NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans hotel operators say occupancy is the highest in more than a decade. They credit refurbished hotels, a jam-packed calendar and continued recovery from the levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Room rates are up, too. The Times-Picayune reports that Smith Travel Research quotes the city's average daily hotel rate at $154 — the highest since February 2002, when it averaged $159.40 a night.

Rates through April of this year averaged $148.61. That's 12.6 percent better than same four months last year.

Major events including the BCS Championship game and the NCAA Men's Final Four helped.

New Orleans produced the greatest percent change in average daily rate from April 2011 to April 2012 compared with other cities in the top 25 hotel markets.