February 202415

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Announces Nominations Are Open for Annual Morial Awards

Awards recognize businesses for economic impact, contributions to growth of small businesses

R: Jerry Reyes, Authority President; Judge Monique Morial; Cheri Morial Ausberry, Sybil Haydel Morial, Sheryl Morial; Judy Reese-Morse, President/CEO, Urban League of Louisiana; Michael J. Sawaya, Convention Center CEO and President; Representatives of 2022 Small Business of the Year award recipient ILSI Engineering; and Representatives of 2022 Corporation of the year Ochsner Health.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC) and the Urban League of Louisiana open nominations for the 2023 Morial Awards. These prestigious awards recognize a small business and a corporation making exceptional contributions to sustainability and growth in communities and enterprises over the last year. The awards showcase the efforts of Louisiana businesses driving economic impact and innovation. Submissions are due March 15, and the winners will be recognized at the awards ceremony on June 6.

Returning for its fourth year, these awards celebrate the legacy of former New Orleans mayor and Convention Center namesake, Ernest N. Morial, who was nationally recognized as a civil rights activist and political pioneer. As the first Black mayor of New Orleans in 1977, Morial championed the Convention Center’s construction and saw it as a way to promote economic development, especially for local and diverse small businesses. The Morial Awards recognize the continuation of this mission in business and communities today.

“The Convention Center has a vested interest in the success of local vendors here in New Orleans and with the Morial Awards we honor businesses who demonstrate the same ideal,” said Jerry Reyes, President of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, the governing board of the NOENMCC. “These awards allow us to celebrate that commitment while recognizing Mayor Morial’s legacy. We invite businesses to submit a nomination and look forward to awarding the distinction again.”

Last year, Small Business of the Year was awarded to ILSI Engineering, a women-owed, minority-owned civil and structural engineering firm that specializes in water, streets and drainage as well as construction management. Corporation of the Year in 2022 was awarded to Ochsner Health, who continues to provide high-quality care to over a million patients residing across the Gulf South each year.

“Creating a thriving city requires equity that allows underserved communities to build generational wealth,” said Judy Reese Morse, President & CEO, Urban League of Louisiana. “That is why our organization continues to support, educate and champion underserved businesses in our state. There are so many businesses and leaders delivering exceptional work, and we’re proud that this award gives us the opportunity to spotlight some of them.”

The Convention Center works diligently each year to create opportunities for Louisiana’s small and emerging businesses (SEB) and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) to thrive. Since the Convention Center’s SEB program launched in 2019, 1,621 certified local vendors have registered and more than $43 million has been awarded to area SEBs and DEBs.

Applications are currently open and submissions are due March 15. Find the application and eligibility information at morialaward.com.

About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 13-member board of commissioners, ten appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.

About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC)

New Orleans is Built to Host! With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space on one level, all under one roof, NOENMCC is the sixth largest Convention Center in the United States and provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. NOENMCC is a 2023 IAVM Venue Excellence recipient and is consistently named a regional top workplace by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Our recent LEED Gold certification makes NOENMCC the largest LEED-certified project in Louisiana and the largest convention center project in the U.S. certified under LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance, as well as the first convention center in the world to be awarded initial certification under LEED Gold v4.1 O+M. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, NOENMCC event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening.

About the Urban League

The mission of the Urban League of Louisiana is to assist African Americans and other communities seeking equity to secure economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights. We implement our mission through programs in the areas of education and youth development, workforce and economic development, public policy and advocacy initiatives.