By Pauline, Janice; Pionke, John
Nation's Cities Weekly , Vol. 30, No. 37
This week the NLC Conference Planning team made a site visit to New Orleans and reported back that the city is ready to host the 84th Annual Congress of Cities and Exposition, November 13-17.
Concurring with many previous groups that have gone to New Orleans for business meetings and conferences this year, staff report "the city is ready to host and NLC delegates will experience the service, security and southern hospitality that New Orleans is famous for."
NLC Staff Visit to New Orleans
The NLC conference planning staff participated in a three-day site visit to New Orleans to coordinate with local leaders and city officials for the Congress of Cities. Staff made site visits to the refurbished convention center and found it to be fully functional and ready to support the conference.
Additionally, staff reported that many of the conference hotels have also been renovated and are in better shape then they were before Hurricane Katrina.
The Convention District, French Quarter, Arts District and Warehouse District are all thriving, and restaurants and businesses are open and very busy, despite the fact that this is the "slow time" of year for tourists. Restaurants and bars are open and the streets are full of conversation and laughter. The nightlife is vibrant and people are enjoying the jazz, the music for which New Orleans is famous.
Throughout the visit, staff had the opportunity to see New Orleans as the "Tale of Two Cities," a term often used now to describe pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans. People are friendly and are very willing to share their personal story of devastation, perseverance and hope. It is moving and inspirational to see the spirit of the people of New Orleans and the surrounding parishes of Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard's, and to share their optimism about the future.
Delegates will not notice much of a difference in the Convention District and the French Quarter as these areas are much as they were prior to the storm. The food is as it was pre-Katrina and the Southern hospitality and service is unparalleled. Away from the French Quarter is the other side of New Orleans, with mile upon mile of abandoned homes, businesses and schools in the areas hit hardest by the hurricane.
Endorsements Pour in From Other Satisfied Conference Attendees
Sue Sears Hamilton of the American College of Cardiology had enthusiastic praise for the city of New Orleans after their summit in March.
"New Orleans has always been a favorite venue for the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Summit and we were proud to recommit and bring our annual i2 Summit and Exposition back to the city in March 2007," said Hamilton. "The collaboration with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Modal Convention Center, key major airlines, city hotels and New Orleans authorities was second to none. …