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A new airport terminal. A brand-new passenger terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is now open to the public.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
A modern facility. Designed for a post-9/11 world, the 972,000-square-foot passenger terminal will be home to 16 commercial airlines and a centralized security screening system.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Lots of snacks. The terminal features more than 40 post-security concessions including food, drink, news and retail options.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Music everywhere. The airport features music venues pre- and post-security, including music at the centralized baggage claim area.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Featuring local chefs. Restaurant R'evolution chef John Folse is opening Folse Market at the new terminal, featuring étouffée, po-boys, gumbo and fried oysters to eat and to go.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Leah's Kitchen. The late legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase, who operated the restaurant Dooky Chase's, will have an outpost named for her at the airport. She approved her family's plan before she died.
Emeril's Table. Chef Emeril Lagasse (shown at his flagship restaurant) is opening a restaurant featuring local cuisine and cocktails.
Brent Humphreys for CNN
Getting up to speed. Other amenities at the new terminal include free Wi-Fi, water bottle refilling stations, chargers at half of the gate seats and a post-security pet relief area.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

At long last, New Orleans opens new airport terminal -- with Café du Monde beignets

(CNN) — For all the perfect Dooky Chase gumbo, Sazerac cocktails and live jazz that bathe New Orleans in unmatched flavors and rhythm, the Big Easy's 60-year-old airport passenger terminal left much to be desired.
The snacks tasted like airport food -- in New Orleans! -- and modern conveniences such as free Wi-Fi and plentiful charging stations for electronics were lacking.
That all changes Wednesday, November 6, when a brand-new $1 billion passenger terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport opens to the public for departing flights. A few flights were scheduled to land at the new terminal Tuesday night.
The massive project had been scheduled to be finished in May 2018, and its opening had been rescheduled four times before November 6, according to the Times-Picayune.

A $1 billion terminal

The new terminal has centralized passenger screening.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
"We are thrilled to trumpet the opening of the new Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport terminal, the first of its kind to be built in the US in over a decade," said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of New Orleans & Company.
"Our visitors and residents will now enjoy a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates New Orleans' culture through the local concessions, retail vendors and live music," he said.
"This airport terminal will immerse our guests in the spirit of New Orleans upon arrival, and will also give our residents a welcome reminder of how nice it is to return home -- to New Orleans."
Designed for a post-9/11 world, the 972,000-square-foot passenger terminal has centralized passenger security checkpoints leading into three concourses with 35 gates, two new parking garages for short-term and long-term parking, a surface parking lot and an economy garage.

Food of the Big Easy

Chef John Folse is opening Folse Market at the airport.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
That's all very important for airport efficiency, but one of the biggest improvements is that passengers traveling through the city-owned airport will actually get a real sample of New Orleans -- one of the United States' most distinctive and beloved cities.
Among the more than 40 post-security concessions, travelers can choose from classic beignets at Café du Monde, a drink at Bar Sazerac, creole food at Leah's Kitchen, Angelo Brocato's ice cream and live music at Heritage School of Music wine bar.

Free Wi-fi

Jazz music will be played through the terminal.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
All 16 commercial airlines offering flights through the New Orleans airport will operate from the new terminal, while the older facility will close to the public.
Other amenities at the new terminal have become commonplace at other major airports, including free Wi-Fi, water bottle refilling stations, chargers at half of the gate seats, a post-security pet relief area, mothers' rooms, automated restrooms and an advanced baggage screening system
Those departing from the airport will need to add more time to arrive at the new facility, which is located closer to the interstate. (The airport will continue to use the same runways and other aviation facilities.)

Visitor increase

A Mardi Gras reveler dangles a pair of beads off of a balcony on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Rusty Costanza/Getty Images
The airport welcomed a record-breaking 13.1 million passengers in 2018, an airport spokeswoman said.
The city of New Orleans hosted more than 18.5 million visitors in 2018, a 4.3 percent increase in visitors compared to 2017, according to a study commissioned by New Orleans & Company and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.
New Orleans also had a 3.9 percent increase to $9.1 billion in total visitor spending, according to the D.K. Shifflet & Associates study.
The city's restaurants, bars and cultural attractions stand to benefit from the modern new terminal.
National WWII Museum President & CEO Stephen J. Watson says the museum has welcomed nearly 8 million people since opening in 2000.
"The addition of a new, world-class airport will allow for even more visitation to the greater metropolitan area, and will also be a significant economic driver to businesses and cultural attractions that depend on corporate and family travel," Watson said. "We're thrilled to see the new MSY (the airport's code) open today."
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