Considered one of the centerpieces of the 1985 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans, the city’s new convention center attracted ever larger crowds after it nearly doubled in size in 1990 during a phase II expansion that featured a one-coat, rust-inhibitive primer/finish from Tnemec. “They needed a coating to protect the steel from the coastal conditions,” recalled coating consultant Bill Lomasney. “All of the interior overhead steel trusses were coated with Series 15 Uni-Bond, which offered good protection because the steel was exposed to the elements for a long period of time while the building was being erected.”
The expansion increased the convention center to 1.7 million square feet, which included nearly 700,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition area on one level, 118,000 square feet of lobby area, two major ballrooms and more than 80 meeting rooms capable of seating groups ranging in size from 50 to 4,000 people.
Surface preparation of the structural steel was in accordance with SSPC-SP1 Solvent Cleaning, which involved removing all visible oil, grease and other contaminants, and SSPC-SP2 Hand Tool Cleaning to remove all loose mill scale, loose rust and other detrimental foreign matter.
Series 15, an alkyd coating, was spray-applied at 2.0 to 4.0 mils dry film thickness (DFT) to provide flash-rust and corrosion resistance to structural steel trusses in the ceiling. The coating was applied to the steel in the convention center’s interior, which more than doubled in size to 1.7 million square feet with nearly 700,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space on one level, two major ballrooms, 83 second- and third-level meeting rooms that seat 50 to 4,000 visitors. “The project required more than 3,000 gallons of coating to complete,” Lomasney added. “The same coating has also been used on overhead steel at convention centers in Boston and Denver.”
In 1992, the convention center was renamed for Ernest N. Morial, the New Orleans mayor who supported its construction. Today, the convention center is about 3 million square feet, and boasts 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space on one level. It has 12 separate exhibit halls, 140 meeting rooms, and 12 separate exhibit halls. The convention center, which is the sixth largest of its kind in the U.S. and is operated by New Orleans Public Facility Management, Inc., a not-for-profit organization operating under the auspices of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana.