Nearly a thousand meetings were held in New Orleans last year — and those are just the ones tracked by the city's convention bureau. (An estimated 44 percent of the city's 9.5 million room nights annually are derived from group business, according to a research report issued shortly after Katrina by Wachovia Securities.) So when the Metropolitan New Orleans CVB was forced to cancel all conventions using the convention center or three or more hotels through March 31, 2006, an

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