During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic the state of Louisiana and in particular, the City of New Orleans were considered to be hot spots for the disease. Many health experts blamed the city's Mardi Gras experience as the catalyst for the sharp and sudden rise in coronavirus cases.

That was one year ago and things have certainly improved, at least as far as the pandemic caseload is concerned. Yesterday's Louisiana Department of Health update showed only 131 confirmed new cases of the disease statewide. While that's good news the stigma of New Orleans over the last year has certainly slowed the return of convention business to the Big Easy.

Experts in the travel and tourism industry say that New Orleans is also facing some pretty stiff competition from neighboring states who have either totally opened all the way up or are at least offering a more restriction-free environment in which to operate.

Tourism officials in the state also cite New Orleans operating on a different coronavirus recovery plan than the rest of the state is also throwing a little more uncertainty into the mix as well. Let's face it, who wants to book a convention in a town known for food, drinks, and nightlife where the food, the drinks, and the nightlife are restricted over even locked down?

The hope is that as more restrictions are lifted then more and more conventions will be returning to New Orleans. Currently, individual hotel stays in the city are showing an increase but the city's bread and butter come from those conventions. By the way, the rest of the state enjoys that "bread and butter" too. So, getting conventions and tourism back on track in New Orleans is very important to the tourism industry across the rest of the state.

If there is a "bright side" to the pandemic it's this. Bookings in Louisiana's State Parks have been more popular. A lot of in-state residents are using the parks for "socially distanced" getaways and there is also a special deal available too. If you book three nights in a row at a Louisiana State Park your fourth night is free.

Hey, has anyone ever thought of hosting a convention in a state park? Or maybe you could just rent this place.

Rent This Louisiana Lodge For Less Than $100 Per Night