After 63 years and 31 expos, LAGCOE’s bi-annual trade show is moving to New Orleans and the Ernest Morial Convention Center starting next year.
The news of LAGCOE’s move to New Orleans stunned LCVC President and CEO Ben Berthelot.
“LAGCOE had a great history here in Lafayette Parish and, our community had a great history of supporting LAGCOE, and our organization had a great history of supporting LAGCOE through their tough times and their good times, so certainly we’re going to miss that,” Berthelot said.
Berthelot explains that he’s not surprised by the move.
“So if you look at very successful convention towns all across America, what they have is a full-service hotel tied into their convention center, and the convention center needs to be larger. That’s no secret. It’s been a priority for many, many years in our community, but I think this is a good time to get this conversation back on the forefront,” Berthelot said.
Cajundome Director Greg Davis was also shocked by the news.
“We received a phone call this morning that they were leaving to go to New Orleans, and we were told that it was a decision that was hard, but necessary for the best interest of LAGCOE,” Davis said.
His venue has hosted LAGCOE since 1995. Davis says slumping oil prices and Lafayette’s recent recession as possible reasons for the move.
“It has been down for the past two-plus years, so yes, it is having an effect, but we believe, as we have in the past, that long-term we’re going to work our way out of this. The oil economy will come back and we will have the business that we’re accustomed to here at the Cajundome,” Davis explained.
Davis is confident the venue has enough time to fill the now open dates and make up for the lost revenue.
“You know here we are in August and LAGCOE is not to occur until the fall of next year. So, we have lots of lead time to get busy filling those dates and we are confident we’re going to find another event activity. It won’t be one event. One event can’t replace LAGCOE, that is definite. It’s going to take multiple events to have that kind of an impact,” he said.
The goal for both LCVC and the Cajundome is to bring LAGCOE back home by 2021.