New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the United States, and tourism is a major staple in the area's economy. Approximately 14 million people visit New Orleans each year. The city's colorful Carnival celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras during the pre-Lenten season draw particularly large crowds. Other major tourist events and attractions in the city include the Sugar Bowl, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (popularly known by locals as "Jazz Fest"), Voodoo Music Experience, Southern Decadence, and the Essence Festival, not to mention sporting events including Super Bowls and NCAA final fours.
New Orleans is also an industrial and distribution center, and the busiest port system in the world by gross tonnage. The Port of New Orleans is the largest U.S. port for several major commodities including rubber, cement and coffee. The Port of South Louisiana, also based in the New Orleans area, is the world's busiest in terms of bulk tonnage; and when combined with the Port of N.O., forms the 4th largest port system in volume handled.
Like Houston, Texas, New Orleans is located in proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the many oil rigs lying just offshore. Louisiana ranks 5th in oil production and 8th in reserves. Louisiana is also home to two of the four Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) storage facilities: West Hackberry in Cameron Parish and Bayou Choctaw in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Other infrastructure includes 17 petroleum refineries with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly 2.8 million barrels per calendar day, the second highest in the nation after Texas. Louisiana has numerous ports including the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is capable of receiving ultra large oil tankers. Natural gas and electricity dominate the home heating market with similar market shares totaling about 47 percent each. With all of the product to distribute, Louisiana is home to many major pipelines supplying the nation: Crude Oil - Chevron, BP, Texaco, Shell, Exxon, Scurloch-Permian, Mid-Valley, Calumet, Conoco, Koch, Unocal, Dept. of Energy, Locap. Product - TEPPCO, Colonial, Chevron, Shell, Plantation, Explorer, Texaco, Collins, BP. Liquefied Petroleum Gas - Dixie, TEPPCO, Black Lake, Koch, Chevron, Dynegy, Kinder, Dow, Bridgeline, FMP, Tejas, Texaco, UTP.  There are a substantial number of energy companies that have their regional headquarters in the city, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell Oil Company. The city is the home and worldwide headquarters of a single Fortune 500 company: Entergy Corporation, an energy and infrastructure providing company. Freeport-McMoRan, the city's other fortune 500 company recently merged its copper and gold exploration unit with an Arizona company and relocated that division to Phoenix, Arizona.
The federal government has a significant presence in the area. The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility is located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish. The facility is operated by Lockheed-Martin and is a large manufacturing facility where external fuel tanks for space shuttles are produced. The Michoud Assembly Facility also houses the National Finance Center operated by the USDA.
In recent years, in an effort to diversify her economy, New Orleans has become known as "Hollywood South". Many large budget and critically acclaimed feature films have been made in and around New Orleans over the last few years, such as Ray, Runaway Jury, The Pelican Brief, The Skeleton Key, Glory Road, All the King's Men, DÃ©jÃ Vu, Last Holiday, Waiting..., Failure to Launch, Stay Alive, and countless other full-length films and documentaries.
Other companies with a significant presence or base in New Orleans include the worldwide headquarters of Entergy Corporation and its subsidiaries, AT&T, IBM, Navtech, Harrah's (downtown casino), Popeye's Fried Chicken, Zatarain's, Whitney Bank (corp. HQ), Capital One (banking HQ), Southern Comfort, Tidewater (Corp. HQ), McMoran Exploration(worldwide corporate HQ) and Energy Partners (corp.HQ).
Most major corporations that had offices or headquarters in New Orleans have returned post-Katrina. Also, over 95% of businesses whose annual income is over $20,000,000 have come back.