Sending a message "on behalf of the entire city," New Orleans tourism officials took out a full-page ad Sunday in the Houston Chronicle to let storm-battered Texans know that "we're here to help."
The ad said, "Our doors are open. Our clothes come in every size. There's hot food on the stove, and our cabinets are well-stocked. We promise to always share what we have."
Two weeks after Hurricane Harvey left Houston partially ruined, Mark Romig, the president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., said it was important to reach out to Louisiana's neighbors in Texas and "speak to them person-to-person, family-to-family, and friend-to-friend."
The hurricane gods are capricious, as we know from long and brutal experience, but it was a …
"They took good care of us after Katrina, and have always been there for us," Romig said. "We sent them a note. We kept it non-commercial. It was just a note of love back to them."
The ad, which was designed and written by 360i, the tourism group's hired agency, is also slated to run in Texas Monthly. It was shared on Twitter Sunday by Matt Schwartz, an assistant city editor at the paper; a day later, the message had been retweeted more than 10,800 times.
Romig said it was "the first time in my memory" that the tourism group had taken out an ad like that, but noted, "It is a special thing, because of Texas' relationship and what they did for us, particularly after Katrina."
"We all were very emotional looking at it, and thought we should do it," he said.
Romig said he could not immediately recall the cost of the ads.
Of course, Texas is a big draw for New Orleans's hospitality industry: When considering only overnight trips, the city's top feeder market in 2016 was Texas, at 10.4 percent, according to a recent University of New Orleans study.