Filed Under:  Entertainment

GoNOLA – NOTMC teams up with Essence

17th June 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

The popular saying-‘There’s an app for that’ now holds true for 2013 Essence Festival goers, thanks to the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC).

NOTMC has teamed up with Essence Fest to update its popular GoNOLA visitor app, adding new content that highlights events in the city during this years’ festival weekend.

“Having the 2013 Essence Festival represented with the GoNOLA app underscores the Festival’s role in establishing New Orleans as the definitive ‘4th of July African-American cultural destination’,” said Joy Collins, Essence Communications General Manager.”

The app now includes the hot spots for dining, nightlife, sightseeing and other events in conjunction with the Essence Fest. Visitors can also plan itineraries; with the help of the (To Do & My Trip) prompts. Direct links (via Ticketmaster) to purchase Festival tickets are also available as part of the new content.

“We’re premiered the app a little over a year ago and we knew sooner or later we would want to make it more specific to the (large) special events that come to the city of New Orleans,” says Mark Romig, NOTMC President and CEO.

This year’s Essence fest is the second big event to have specific content featured on the app. The first was Super Bowl XLVII.

The Essence VIP Top Ten list is now available on the GoNOLA app; including festival organizers’ recommendations on things to do while in town for the event; such as the empowerment seminars and the concert super lounges.

“The importance of the Essence Festival to our culture, our festival calendar and our economy cannot be overstated,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

“Because we’re partners with the CVB and the Hotel Motel Assn. as well as the multicultural tourism network, we approached Essence with the idea to enhance the essence fest experience with the app by customizing it for Essence,” Mark Romig said. “Working with (Essence Promotion Director) Fred Jackson and the Essence team, we built content around the event; so the app now brings up great Essence information, so visitors can not only use the app as they normally would while here in New Orleans, but they’re got specific content that features Essence events. To navigate around… it is really fun. You’ve got complete restaurant listings, along with the walking tours.”

The walking tours are virtual stories of such places as Tremé, City Park, and the Canal Streetcar route; wonderfully narrated by hometown actors Patricia Clarkson, Wendell Pierce and Jay Batt; along with actor (and NOLA adopted son) John Goodman, and broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien.

“We gave Soledad (O’Brien) a choice of tours to do, and she said ‘I’d love to do one on City Park. We did the research and she just ran with it.” Romig says. “They all donated their time, simply because they love the city. These actors all gave us their time – we provided the script and they recorded it for us. It’s so richly done; you can tell how passionate they are about what they’re describing. It’s just another unique way to experience the city.”

The plan is to continue to feature content for the event on the app every year going forward.

“It’s another gift back to the folks from Essence for believing in New Orleans as much as they have; we wanted to make their visit as enjoyable and as fun as possible,” Romig states.

The GoNOLA app is available at no charge for both iPhone and Android in the iTunes and Google play stores.

This article originally published in the June 17, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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