NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Though many businesses are still shut down, visitors are slowly making their way back to New Orleans. It’s not likely to look like Memorial Day Weekends in years past but, for hospitality workers, it’s a welcome change.
Concierge Brandon Jubb is working for the first time since the shutdown closed the doors of the historic Olivier House Hotel in the heart of the French Quarter.
“So far, it’s just a test run,” Jubb said. “It being Memorial Day Weekend, it seemed like an opportune moment to test the waters and see if there’s any present interest in people still wanting to visit New Orleans.”
As day one of the long holiday weekend winds down, Jubb says he’s seen interest.
“We have a lot of people checking in, already,” said Jubb.
“Meridian is kind of small. I thought I’d get out for a bit,” said Olivier House Hotel Guest Kimberly Lacap.
The Smiths arrived in town Monday, not knowing what to expect. The first-time visitors had already postponed their anniversary getaway once and could not afford to do it again. The Idaho couple did not want to, either.
“We’d been planning the trip a year, a year and a half,” reasoned Cody Smith. “So, we just took a leap of faith and came down here and hoped that everything was somewhat normal. Obviously, it’s going to take a while for you guys to get back to normal but it’s been great.”
Though most of their previously booked excursions were off the table, the Smiths credit their concierge at the International House Hotel for helping to secure spots on a swamp tour. The pair are also fit in their share of shopping and dining.
“The food is really what we came for because it’s amazing and nothing has disappointed. It’s been so amazing,” Smith gushed. “New Orleans is full of fabulous people and you guys will bounce back and we will definitely be back.”
Jubb hopes former visitors have the same idea this weekend.
This is going to set the tone for whether or not we start opening regularly on weekends," Jubb said.
The hotel is also taking precautions in anticipation of guests, like spacing out assigned rooms when possible, taking temperatures of its employees and deep cleaning.
The International House Hotel, on the other hand, never closed. Owner Sean Cummings says he is proud of that. He says he has not seen a significant increase in business since the start of the holiday weekend. However, Cummings tells Fox 8 he is excited about those who made the trip.
“I think it’s a real tribute to the food, the music, the architecture, the culture, the quality of life here that we’ve built collectively is so appealing to people that, even in a challenging and a threatening time, they might come here,” Cummings explained.
A number of hotels have yet to re-open.