With no Essence Fest, the struggle is real for businesses in New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) — It has been a tough year for our tourism industry and without Essence Fest this Fourth of July weekend—that’s another big hit for New Orleans.

With Essence Fest going virtual this year because of coronavirus concerns. Without Essence physically being here, the economic impact is devastating for our tourism industry.

“The Essence Fest and Fourth of July weekend historically has been so strong for our local economy. Essence itself has an impact of around 300-million dollars and there are lots of direct spending to retail, restaurants, and hotels. We are going to miss it very deeply this weekend,” Mark Romig, Chief Marketing Officer of New Orleans & Company said.

Air B-n-B’s will suffer, hotels will see revenue loss, and for popular restaurants like Morrow’s—the struggle is real.

“Loss of revenue just for Essence Fest will probably be 50-60 percent of that revenue and that’s a hard pill to swallow, but New Orleans is resilent,” Lenora Chong, Co-Owner & Executive Chef of Morrow’s said.

In past years for Essence Fest at Morrow’s there wouldn’t be an empty seat.

“Oh, we’ve had tremendous crowds for Essence and in the past lines have been down the block with three or four hour wait times. We realize these times are different and we’ll make it up later, but let’s just get through this year,” Chong said.

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