Welcome to NOLA!
On behalf of the 86,000 New Orleanians in the hospitality, meeting and events industry, is our great pleasure
to host the 2018 TSE and welcome our counterparts, colleagues and friends to one of America’s most historic
and culturally rich destinations – New Orleans.
There has never been a better time to experience the Crescent City. New Orleans is experiencing a true
economic and cultural renaissance. As we celebrate our tricentennial celebration in 2018, the city is bustling
with progress and innovation. From the development of a new world class airport opening in 2019, a
re-energizing billion dollar project along the riverfront, to small independent businesses in the eclectic, upand-
coming historic neighborhoods of Tremé, Bywater, Magazine Street and Faubourg Marigny, business and
culture are booming.
While you are here, you owe it to your inner soul to immerse yourself in our rich culture and enjoy all that our
beautiful, sensory and authentic city has to offer. Be sure to explore our 1,500 restaurants from the traditional
pillars of New Orleans dining celebrated throughout the years, to the emergent new chefs offering stunningly
innovative international cuisine and world class fusions of culinary traditions… all here in the most awardwinning
city for food per capita in the world. No place has a better combination of elegant fine dining, food
under ten dollars and the greatest mixology found anywhere on Earth. And, in New Orleans, when you go
walking, you can take your drink with you while the riffs of jazz music fill your ears everywhere you stroll.
New Orleans has long been a favorite destination with world-class cuisine and a spirit of innovation and
entrepreneurship that permeates every sector. With architecture influenced by the Spanish, French, African
and every other culture that has inhabited this bustling port city for the past 300 years, you will feel the rich
history and cultural roots that our city was built upon.
On behalf of the entire hospitality community – chefs, musicians, bellmen, artists, housekeepers and more –
we look forward to hosting this prestigious event and to be your home away from home for a few days while
you experience all that our city has to offer.
Your 2018 Conference Ambassadors,
Kellie Mathas, CSEP, CMP
Owner, Director of Creative Projects
Crystal Clear Creative
Tara LeTort, CMP
Director of Group Public Relations and Communications
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tara Letort, CMP, is the award-winning Director of Group Public Relations and Communications with the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, a newly created position in 2007. Tara serves as a consultant to meeting planners, marketing and PR teams as well as local committee members of conventions both large and small, representing various industries and providing marketing assistance and custom strategic marketing plans to help promote the city and their upcoming event. A Millennial award winner and Forty Under 40 recipient, Tara serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Gulf States Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America, and was one of the first PR professionals to obtain the CMP Certification in 2012. As one of the most unique positions among DMOs in the country, the Group PR position has been recognized nationally as a standard of excellence. Tara has been in the Advertising/Marketing Industry for the past 15 years, after graduating from the University of Alabama in 2000.
Kellie is native New Orleanian and a graduate of the University of New Orleans & the George Washington University Event Management Program. Kellie has over twenty years of experience in the hospitality industry specializing in event planning, production and commercial design spaces. Kellie was the 2003-2004 recipient of the J. Robert Graves Pioneer Award and the first CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional) in the state of Louisiana. She served on the advisory board for Special Events Magazine nationally for four years and was selected to serve as Ambassador for The Special Event 2010 show in New Orleans.
In 2011, Kellie opened her own design & event company, which currently focuses on permanent design applications in the sports and corporate markets. She is proud Mom to 11 year, old Cole and 7 year old, Carly and very proud to serve as Ambassador again on behalf of the city of New Orleans and the special events local community