August 2017 Print

President's Report

MPI Gulf States,

Here we are, in the dog days of summer. I hope that you all, like me, are savoring this “slow” time of the year. Take a moment to enjoy those snowballs, the Coolinary specials at some of New Orleans’ best restaurants and the final days before school begins again. I am thankful for this time to recharge and to refocus, gearing up for an exciting and jam packed fall!

Kicking off our Education programing for the year, we have a meeting scheduled on August 17th at the Riverview Room, with a fabulous lunch provided by the New Orleans School of Cooking. 

Our guest speaker, LoriAnn Harnish, will speak to us about Stakeholder Engagement. Every event professional comes in contact with a wide range of event stakeholders who can have an impact on the success of the event or who can be affected by the event. You will walk away from this program having learned how to manage stakeholder partners in order to maintain positive long-term relationships and the key best practices for communication, recognition, conflict resolution, and legal considerations. One (1) Education Hour will be earned by attending this event. 

Looking to clean out your closet? We can help you with that! MPI Gulf States has partnered with Dress for Success to help out women in need in our community. Please bring your gently used professional attire, accessories, handbags and jewelry to the August event and they will be repurposed and donated to participants in the Dress for Success program. You’ll be helping a wonderful cause and will also receive a raffle ticket for each donated item!

I look forward to seeing you at the August meeting and to engaging further with you all throughout the year. The best ways to get know one another better and to use MPI as a tool to build your professional network is to volunteer with our Chapter. Most volunteer opportunities require a minor time commitment and they allow you to engage with one another in a way that would not likely happen otherwise. I encourage you to reach out to myself, any board member or volunteer to inquire about open volunteer positions. 

Each month we will also host a brief, “Maximize Your Membership” moment just 20 minutes prior to each meeting. We will go over membership benefits, how to utilize our Chapter Website as well as MPI Global’s website and much more. Attendance is open to all! Also be sure to check out our online event calendar at to stay “in the know” about all of our upcoming events and education opportunities.

Cheers to the end of summer and to new beginnings,

Nicole Hutchison, CMP

MPI Gulf States Chapter President

Back to top

News to Know

Kurmit Ruffins Hits the Flooded Streets

Written by Courtney Dubbin
With the heavy rains that hit the city this past weekend, local musician, Kermit Ruffins, saw it as the perfect opportunity to give back to his community.  Trumpet Maestro and Kermit Ruffins loaded a tiny pirogue with beer and sent it sailing across flooded Claiborne Avenue to some stranded locals. Ruffins took to Instagram to post about the flood: Kermit Ruffins Instagram Video 


New Festival Coming to Nola this fall

Written by Courtney Dubbin

The NOLA Cochon de Lit Festival is set to take place October 21st.  Citizens Organization for Police Support 2 (COPS 2) will present the fest from 11am to 6pm at Palmer Park on South Claiborne Avenue. "We are thrilled with our new festival concept, NOLA Cochon de Lait Festival, that celebrates the South's obsession with smoked pork and all its fixings. The fest will be free and open to the public."  Check out the full article at NOLA Cochon de Lait Festival


8 new products at the Louisiana food expo

Written by Courtney Dubbin

The 64th annual Louisiana Food Expo took place Monday, August 7th at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.  The expo attracts professional working in restaurants, hotels or any culinary-or beverage-related field on the Gulf Coast. Some of the most notable items to debut at the expo included: 
'Dip Me' spreads-Robert Wolf's line of dips, which included pork belly, Creole Herb and Gator Bite.
New Orleans Ice Cream's new bars-flavors like cafe au lait and mocha are unique because they are real coffee that is frozen and wrapped around a creamy center.
Louisiana's Cane Land's spirits, 'cane juice'-Cane Land Distilling Co. is now producing spirits such as Parade Argente Rum, Parade Spiced Rum and Shinding Vodka.
For a full list of new products check out the article at 8 New Products at the Louisiana Food Expo


Back to top

Member News & Recognition

Scholarships & grants

As a member of MPI you have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and grants offered by MPI global.  Applications for most scholarships (CMM, CMP, memberhsip, MPI Academy, etc.) are accepted on an on-going basis and reviewed each month.  

Upcoming Scholarship Deadlines:

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival-Experiential Event Series in November: Application Deadline is August 31st.

To learn more about Grant and Scholarship opportunites as well as applications please visit



We are pleased to welcome the following new members to our Gulf States Chapter as of June 2017:

Angela Mahaffey Watson, Gulf Coast Tent Rentals
Lauren Ramos, Fogo de Chao
Michelle Minyard, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Lou Marciani, University of Southern Mississippi
Gina Hartman-Crais, Crais Management Group LLC
Jonathan Gibbs, Sheraton New Orleans



As a member of MPI you will have the opportunity to connect with all 18,500 members around the world through the exclusive member benefit "MyMPI", our online member community.

