Storm has local hotelier busy in New Orleans

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017


NATCHEZ — Local hotelier Warren Reuther said Tuesday he has his hands full thanks to the wind and rains of Hurricane Harvey.

Downgraded to a tropical storm, Harvey has affected the plans of cruise ships, football fans and tourists.

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The change in plans has been a chore for Reuther’s various enterprises at Hospitality Enterprises Inc.

The company also manages the Natchez Convention Center. Reuther owns Monmouth Historic Inn, Natchez Grand Hotel and is currently planning the construction of a new hotel on Franklin Street.

Saturday, two cruise ships headed for Houston changed course and took their 2,500 passengers to New Orleans instead. Two more cruise ships headed to Galveston brought their 3,000 passengers to New Orleans, as well.

“We provide transportation service for all of the ocean going ships in New Orleans,” Reuther said. “We are dealing with all of the passengers — tours, restaurant reservations, whatever.”

Tuesday, Reuther’s company helped transport passengers to the airport to fly out all over the country.

If that weren’t enough, Reuther’s company has also been busy with providing for Saturday’s college football game between LSU and BYU. Because of Hurricane Harvey, the game, originally scheduled to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, was relocated to the Superdome in New Orleans.

Not only will Reuther’s company be providing services to and from the Superdome, but it will also service both teams, bands, students and fans.

“It got so busy yesterday, I had to go outside to change my mind,” Reuther said, joking. “But it is a part of what we do. We move a lot of people.”

As the president of the New Orleans Convention Center when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Reuther said some of the scenes from Houston are familiar, especially images from the Houston Convention Center, which is now being operated as a storm shelter.

“I know what they are going through,” Reuther said. “It is a big challenge.”