New Orleans has returned its tourism PR account to local hands, after turning to Weber Shandwick for the years following Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau tapped Deveney Communications, a Big Easy member of the Worldcom PR network, as AOR for 2013, following a review.

John Deveney, president of the firm, said his firm pitched with Worldcom partner M. Silver Associates. [Silver was acquired last week by Finn Partners.]

Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the CVB, thanked WS for its years of service. “We are so grateful to Weber Shandwick for their outstanding efforts to restore the image and reputation of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “They were a model agency and the quality and devotion they brought to their work for New Orleans will never be forgotten.”

The CVB said “many multinational finalists” were considered but a judging panel’s final decision on Deveney was unanimous.

Perry said Deveney had the key characteristics the CVB sought: experience, a proven track record, innovation, excitement and a “fresh perspective to moving New Orleans to the forefront of the international tourism market.”

Tourism is New Orleans’ top industry, employing 78K people with an impact of $5B annually.

Deveney has worked with the CVB in the past and also handles PR support for the state Dept. of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.