Some stories stink

And the one I'm working on now is one of them—contacting meeting organizers to find out what they're doing with their close-in events in the Gulf Coast. With so much death and destruction, with floodwaters still rising in New Orleans, it almost seems obscene to talk about cancellation insurance, force majeure clauses, and all that. But, since our magazine goes out next week, I'm doing it.

What I'm hearing so far is a big wait and see, though I heard through the grapevine that the Hilton Riverwalk is working to move all its September meetings to other places and/or dates. Most planners can't even contact their headquarters hotel, while others say their local contacts are fine, but they've been evacuated as far away as Texas and Indiana and don't know much more than the rest of us are getting from the usual news sources.

Contrary to a report in USA Today, which said "the American Society of Anesthesiologists expects to go ahead with its convention scheduled Oct. 22 to 26," an ASA spokeswoman said that no decision had been made as of yet about its 16,000-attendee meeting because the situation was still "tenuous and unsettled" at its New Orleans locale.

The Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, organized by the American Society for Microbiology and expected to draw 12,000 attendees to the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, is one of the few close-in meetings that plans to make the call now about whether or not they're going to cancel their Sept. 21-24 meeting. The PR guy said he'd call to let me know this afternoon, but the smart money has to be on a cancellation or move. I'll let you know when I hear.

My sister, who had been really looking forward to attending the Association of Pet Dog Trainers 12th Annual Educational Conference and Expo in New Orleans (she runs a most excellent doggy daycare, the The DogPlayce), is making new plans on the assumption that the program is cancelled—which it probably will be, but there's nothing on their site that mentions anything at this point.

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