NOCCI Gives Back - Giving Back When Time is Limited

The City of New Orleans is filled with immeasurable spirit and pride. As event planners in this vibrant community, we get to leave our mark by creating unforgettable experiences for all to enjoy. Every once in a while we are able to offer our services as means of giving back to the city we love. It may seem impossible to pick up pro bono work with such a jam-packed calendar, but with a passionate team, anything is possible.

Most recently, we joined a team of industry leaders to create a benefit concert supporting the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. With an extremely busy schedule and only one week to turn this vision into a reality, we used our skills and connections to make “NOLA Beats for Orlando” a great success.

NOLA Beats for Orlando Planning Committee

NOCCI's Erin & Ashley with the NOLA Beats for Orlando Planning Committee

When picking up pro bono work, it is extremely important not to overload yourself. You want to give your best to your paying and non-paying clients. As our CEO, Dottie Belletto says, “if you touch it, you own it.” Don’t take on any responsibility you cannot handle.

It is important that you schedule meetings before or after regular business hours. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but you want to refrain from using up too much time of your day. We always divide and conquer responsibilities so that they are evenly spread throughout the team. We also give ourselves a time limit. Allotting a specific amount of time for the pro bono client allows you to prioritize and not become overwhelmed.

Coordinating an event pro bono can be a lot of extra work, but if you have the passion and can manage your time effectively, pro bono events are a great way to involve yourself in the community. 



NEW ORLEANS, LA- The 43rd Annual Bayou Classic marks the sixth year New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI) is awarded the management contract for the game and festivities between Grambling State and Southern. In wake of this announcement, the company welcomes Quintin Thomas as General Manager of NOCCI’s Sports Marketing and Entertainment Department.

The Bayou Classic, which has seen many gains since NOCCI took over in 2011, boasted a record breaking attendance of 62,907 in 2015; the highest number since the Classic returned to New Orleans post Katrina. With Thomas on the company’s team, NOCCI is excited to bring the Classic to even more heights in 2016.

Thomas has 20 years of sales, marketing and sports management experience working for companies such as MillerCoors, Coca Cola, Six Flags Corporation and Victory Sports & Entertainment.  For the past eight years as Brand Market Manager/Sales Representative of MillerCoors, Thomas worked on the sponsorship side of the Bayou Classic. Thomas led the MillerCoors Brand as a key supporter of both the Southern University and Grambling State University Athletic Programs.

Thomas was also the leader of driving sales, marketing & sponsorship for the Coors Light Brand in the Louisiana African American Market for Essence Music Festival, NFL/New Orleans Saints Legends, Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and Alumni Fraternity Organizations.

"I look forward to growing NOCCI’s Sports Marketing and Entertainment Department," says Thomas. In addition to the Bayou Classic, Thomas will be overseeing the Fall 2016 HBCU Road Tour, managing sponsoring companies for Super Bowl LI in Houston, and developing sporting events for the New Orleans Tricentennial in 2018.


About New Orleans Convention Company Inc.

With more than 29 years in the event management industry, New Orleans Convention Company Inc. (NOCCI) has been the foundation of some of the New Orleans’ most memorable events. Specializing in event marketing, conference planning and meeting logistics, NOCCI aims to excite, engage, and entice participants.  Visit NOCCI online at

How Event Marketing Reigns King

Advertisements... We see them everywhere. Turn on your TV or computer screen and in a matter of seconds one will appear. They are always in your face, but are they always effective?  According to the Event Marketing Institute, 87% of consumers say that events are more effective than commercial advertisements. Live events give the consumer the opportunity to interact with and get to know the product, opposed to just seeing it on a television screen.

Graph showing 87% of consumers think event marketing is more effective than commercials

Experience and event marketing is on the rise and has a huge effect on consumer spending. By hosting an event, your company not only has the opportunity to increase sales, but the opportunity to improve public perception. Giving clients the opportunity to interact face to face with a product is a huge motivator to get people on board for the long run.  Event participants are 65% more inclined to make an onsite purchase and 70% of participants are likely to become regular customers.

Event marketing isn’t only valuable to businesses, but also to communities and the global economy. According to The Meeting Professional's May 2016 article, “Getting The Message Out,” meetings, conventions and trade shows support 66,500 jobs and generate more than $9.3 billion in economic impact in Las Vegas alone.  The effects of event marketing are undeniable and can help elevate your company's success. What are you waiting for? The time to get your message out is now, and we’d love to help get you started!

