New apps help visitors navigate New Orleans during Super Bowl
Social media is changing the way most visitors experience Super Bowl XLVII and the city of New Orleans. From finding a good restaurant, to ordering a cab, virtually everything you need to know can be found on your smart phone with new apps added for Super Bowl.
The Morial Convention Center is ground zero for Super Bowl operations. News media from around the world are stationed there, and technology wizards are busy keeping a watchful eye on the social media applications that will keep everyone informed.
Jeremy Cooker with the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation explains, "Go Nola is a visitor app. It's got all kinds of information about where to eat, where to find music, what to do when you're in town."
Volunteers man a command center inside Hall H of the convention center, with the goal of providing answers to any Super Bowl-related question that may come their way. If someone sends a tweet to @nolasuperbowl asking, for example, where to get a good poboy, the tweet will pop up on the command center's main screen. Then one of the many volunteers will respond to it.
The command center gets hundreds of tweets per minute, and even some familiar faces have been asking for advice.
"When the San Francisco 49ers players came in on Monday night they were like, hey, we're on Bourbon Street or hey, we're on Canal Street looking for some food, where should we go?" Cooker said.
If anyone is wondering how to get around the city, Nawlins Cab has unveiled a free self-named app that makes it easier for riders to hail a cab with just the touch of a button. After downloading the app, all you have to do is put in your name and location and a message will be sent to all of Nawlins' drivers on their Google tablets, alerting them to the person who needs a cab and their location. On your smartphone, you can see the cab number assigned to you and watch the driver's progress as he gets closer to your location.
Nawlins Cab company owner Sheree Kerner says the app is a major game changer. "Everyone is starting to embrace technology because of the conveniences it delivers," Kerner said.
The conveniences that come with social media will make this Super Bowl much different than the last one the city hosted, in 2002.
Jeremy Cooker hopes the new apps will enhance the visit to New Orleans for out-of-towners. "That's the whole idea. Just make them feel welcome, help them get around, and make them feel like they're home," Cooker said.
He and his staff will work around the clock in the coming days to do just that.