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CEO DATELINE – Associations cancel New Orleans events as region reels from hurricane

Sept. 8, 2021
By Walt Williams

At least three upcoming association events in New Orleans have been canceled as a result of the devastation left by Hurricane Ida, which struck Louisiana and surrounding states Aug. 29.

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The storm caused significant flooding and left parts of the city and greater region without electricity. New Orleans is a popular destination for association events, with at least nine events scheduled to held in the city during the final months of 2021.

Three of those events are not moving forward. Among them is Solar Power International, which is co-produced by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Smart Electric Power Alliance. The organizers recently announced that the trade show—originally scheduled for Sept. 28-29—was nixed after the city took severe damage that “will take weeks—if not longer—to restore.” 

SEIA and SEPA instead asked people to join them in supporting local organizations helping the region recover the hurricane.

“As a clean energy community, we are devastated to no longer be able to travel to New Orleans, convene the industry, and bring much-needed investment in the local economy,” the groups said in a statement. “But we want to honor our commitment to the city and the people who call it home.”

The International Association of Chiefs of Police canceled the in-person portion of their annual conference, scheduled for Sept. 11-13. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice nixed its annual conference, which was to be held Oct. 3-5, but added it hopes to return to the city in the near future for another event.

Other association events in New Orleans were still moving ahead as planned as of Wednesday. In a statement, the American Academy of Ophthalmology said the damage by the hurricane is not expected to affect its November conference, although the group is monitoring the situation. The Produce Market Association and American Geophysical Union also have events scheduled in the city.

The cancellations come after the nixing of a handful of association events in other cities because of concerns about a new COVID-19 surge. New Orleans was one of the few cities that required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to participate in indoor gatherings, including at restaurants and event venues.