NOCCI's Ultimate Festival Survival Guide: Part 3

NOCCI's festival season officially kicks of tomorrow with NOLA FoodFest. We can't wait to see all our your smiling faces enjoying the delicious food, great music and fun! Before heading to the festival, make sure you're prepared by reading the third and final installment of our festival survival guide.

  1. Surviving kids.
  2. So, it’s an “all-ages” event and you want to bring the kids along… GREAT! Festivals can be a ton of fun for kids. Check out if the festival has a kid’s activity area to keep them busy. If the festival doesn’t have a kid’s area, be sure to pack your own activities. We know an iPod will keep them occupied, but festivals should be genuine family fun, so pack a football, some bubbles or any other easy to carry toy.

    Don’t forget to pack snacks for your little one(s). If you have a picky eater and you are at a food festival, the last thing you want to hear is that someone is hungry… Bring snacks!

    Family at Festival

  3. Surviving groups.
  4. It’s fun to go to festivals with friends. As we mentioned in the previous blog, it’s smart to have a portable phone charger to keep in touch with friends (and take some really great pictures). If you have an iPhone, you can even “share your location” with your group, so no one gets lost at those larger scale festivals. A meeting spot is always useful. We suggest scoping one out when you first arrive and establishing that as your spot for the rest of the weekend. It’s also smart to have a “festival buddy” to accompany you when you have to break off from the group to get something to eat or drink, or to use the bathroom.

  5. Surviving port-o-potties.
  6. Port-o-potties… everyone’s favorite festival affair! Clearly we’re not being serious, but there are certainly ways to make your port-o-potty experience a little less miserable. Whenever we get to a festival, we always check out the port-o-potty situation first. Sometimes you can find a less frequented port-o-potty, which may have toilet paper until the very end. Just in case they’re all pretty frequented, we suggest bringing your own roll along. Also, pack some hand sanitizer to keep yourself nice and clean! You can thank us later.

With these tips under your belt, you will survive festival season like a pro! Come out and put your new skills to the test at one of our upcoming spring festivals:

FoodFest – April 2nd & 3rd @ Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza
For more information visit

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience- May 26th – 29th @ Various Locations
For more information visit

New Orleans Oyster Festival – June 4th & 5th @ Woldenberg Park
For more information visit

NOCCI's Ultimate Festival Survival Guide: Part 2

Welcome back to our Festival Survival Guide! Last week we shared tips on how to survive festival rules, weather and attire. As our first festival of the season rapidly approaches, we want to help increase your festival survival skills. Read on to continue learning how to champion festivals in New Orleans and beyond.

  1. Surviving vendors.
  2. Cash is king. Make sure you take out cash before heading to a festival. Some vendors are cash only, so it is vital that you have some if you plan on eating and drinking. Yes, there may be an ATM on site, but an ATM fee will exist and will probably be a littler higher than usual. If you’re going to purchase food or alcohol, don’t be afraid to tip! Not only is tipping the right thing to do, but it may help the vendors remember your face the next time you make a purchase!

    If you are heading to a food festival, be sure to check out the vendors online beforehand. Mapping out the vendors you want to try can save you a lot of time deciding where to eat at the festival. Don’t forget to stop by the craft, artist and merchandise vendors to bring home some unique memorabilia.

  3. Surviving the essentials.
  4. One of the worst things you can do is show up to a festival only to realize you’ve forgotten something important… like the tickets. Please don’t forget those, your group will be really unhappy with you and may revoke your invitation to future events. We suggest making a checklist ahead of time. Before you leave for the festival, ensure that you have everything on that list in your possession. We suggest putting simple (or not so simple) things, like your wallet and ID on that list.

    If you are not one to stand up on your feet all day, bring a lawn chair (if permitted) or a blanket. It’s always nice to have somewhere to chill out and relax for a bit. If you are going to the festival with a group, it is important that you can reach them in case you get separated. To avoid any issues here, bring a portable phone charger. You can find one at Wal-Mart or on Amazon for pretty cheap. It’s a small investment you won’t regret! Other essentials include previously mentioned items like, ponchos, hoodies, water, cash, backpacks, etc.

