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New Orleans' Jumonville to retire, a successor is appointed

Don Allee - to succeed Jumonville in January
Port industry veteran Don Allee will assume control of the Port of New Orleans' Cruise and Tourism Division in January, following the retirement of current director J. Robert Jumonville.

Jumonville, who retire after 25 years at the port, oversaw the planning and construction of all three Julia Street Cruise Terminals, including the consolidation of the two terminals into one modern facility completed in 2011. He was also instrumental in the design and construction of the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage Complex.

Jumonville has been integral in the planning of New Orleans' third cruise ship terminal. A ground-breaking is scheduled in the first quarter of 2015 at Poland Avenue.

Under his watch, the port has invested more than $75m in cruise facilities and posted a 1,200% rise in passenger throughput, having processed about 1m passengers in 2013. Revenue produced by his division has ballooned more than 500% during his tenure.

'It’s been a pleasure and a passion to work with the great staff at the Port of New Orleans and with each of the port’s cruise partners,' Jumonville said. He noted New Orleans has long-term relationships with Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.

Allee joins with nearly 30 years of port industry experience, recently serving as executive director and ceo of the Mississippi State Port Authority from 2002 to 2012 and later as a consultant for PLG Consulting, providing services to port and terminal operators. In addition to his tenure in Mississippi, Allee served as the executive director of the Port of Beaumont (Texas) from 2000 to 2002 and worked in marketing and trade development for the Port of Freeport (Texas) and the Port of Houston Authority.

'Don brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the Port of New Orleans,' said Gary LaGrange, port president and ceo. 'Our cruise industry has experienced meteoric growth under Robert Jumonville’s leadership and I have full confidence Don will build upon that success.'

Allee said he looks forward to playing a role in the port and city’s cruise and tourism industry. He noted the cruise business has grown dramatically in New Orleans in a short period of time and now contributes $400m annually to the local economy.

Port cruise terminals handled 987,860 embarkations and disembarkations in 2013, which resulted in $399m in cruise industry spending in Louisiana, supporting 7,548 jobs and $294m in personal income, according to an economic impact study commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association.

More than 80% of those passengers are from outside Louisiana and spend an average of two nights in New Orleans hotels before or after their cruise. Passengers and crew spend about $78m per year in New Orleans with lodging ($27.5m) and food and beverage ($8.3m) encompassing about half of the overall spending. CLIA ranks New Orleans as the sixth largest cruise port in the US, up from ninth in 2011.

Carnival Dream sails year-round seven-day cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean and Carnival Elation sails year-round four- and five-day itineraries to Mexico. In November, Norwegian Cruise Line will begin operating Norwegian Dawn on seven-day western Caribbean itineraries through April, and Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas will operate seasonally.

In addition, New Orleans fields coastal and river cruises. American Cruise Lines sails its sternwheeler Queen of the Mississippi and American Queen Steamboat Co. operates the steamboat American Queen. Blount Small Ship Adventures offers inland itineraries aboard Grand Caribe.

In 2002, LaGrange created the Division of Cruise and Tourism to include oversight of the port’s tourism tenants, which include the Hilton Riverside Towers, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Woldenburg Park, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk and the Creole Queen and Natchez excursion boats.