Whether you are new to Main Street, a seasoned veteran, program director, board member, business owner, or volunteer; from a small town, an urban district, or someplace in between, you'll find resources, ideas and valuable networking  in New Orleans.

Join us in New Orleans for a firsthand look at a city that uses the creative economy on a daily basis to build, re-build and sustain it's local economy and to enhance the lives of locals and visitors alike.

Conference Location

The 2013 National Main Streets Conference will take place at the Sheraton New Orleans, 500 Canal Street. Make your reservation now. Trying to figure out a travel schedule? Check out the schedule at a glance.

Conference Schedule

The 2013 National Main Streets Conference offers a new schedule of events with 3 full days of learning and networking opportunities, post conference tours, and longer breaks for lunch each day to give plenty of opportunity to explore New Orleans and their fabulous dining experiences. Take a quick look with the schedule at a glance, or get more detail on the Program and Schedule pages. And take a trip to: www.neworleanscvb.com/nthp for suggestions on everything to see and do while you are in New Orleans.

Main Street and the Cultural Economy

The collision of heritage tourism, the arts, and entrepreneurism on Main Street can spark a “Big Bang” that produces a thriving cultural economy. We can build this economy on the foods, music, people, stories, and traditions that make a place special. The fusion of innovative minds, dedicated hearts, and creative souls creates an atmosphere where authenticity is king and distinct assets can be found in our backyards. This creative economy engages entrepreneurs, culinary artists, performing and visual artists, crafters and artisans, nonprofit organizations, museums and historic sites, filmmakers, and technology startups to create new jobs, stimulate the economy, kindle innovation and new partnerships, attract talent and tourists, and contribute to livability.

Read about the success of the cultural economy in: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Conference Highlights

 Main Street: The Next Chapter

Three decades after Main Street’s beginnings as a pilot program in three Midwest towns, more than 2,000 communities across the nation have adopted its tools of preservation-based economic development, using them to breathe life into their historic downtowns and neighborhoods. And while Main Street has achieved mainstream success, we have heard from you that it needs to evolve in order to remain a leading model for community revitalization in the 21st century. Main Street is all about resilience: managing change and facing new challenges with innovation. Join us in New Orleans to continue the conversation on reaching new levels of effectiveness and expanding the Main Street movement. During the conference, you will have the opportunity to hear about plans taking shape, as well as to share your thoughts on how to make smart, effective changes to strengthen our work and message.

 Opening Reception

Saturday, April 13, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

The entire year of 2013 will be celebrated as the “Year of Music” in Louisiana, and you’ll have a chance to sample a variety of the state’s musical offerings at this year’s opening reception. Louisiana likes to “Meet the Neighbors on Main Street”—this is a great opportunity to connect with old friends from across the country and make new ones. Oh yeah, the state is also pretty famous for its food… you won’t want to miss sampling delicious dishes that are uniquely Louisianan.

 St. Claude Second Saturday Night

Saturday, April 13, 9:00-11:00 p.m.

Once on the fringe of downtown New Orleans, the historic St. Claude Avenue corridor, one of the original Main Street programs in New Orleans, is quickly becoming one of the city’s leading incubators for art, culture, and community revitalization. With the opening of new restaurants, art galleries, performance halls, and alternative cultural projects, this bohemian community truly comes alive at night. Join us for a visit to the St. Claude Night Market and a tour of the Second Saturday gallery openings and other cultural events along St. Claude Avenue. You’ll have the opportunity to branch off on your own if you choose to visit a local show at one of the corridor's music venues or small theaters. Learn more about St. Claude Main Street, you can also like them on Facebook and follow them @StClaudeMainStr

 More Learning Opportunities

New Orleans will also offer more variety in learning opportunities, with traditional 75-minute classroom sessions, crash courses (expanded this year to add more time for Q&A), in-depth workshops, and networking round table opportunities. See details here.

Post-conference Tours

With this new schedule, you don’t have to sacrifice a full day of classroom sessions and networking opportunities to see local Main Street programs in action. Extend your stay through Wednesday and take the opportunity for a full day of educational tours to Louisiana and Mississippi Main Streets. Not to worry, you’ll still have opportunities for shorter tours in and around New Orleans during the conference. Check here for details on all of our conference tours.

 Katrina Recovery

In June 2006, the National Main Streets Conference convened in New Orleans, making us one of the first groups to hold a meeting there after Hurricane Katrina. We know that many people attending this conference—those who were here with us back in 2006 and those who could not make it—will be interested in learning about the incredible progress that has been made in the continuing recovery efforts. To this end, we will have a room at the Sheraton New Orleans where we will tell the story of post-Katrina work in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. There will be displays and opportunities to talk with people living and working in the areas most affected by Katrina.

 Main Street Approach Overview

Grow your exposure to Main Street by encouraging attendees who are new to Main Street to attend this daylong, free overview of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. Senior Program Officers from the National Main Street Center will provide an overview of each of the four points. New directors, board members, volunteers, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about Main Street are invited to participate in this free overview of the Main Street Approach on Sunday, April 14.