New Orleans, Louisiana
July 9-15, 2017
New Orleans each year attracts nearly 10 million visitors to its world-class attractions and fun activities and in 2017 CACers from coast to coast will be among them. In what promises to be one of the most exciting annual convention/vacations ever for Catholic Alumni Clubs International, YOU are invited to experience the great fun, food, sight-seeing, music, tours, social activities and much more from Sunday, July 9 to Saturday, July 15. Our hotel will be the four-diamond Loews New Orleans located in the heart of the city, just three blocks from Bourbon Street, three blocks from the Spanish Wharf on the mighty Mississippi River bank and across the street from the spectacular Harrah’s Casino with its 1,700 slots and 100 gaming tables. Our 285-room hotel is also convenient to many restaurants, shopping and sight-seeing opportunities. It has been voted as one of the "Top 50 Large City Hotels in the U.S." by Travel & Leisure Magazine and is within walking distance of the famous French Quarter. All of its rooms were recently renovated and guests may enjoy its indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, and paid on-site valet parking. Its Cafe Adelaide restaurant and Swizzle Stick Bar are operated by members of the noted Brennan family of New Orleans restauranteurs.
A four-day Post-Convention adventure to Vicksburg, Baton Rouge and plantation country is also available.
The city's main airport, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, is served by 15 airlines with nearly 50 direct flights. An airport shuttle service will be available to CACer Convention attendees at reduced fees with the opportunities for advanced reservations. Railroad service is also available from Chicago as well as from the East and West coasts.
On Monday evening, CACers will enjoy a sunset dinner cruise on the Mississippi River aboard the city's famous Creole Queen Paddlewheeler featuring live jazz and an elaborate New Orleans buffet dinner. To allow opportunities to enjoy some of the city's famous restaurants and entertainment venues, you will be on your own to select a breakfast location on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; as well as a dinner opportunity on Wednesday and Friday. Our hotel concierge desk will be happy to suggest locations and make reservations for CACers. New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne as a French colony. In 1762, it was ceded to Spain; and in 1802 France regained New Orleans as part of Napoleon's European wars. The following year 1803, France sold the city as part of the Louisiana Purchase to the United States. In 1812 Louisiana became a state with New Orleans as its first capitol. By 1840, the city grew to be the wealthiest and third largest in the U. S. (behind New York City and Baltimore) with a population of 102,000. In addition to sight-seeing on your own, several special Convention tour experiences have been planned for CACers. An extensive city tour by bus and a walking tour of the French Quarter will be available on both Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, our tour will be to Mardi Gras World to learn about the world famous annual festival and observe the floats that are being created for the 2018 event. A special eight-hour tour of two of the most famous Southern plantations along with lunch has been planned for Wednesday.
CACers can experience the rich Catholic heritage of New Orleans. The original Ursuline convent was built in the French Quarter in 1734; and in 1752 the modern-day Ursuline convent building was completed and today is recognized as the oldest and finest French Colonial building in the U.S. In 1794, the historic St. Louis Cathedral-Basilica was built on the site of an earlier Catholic church. Today the cathedral is the oldest, continuous cathedral in the nation. The cathedral is located six blocks from our hotel and self-guided tours are available each day.
The 25-acre Oak Alley Plantation is the most visited of all plantations on the "Great River Road" of the Mississippi and was completely restored many years ago. The Laura Plantation introduces visitors to Creole traditions and offers real-life accounts of generations of owners, women, slaves and children who lived on this sugar cane farm. The guided Laura Plantation tour is based upon 5,000 pages of documents related to this plantation discovered in the Archives Nationales in Paris, with the major stories coming from Laura Locoul Gore's book "Memories of the Old Plantation Home." Our tour begins with a visit through the Manson Principale, built in 1805, into its raised basement and galleries, and into its men's and women's chambers, and its offices, service rooms and common rooms. You will see Laura's family heirlooms and their Creole furnishings and be introduced to age-old Creole traditions. The visit moves to the grounds surrounded by sugarcane fields and 12 buildings on the National Register; and then into the formal gardens and the kitchen garden. The tour places visitors at the exact locations where sobering events of human slavery happened. Our tour concludes in one of the 1840 slave cabins where the ancient west-African folktales of Compair Lapin, better known as the legendary "Br'er Rabbit" were recorded. At the time Oak Alley was built, the Great River region's sugar industry was flourishing and a chain of stately plantations lined the banks of the Mississippi. Oak Alley remains as a testimonial to that special age of the South. This plantation is world-famous for its entrance "highway" created by centuries-old oak trees. The restoration in the 1920's was carefully planned so that the inclusion of modern plumbing and kitchen facilities conform to the original architectural format. In 1972, a non-profit foundation trust was created to provide for this enduring link to the past with its magnificent mansion and 25 acres of historic land to survive for future generations.
Note that much walking is involved on both the Plantation tour on Wednesday and the French Quarter tours on Sunday and Monday. Those with walking difficulties should not plan to participate on these two tours and those who do participate should wear comfortable walking shoes.
On Wednesday evening, the brave can experience a Ghost Adventure Haunted House Tour as featured on the hit TV show Ghost Adventures. Thursday will feature a special tour of several Catholic heritage sites led by a prominent local Catholic historian. On Friday, a tour of the mysterious yet beautiful swamp country of the Louisiana Delta by bus and boat will be offered.
Experience the National World War II Museum located just six blocks from our hotel. As of 2016, it is ranked as the Number One Attraction in all of New Orleans by Trip Advisor; the Number Four Top Museum in the U. S.; and the Number Eleven Top Museum in the world! Established in 2000 and designated by Congress as America's official WWII museum in 2003, the museum features a rich collection of artifacts that bring history to life.
Discover the most impactful event of the 20th century and the legacy of the "greatest generation" in thought-provoking exhibits in its many galleries and a 4D cinematic experience. It is associated with the Smithsonian Museum and is designed to inspire visitors of all ages. (The museum is located in New Orleans because of the heritage of the "Higgins Boat" which was invented and constructed in the city and played a key role in amphibious landings on both D-Day in Europe and the Pacific islands campaign.) Special priced tickets will be available at the convention. Visitors are advised to plan for at least 3 hours for a visit. There were over a half-million visitors last year.