  5. Surviving the line up.
  6. This one is important. Whether you paid big bucks to get into the festival, or nothing at all, you’ll want to check out the line up ahead of time. If you’re like me and don’t like to live with any regrets, make yourself a personalized schedule so you don’t have to miss a thing. We suggest putting your schedule in your phone, so you don’t have to worry about losing a piece of paper. Some festivals even have apps, which allow you to easily create a personalized schedule.

    If you want to be first row for your favorite band, get there early. Nobody likes a crowd pusher! If you like to dance, hang out towards the back of the crowd, where you’ll have plenty of room to showcase your favorite moves.

You’re getting closer to becoming a festival pro! Make sure you don’t miss a beat this festival season and mark your calendars with our upcoming events:

FoodFest – April 2nd & 3rd @ Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza
For more information visit

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience- May 26th – 29th @ Various Locations
For more information visit

New Orleans Oyster Festival – June 4th & 5th @ Woldenberg Park
For more information visit

NOCCI’s Ultimate Festival Survival Guide: Part 1

New Orleans and festivals go hand in hand. Here in the Big Easy, we can find a reason to celebrate just about anything. With great experience producing festivals year after year, we like to think of ourselves as “festival gurus.” Festival season is right around the corner and we want you to be as prepared as possible. Whether you are a first time festivalgoer or a festival vet, follow our survival guide to champion festivals in New Orleans and beyond.

Today we’re going to share how to survive festival rules, weather and attire. We will be posting other great tips leading up to festival season, so stay tuned!

  1. Surviving the rules.
  2. Before taking any of our other advice, make sure you check out the festival’s rules and regulations. Some festivals may restrict you from bringing certain outside items. It is important that you know what is or is not allowed in before showing up and potentially being told to leave your items behind.

  3. Surviving the weather.
  4. As Outkast says, “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” The weather can be a festivalgoer’s best friend or worst nightmare. Be sure to check the weather before heading to any outdoor event. If the forecast is predicting sun... you’re in luck! Pack some sunblock and sunglasses and you’re ready for action. A portable misting fan can help you stay cool. If you are permitted to bring in water, pack a bottle for yourself. Some festivals have water fountains or free water filling stations, so you can refill your bottle throughout the day. If water is not permitted, be sure to stay hydrated by purchasing some at the festival. Also, find some shade. A giant tree is a great place to cool off if the sun is too much.

    If the forecast calls for rain, don’t fret, because it’s not the end of the world. As long as your event is rain or shine and the weather isn’t going to be too severe, fun can still be had! In the case of rain, bring an umbrella and a poncho. We suggest buying the poncho ahead of time because they can be quite costly at the festival. As for shoes, wear rain boots or other durable footwear to help you stay dry.

  5. Surviving attire.
  6. Your attire will most likely reflect the weather. Starting from the bottom, we suggest leaving your flip-flops at home. We’d hate to see you get stepped on all day… “OUCH!” Closed-toe shoes are best; preferably ones that are already broken in for maximum comfort. Speaking of comfort, wear something that is easy to move around in, especially if you plan on dancing and eating all day! It is always smart to have removable layers. We suggest bringing a hoodie that can easily be tied around your waist or stored in a backpack in case it gets chilly at night.

    It’s always smart to wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun or rain. A backpack or fanny pack can be useful to hold your essential festival items. They are easy to carry, hard to lose, and a little less annoying than carrying a pocketbook.

Congrats! You’re one step closer to being a festival pro! We’ll be back next week with some additional tips. In the mean time, mark your calendars with our upcoming festivals:

FoodFest – April 2nd & 3rd @ Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza
For more information visit

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience- May 26th – 29th @ Various Locations
For more information visit

New Orleans Oyster Festival – June 4th & 5th @ Woldenberg Park
For more information visit

Working with Non-Profits: Tips for running a big event on a small budget.

Big dreams and small budgets... As experienced planners, we are no strangers to this challenge. At NOCCI we work with a wide variety of clients and no matter the budget, we are committed to bringing our client's vision to life. So what happens when the dream is big and the budget is small? Why, get creative of course! Read on for our tips on working with non-profits.

1. Be creative!

So, you've chosen a venue, the next step is figuring out how you will transform this venue into a beautifully decorated event space (without dropping a pretty penny). Floral centerpieces are gorgeous, but they can be expensive and they cannot be reused for future events. When working with non-profits and other small budget clients, it is helpful to purchase decor that can be reused and repurposed to get the most bang for your buck.

