In the Shadow of Katrina, BBC Destination Management Helps Northrop
Grumman Christen a Ship to Commemorate September 11th
|New Orleans (April 24, 2008) . . . In the shadow of the two great catastrophes
to befall the U.S. this decade – the terrorist attacks of September 11th,
and Hurricane Katrina -, the christening last month of Northrop Grumman’s
ship the New York (LPD21) shows that the Crescent City continues to honor
the memories of the two tragedies, even as it demonstrates again that it
is “open for business” to sophisticated, complex corporate events.
A Case Study in Resilience and Creativity
On Saturday, March 1, 2008 more than 6,000 people attended a christening event at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilders (NSGB) in New Orleans, to commemorate the christening of the New York (LPD 21 )– a billion dollar, 25,000 ton vessel built by Northrop Grumman, to commemorate the 2,750 people lost in the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001.
Built into the bow of the New York (LPD 21) is 7.5 tons of salvaged steel from the World Trade Center Tower Two - a true, “living monument.”
It was the largest event of its kind in New Orleans post-Katrina, and the challenge for local event planning/Destination Management Company (DMC), BBC, was clear: How to commemorate this kind of event publicly, maintaining the solemnity and propriety of the occasion, but demonstrating at the same time the resilience and creativity that has enabled two cities – New York and New Orleans – to rise above the ashes and recreate themselves as centers of commerce and corporate activity.
Anatomy of an Event: A Multi-Dimensional Celebration
Here is an outline of what took place:
The two day event was sponsored by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilders.
Thousands attended, including corporate executives, local New Orleans personalities and public officials such as Dotty England, sponsor of the ship and wife of Gordon England, America’sDeputy Secretary of Defense; relatives of slain September 11 heroes; representatives of the NY Fire Department and the NY Police Department; U.S. Representative Vito Fossella (D-NY); the USS New York Reunion Group, employees & families of NGSB, and United States veterans groups from the area.
The program ran for more than two days, and included a plethora of complex events:
Friday, February 29, 2008: Sponsor’s Dinner - seated gala for 650. Theme: “New York”.
The evening began with a cocktail reception in Heritage Park, with a performance by The USO Troupe “Liberty Bells” from NYC. Upon conclusion of their performance, guests were led to the Sugar Mill next door, in true New Orleans, style via “second line” parade.Saturday, March 1, 2008: In the early morning hours, a VIP-hosted breakfast was provided on the grounds of NGSB; 500-600 guests attended.
For the Christening ceremony, NGSB was prepared for the attendance of approximately 6,000 guests. A massive transportation shuttle system (including over 50 motorcoaches, 12 handicap-accessible minis, sedans, SUVs, vans and over 75 staff) was put into place to insure a seamless arrival & departure experience for all guests. Transportation for all guests was managed by BBC, utilizing ticket decoding for parking reference. From the parking locations, guests boarded designated motor coaches staffed by volunteer bus ambassadors who conducted a full tour of the build site en route to the specially created ceremony platforms at river’s edge.Summing up – A Historical and Corporate Event Milestone
The event was an extraordinary milestone for New Orleans and for BBC Destination Management, which demonstrated once again that New Orleans has “fully arrived” as a destination for the most important corporate events, national in scope, in the aftermath of Katrina.
In fact, in a “down market” affected by the national recession and a pullback in spending in some corporate meeting departments, the Crescent City provides itself as a truly creative, more cost-effective destination than ever before!
Michael Frenkel, MFC PR – New York
|Also See:||New Orleans Travel Industry's Long Road Back Begins - with an Ironic First Step / October 2005|