Via PoliBlog: the Southern Political Science Association thinks it will hold its annual convention in three months in New Orleans. Steven Taylor is unconvinced:
I certainly would not want the association to make a move that would take money out of the city, if, in fact, the meetings can take palce in January. However, I really don’t see that happening. The hotel, given its location and pictures I have seen is probably largely fine. However, what about the electrical grid, the phones, the water system, the roads, the police, the general support struture for tourists (restaurants, other hotels, etc.)? I just don’t see the city being able to host any events by the first week or so of January.
Considering that all that’s likely to be close to functional in New Orleans in three months (and, more than likely, for the forseeable future; the SPSA can only be delayed so long before it becomes moot) are the higher parts of the Jefferson Parish suburbs and some of the downtown area—bear in mind the Hotel Intercontinental, while on high ground, is only a few blocks from areas that are still flooded around the Superdome—I am forced to echo Steven’s skepticism.
A conference the size of SPSA should have no trouble finding suitable convention space elsewhere in the southeast, but these decisions need to be made sooner rather than later.
Following up on yesterday’s post, David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy reports:
The head of the New Orleans convention bureau told NPR today that he is canceling all conventions scheduled to be held in New Orleans through March 2006.
The CVB site claims that this cancellation only applies to large conventions or those using the convention center space, but realistically if the Crescent City won’t be in good enough condition to host a large convention in April it probably won’t in good enough condition for any convention in January.
The meat of the latest update from the Southern Political Science Association website:
Intercontinental North America has excused us from the 2006 commitment without penalty. They have also asked their other properties in the South to try to step up and host our 2006 meeting under the same contract terms that we would have enjoyed in New Orleans. Detailed discussions are underway today (Friday, September 9th) with three beautiful Intercontinental properties. On Monday, we expect to announce the signing of a contract with the new host of our January 2006 conference. You can help in this process by honoring your commitments as we honor those that the association has made. Those of you who have attended The Southern since Savannah 2002 know that attendees will have a fabulous time and an excellent conference. You risk nothing by standing by the association while we stand by our corporate colleagues.
The candidate properties would appear to be three of the following four: Buckhead (Atlanta), Dallas, Houston, and Miami.
Given the givens (geography, air and road access, and the location of the association offices), Atlanta seems to be the most likely prospect, and perhaps the allure of Buckhead to potential attendees will be higher than that of the relatively uninteresting neighborhood surrounding the Sheraton that has been the site for several past SPSA meetings. With reports of attendees already bailing, SPSA had better have the situation resolved soon.
Your SPSA non-update update of the day. Quoth the SPSA website, as of this posting:
On Monday, we expect to announce the signing of a contract with the new host of our January 2006 conference.
Perhaps SPSA is using a different value of “Monday” than the rest of us. I thought it was over nearly 17 hours ago, myself…
For those following the SPSA saga who are not on the association’s mailing list: an update has been posted, indicating that the conference will meet in January in Atlanta at the Hotel Intercontinental in Buckhead.