Master of Real Estate Development/Adaptive Reuse
Photographed by Greg Miles
Tell us about your background. I’m a proud native of New Orleans (love my city) and the third of seven children. I attended St. Rita, Jesuit and LSU. My career began in the hotel business in 1973, then added tour packaging and marketing components, then visitor center and sightseeing – I’m still having fun and learning every day. I have served on scores of committees, boards and commissions related to the hospitality industry and the French Quarter.
Who are the principals of your business? The Valentino family are the principals, mother Mary Ann, six siblings, and now many of the next-generation of Valentinos. We are truly a local family business.
How does New Orleans affect your profession? What are the benefits and challenges? Celebrating, selling and sharing New Orleans is my profession – accommodating visitors in hotels, planning travel itineraries and having the opportunity to describe our fascinating precious place to visitors every day in our hotels, at Basin St. Station and on our double-decker sightseeing tours. The primary benefit is the joy of having such an interesting, lovely and exciting place to describe and share. The challenges usually revolve around managing growth in such a fragile environment.
Tell us about your current projects. Most exciting current project is our new website, NewOrleans.me, soon to be announced and launched. This may be the most ambitious and rewarding thing we have ever done, since it will reach audiences everywhere – what a privilege to offer New Orleans to the world!
What else would you be doing if you weren’t doing this? I can’t imagine having done something else, but it would likely have been related to the travel industry. I am very grateful for my career path in a family business that hosts visitors who love to devour our culture.