New N’awlins hotel has black investors

The debut of New Orleans’ International House wasn’t just another hotel opening. It’s the city’s first boutique hotel and the first major Crescent City hotel to have African American investors, according to the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network. Its staff is also roughly 70% African American. Local businessman Keith Pittman, owner of the restaurant supply company the Pittman Group, and Los Angeles-based actor Hill Harper, invested approximately 10%, according to developer Sean Cummings, in the $11.5 million SAGE Hospitalities Resources project.

The 119-room hotel incorporates New Orleans crafts and culture, and much of the furniture is by local artisans. Each room is decorated with Louisiana wildflowers, a ceiling fan, black and white photos of jazz legends and 19th century furnishings, including a replica of an armoire designed by black furniture maker Pierre Charles Dutreiul Barjon. Business travelers will appreciate the two-line speaker phones with voice mail, dedicated dataport for Internet and e-mail access, and stereo with CD player and complimentary jazz CDs. Standard rooms are $189 to $289 per night, while suites range from $359-$439.

International House (800-633-5770 or www.ihhotel.com), is in the historic central business district at 221 Camp Street, two blocks from the French Quarter.

FLYING THE ELECTRONIC WAY?
Electronic ticketing (also called e-ticketing) is the latest travel innovation. According to Travel Management Daily, an industry trade publication, nearly 41% of airline tickets are e-tickets. But the process, which eliminates the need for travelers to have an actual ticket in hand, has one major drawback, notes Anne Leonard, writer for InsideFlyer, a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based newsletter for frequent fliers. If your flight’s been canceled and you want to get booked on to another airline, your electronic ticket will be an obstacle.

Currently, the airlines cannot read each other’s e-tickets. “The airline you were originally booked on will have to issue you a paper ticket, and by the time this process is completed, you’ll probably miss the flight you want to get on,” she says. Although all of the major carriers issue e-tickets for domestic flights, most airlines don’t offer this service for international flights. Also, if you make any changes to your original seating arrangement or you’re bumped, be sure to get a voucher specifying the new terms.

There are pluses to cyber-ticketing. Since e-tickets are generally dispensed via the Internet, all major carriers issue bonus miles for flights booked online. And on the day of travel, if you’re not checking luggage, you can head straight for the boarding gate. But don’t forget to bring a photo ID and always have a printout of your flight itinerary with you.

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