Join at and use FacebookMPIin2016 before 10/31 to save $50.


Your local MPI Chapter is looking to fill two committee positions.  If you are interested in either of these positions or would like additional information please contact Tammy Syock

MarCom Coordinator: this committee member assists our VP of Education with marketing and communication prior to each education program (6 annually) by creating fun and exciting blasts and event descriptions; acts as the liaison between Communications and Education teams and helps to determine new ways to market our education programs. Estimated time commitment: 2-5 hours per program.

Networking Activity Coordinator: this committee member assists the Monthly Program Chair by planning and overseeing special activities during the networking period at each education program (6 annually). Previous examples of networking activities: ice-breaker quizzes, head-shot station, CSR activities, raffles, etc. Estimated time commitment: 2-5 hours per program.

Grant Writer: Are you a fabulous writer?  We’d love your expertise with help writing grant submissions for our education programs! 

In this volunteer role, you’ll assist our VP of Education with compiling information and writing grant requests.  Grants are available from the MPI Foundation twice a year and an estimated time commitment is 2-3 hours per grant request (4-6hrs annually).  If interested, please contact





Join us in congratulating Erin Gremillion, with Allied PRA, on her recent win of the Outstanding Millenial in Hospitality Award at the recent Millenial Conference here in New Orleans! GREAT job Erin!!

If you have any member shout-outs you’d like to add to our next newsletter, email

Back to top

MPI Gulf States Past Events

july – Networking event 

Cheers to Our Members! DrinkLab NOLA


For more pictures from past MPI Gulf States events, visit our photo gallery.


Make sure to register for our August 17th chapter event. More details under "Upcoming Chapter Events" Section here.

Back to top

Sponsorship & Advertising Opportunities

sponsership & advertising 

Do Business with MPI

-20th anniversary video project.


Click HERE to review the sponsorship and advertising opportunities, and feel free to contact us at any time for more information.

Our Chapter Sponsorship & Advertising Packet includes information about how you can partner with us in 2016 to promote your brand and showcase your business to more than 170 MPI Gulf States members. As you may know, our chapter has been recognized globally out of more than 70 chapters worldwide in being No. 1 for Chapter Leadership, No. 2 for Chapter Education and No. 3 for Overall Chapter Engagement. There’s no better time for you to get involved and extend your reach to planners and suppliers in the entire Gulf States region. 



Back to top

Upcoming Events


August 17, 2017
Lunch and Learn:Stakeholder Management presented by LoriAnn Harnish 
Presented by New Orleans School of cooking and the Riverview Room

Location: Riverview Room

Every event professional comes in contact with a wide range of event stakeholders who can have an impact on the success of the event or who can be affected by the event.  This program is designed for YOU the industry professional who is impacting or being affected by the design and execution of any type of meeting or event. 

To assist in reaching this goal you will learn three vital steps that will bring extraordinary results to include:

-Creating stakeholder engagement and trust through good communications.

-Demonstrate service first mentality.

-identify stakeholder needs to bring value to their organization.



August 12

Dirty Linen Night

The 16th annual Dirty Linen Night art party takes place in the 200 to 1000 blocks of Royal Street from 6 to 9pm on Aug. 12th. 

August 12

Red Dress Run

Starting at Crescent City Park, heading down Esplanade and into the Quarter then back to Crescent City Park, the run will start at 9am.

September 8-9
Burger Fest

The first Jazz in the Park Burger Festival takes places from 7 to 10:30pm Sept. 8-9 at Crescent Park. With music from Stephanie Mills and Denieve Williams. 


Back to top

Our Partners


We are pleased to call Pat Garin the Gulf States Chapter’s official photographer, Event Rental our official Rental Sponsor, and PSAV our official Audio/Visual Sponsor! Many thanks to these companies for your contribution to our success!


Launched by the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association (GMOHLA) in May 2016, Feed the Need NOLA was created to provide meals to those in need for people in the Greater New Orleans community. In today’s economic uncertainty, shelters across the country are feeling the financial burden of keeping their doors open. Feed the Need NOLA has partnered up with local shelters such as the New Orleans Mission and St. Jude Community Center to help bring approximately 200 meals per week to tables across the city; saving the shelters an estimated $50,000, annually. Each week, Feed the Need NOLA will partner up with a different hotel or local business to prepare, deliver and serve meals to those in need. Feed the Need NOLA provides a wonderful opportunity for locals in the hospitality industry to help give back to their community in a big way while helping save thousands of dollars for the local non-profits.

"Many families are struggling to make ends meet and programs such as Feed the Need NOLA will go a long way in making a difference" said David Teich, Windsor Court Hotel General Manager and GNOHLA Board President. Other current GNOHLA programs include volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, scholarships, the Tourism Tee Off Golf Tournament and the Education Foundation.

For more information about Feed the Need NOLA, visit contact Mavis Early at 504-525-2264 or David Teich at 504-596-4780.

Back to top