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It has been a rough few years for New Orleans. The after effects of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill are still being felt in many sections of the city; however, the French Quarter and the Garden District, two of the its main tourism areas, have never looked better. And for LGBT travelers seeking to visit the Big Easy, Harrah’s New Orleans offers a prime location and welcoming accommodations.
The city’s newest hotel, completed in 2006, Harrah’s is located in the Central Business District, between the French Quarter to the north and the Garden District to the south. It is 26 stories with 450 spacious rooms and suites.
I stayed for three nights over Easter weekend and was very pleased. The hotel was spotless, well maintained and the staff was professional and friendly. I also loved the fact that the hotel is not directly connected to the casino, which Harrah’s built prior to the hotel. It is located just across the street from the hotel and accessible via a tunnel.
Adjacent to the hotel is the Fulton Street pedestrian promenade, which is owned and operated by the hotel. It is lined with restaurants and is often the setting for outdoor concerts and special events. The casino also has a number of restaurants including the superb Besh Steak, operated by New Orleans native and James Beard award-winning chef John Besh.
Many of the hotel’s senior management are openly gay and the property doesn’t shy away from its desire to attract LGBT travelers. It is a TAG Approved property and a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. As I walked through the hotel and casino, I saw many of the promotional signs included information about Harrah’s designation by the Human Rights Campaign as a supportive workplace for LGBT employees. The hotel also offers LGBT-specific information and promotions on its website, and has recently appointed a director of LGBT and ethnic marketing.