architectural landmark noted for its gothic staircase and stained-glass ceiling, offers group event space in the rotunda and the House and Senate chambers. The Old Governor's Mansion, a replica of the White House, has a ballroom and rose garden that can be rented for events.

Two more interesting visitor attractions doubling as event venues are the BREC Baton Rouge Zoo, which offers onsite catering, and Alligator Bayou, which has meeting space for up to 150 people.

NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans' biggest event venue, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, offers more than 1.1 million sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space and 140 meeting rooms. The current lodging inventory consists of about 22,000 guestrooms. The New Orleans Hospitality Community Green Task Force, organized by the New Orleans CVB, is gathering and implementing ideas to create a more sustainable local meeting and tourism industry.

The Crescent City is home to the nation's oldest African-American neighborhood, Faubourg Treme, where two notable architectural landmarks are St. Augustine Catholic Church and the historic home that now holds the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture. Other local Black heritage sites include the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which houses exhibits on Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals and second line parades, and the campuses of Xavier University, Dillard University and Southern University at New Orleans.

The world-famous French Quarter, with Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral at its center, is home to the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley, the Ursuline Convent. The Warehouse Arts District includes the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Louisiana Children's Museum, Center for Contemporary Art , the National World War II Museum, and a host of art galleries along Julia Street.


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