A Place to Inspire
Bourbon Street. It’s one of the world’s most infamous party streets in America. Hotels serve an expansive range of guests and experience thousands of unique interactions with people day and night.
And, when in The Big Easy, expect the unexpected. Enter Celia Cennett, Legener Cormier and Catina Homes, a combination of strength and self-described femininity. This all-female security team safeguards the Royal Sonesta New Orleans guests and property.
Celia became the first woman on the security staff more than 15 years ago– during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“I had never worked on Bourbon Street, but it was interesting because, at that time, we had CNN, FEMA and state troopers,” Celia said. “As years progressed, things changed and we started getting more women.”
With this progress, Sonesta hires employees from across the globe. As a result, Celia has learned new languages and experienced different cultures throughout her employment.
“I can remember we’ve had Russians, Jamaicans, Haitians– just people from all different walks of life,” Celia said. “I’m through the back of the house where the employee entrance is, so I get to see everybody and talk to everyone who comes through.”
“Diversity is very important when it comes to a workforce…Women are appreciated, and women are empowered.”
Born and raised in this beacon of cultural diversity, Legener joined the Sonesta family over five years ago. Calling New Orleans “always home,” she is proud to show it off to guests from all over.
“I love working in the [hotel] industry,” Legener said. “I really enjoy coming here every day.”
As a new Sonesta family member, Catina said she felt a part of the team the minute she started her first shift. She has devoted her life’s work to security for more than 27 years and said she is proud to continue protecting her city throughout her tenure at the hotel.
“You never think of it as a man’s job,” Catina said. “You just step in and get the job done.”
With the hustle of New Orleans in the hotel’s backyard, senior human resources manager Charlotte Grant emphasizes how the female security guards masterfully navigate difficult situations.
“To have a woman in uniform represent our hotel is very remarkable,” Grant said. “Being able to add that female element and approach– it makes a difference.”
With more employees like Celia, Legener and Catina making waves, the hotel industry is leaving archaic stereotypes behind. They pave the path forward for future generations to enter careers full of professional development and opportunities.
“Diversity is very important when it comes to a workforce,” Grant said. “Women are appreciated, and women are empowered.”