It was my first time in New Orleans and while I normally would have stayed at the Marriott or W across the street, my conference was at this hotel. It was also my first time at a Loews hotel.
I would say I was impressed with the hotel for the most part. Would I stay here again? If not because of my loyalty programs absolutely yes. But because of those programs, I would probably go for the W across the way. Nothing about the hotel overly impressed me although it is very nice. The staff was extremely friendly. The room was pretty standard but nicely decorated and updated. Room was quiet and kept very clean.
From a conference perspective, I felt the design of the area chosen and the primary room (Louisiana) we used was awkward and poorly laid out for our group of ~200.
Now the reason I suggest this is great for first timers is its location. Now granted you can get this location from other hotels too. But it is perfect for access to the French Quarters, Warehouse District and Garden Districts. Ton of places to eat nearby. And within the hotel, Cafe Adelaide is phenomenal. The cafe also provides the room service, but as others noted you can expect delays when ordering due to its popularity. Now if you are wondering why it's so popular, it is because it is part of the Commander's Palace family which is legendary in NOLA. Well worth it. Some of the best grumble I had.