The recovery of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast was a topic of discussion throughout Meeting Professionals International's Professional Education Conference in January. An opening day session featuring Kitty Ratcliffe, executive vice president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as Wayne Chappell, vice president of convention sales for the Greater Houston CVB, gave attendees an update on conditions in the area, as well as lessons learned about disaster planning.

As a sign of the continuing support the industry is giving New Orleans, Maritz Inc. announced during the conference that it had moved its May global sales conference from the company's headquarters in St. Louis to New Orleans. And during a luncheon hosted by the New Orleans CVB and featuring a rousing performance by a New Orleans jazz band, CVB President and CEO Stephen Perry thanked MPI for its renewed commitment to bring the 2007 PEC-NA to his city.