When you have a lot of space to fill, we suggest using larger pieces to cut back on costs. This October, we did a Halloween themed fundraiser for Liberty's Kitchen. We had the challenge of decorating two-floors of the New Orleans Public Library with a small budget. Instead of getting centerpieces made, we used plastic pumpkins and candles to give the library a Fall feel. These items are low cost and can be reused for future events.

2. Utilize your resources.

A lot of non-profit organizations have committees or board members. Don't be afraid to use them as an extension of your team. These committee members may have relationships with vendors and/or venues and can be helpful at getting something amazing for a low price.

3. Do your research.

When working with a tight budget, it is vital that you shop around. There are plenty of start-ups and organizations out there that provide low-cost or even free services to non-profits. For instance, Liberty's Kitchen used a silent auction as as their fundraising method. When searching for a mobile bidding platform, we initially came across some expensive services that we certainly could not afford. With a little more research, we found Accelevents, an easy to use site designed for low budget fundraisers.

The moral of the story here is: don't settle for the first option you come across. If you seek, you will find and you will be able to exceed expectations and fool everyone into thinking your low budget event had a large price tag!

Mardi Gras Madness

Mardi Gras is a time for celebration for most, but for the NOCCI team, Mardi Gras is a time for hard work. While many New Orleanians are busy parading, the NOCCI team is working around the clock in New Orleans and beyond to create memorable experiences.

During the Mardi Gras parades, you could catch NOCCI staff members managing the grandstands outside of Lafayette Square and for our sister company, Prime Productions by the PanAm Building.  Staff members were responsible for selling and distributing tickets, staffing security guards, managing the hospitality tent and ensuring that everything ran smoothly inside the stands. The NOCCI team worked extremely long hours and braved exceptionally windy weather to provide the upmost hospitality for Mardi Gras revelers.

Mardi Gras Float

The grandstands weren’t NOCCI’s only involvement in the Mardi Gras festivities. The NOCCI team was responsible for planning and managing The City of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Ball at Gallier Hall. For weeks leading up to the Ball, the staff managed RSVPs and coordinated logistics for the event. Guests were thrilled when they entered Gallier Hall and were greeted by three floors of Mardi Gras décor and incredible live music from local favorites, Robin Barnes and Kermit Ruffin. To top it all off, guests were able to indulge in king cakes from 15 local bakeries inside the King Cake Room. This was a delicious treat for the 1,500+ guests who attended the event.

Centerpieces in Gallier Hall

Our work over the holiday weekend didn’t stop in New Orleans. NOCCI’s Ashley and Gillian took a trip to Houston to manage a classy Super Bowl tailgate party for Noble Energy. Guests came dressed in their favorite jerseys and had the opportunity to take a "selfie" with retired Texan’s linebacker, Chester Pitts. Noble Energy employees had a blast at this company celebration.

NOCCI employees with Chester Pitts

Life as an event planner is no walk in the park. Normal holidays and sleep hours don’t always exist, but as they say, “when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” 

NOCCI Team Organizes Inaugural Gala for St. John the Baptist Parish President

To celebrate the inauguration of three-time Parish President, Natalie Robottom and her Administrative Staff, the NOCCI team coordinated a sophisticated evening of dining and dancing.

The NOCCI staff transformed the St. John Community Center into a beautiful room lined with foliage. The 300 guests enjoyed their locally cooked food at tables set with gorgeous floral centerpieces. The event was executed flawlessly as NOCCI staff coordinated the logistics and stage management.

The air was filled with optimism as members of the parish gathered to recognize their community leaders both old and new. 

NOCCI Selected for University Medical Center Dedication

The NOCCI Team was chosen to plan, coordinate, and manage the dedication of the new, 2.3 million square foot University Medical Center New Orleans facility. The event was attended by local dignitaries, leaders, UMC staff, and representatives of the Federal, State, and Local Governments. 

Speakers included Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Karen DeSalvo, State Senator David Heitmeier, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, State Representative Walt Leger, State Representative Helena Moreno, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert and New Orleans City Councilmember LaToya Cantrell.

The NOCCI Team coordinated and managed the event catering, A/V, onsite staffing, logistics including staging and setup, and managed the event proceedings and staging.

© Copyright New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. 2018