Identifier

etd-04062009-193611

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Natural disasters such as hurricanes can be cataclysmic for any city. This is especially true for cities that rely on tourism as an economic driving force. The inevitability of these disasters, even with extensive planning, contain variables for which cities cannot be prepared. Such was the case with Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005. After the hurricane made landfall on August 29, 2005, New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and federal government officials faced a daunting task of recovering from the terrible natural catastrophe. Tourism was one of the hardest hit industries for New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. Revenue from out-of-state visitors accounts for 35 percent of the city’s annual operating budget, employing 85,000 residents and generates $5 billion in spending annually (Fact Sheet, NOCVB, 2008). Katrina struck a devastating blow to the second largest industry in the state through physical destruction. In addition, large amounts of negative media coverage contributed to the negative perception that New Orleans could not handle such a disaster. Public relations seemed a key component to rebuilding New Orleans’ image and bringing tourism dollars back to the region. Practitioners, especially those within the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB), stated that they used public relations strategies and tactics to help revive the industry. This study gives a brief historical description of Hurricane Katrina and the tourism industry in New Orleans. It analyzes the approach the NOCVB used to revitalize tourism through the Forever New Orleans campaign. This study further supports the importance of practitioners becoming aware of the contingencies that can occur in a time of crisis, and extrapolates results from the analysis of this campaign that can serve as a model for other major cities that face a crisis within the tourism industry after a natural disaster.

Date

2009

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jinx C. Broussard

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