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Written by Elisabeth Vanderveldt, SBSC PAL for Eastern Canada

In 1995 and 1998 I attended conferences (CA World and Microsoft Fusion/Tech Ed) in New Orleans. I had ample time to sample the sights and sounds of good old Bourbon Street, a few restaurants near the Riverwalk, and some of the surrounding area. I vowed never to drink another Hurricane… ever. You would be wise to heed that warning.

Since Hurricane Katrina there have been some questions as to how well New Orleans has recovered, and why Microsoft would even venture to hold a 12,000 person conference (partners the world over, Microsoft, and vendors) in a place that had suffered such devastation. Microsoft had many good reasons and admirably foremost was the chance to help further revive N.O. as the convention city it has always been – to leave behind a small footprint in the way of a community project or two or three to let the people know that they are not only visited for commercial purposes but humanitarian ones as well. And for those of you like me who have seen the “before” of N.O., the after is a very pleasant surprise.

I was part of the IAMCP international board that was invited by the City of New Orleans tourist board and Microsoft to hold a meeting in the city. The next 5 days (besides many meetings/roundtable discussions around the whole WPC experience, and sampling both the more upscale and the further away but local establishments) I saw a “New” Orleans that left our team very impressed and eager to book our return flights for July.

Since Mardi Gras had actually begun, there were several parades that passed through the main and side streets. After each one the coordinated and immediate clean up was unbelievably precise and thorough. It was like that everywhere we went. The sidewalks and streets were actually washed with cleaning products and everywhere the air was clean and fresh. I don’t remember that on my last two visits. The city has gone to extraordinary lengths, even so much as to make changes to the Ernest Morial Center to make sure partners have comfortable seating in between sessions and maintaining comfortable temperatures. July will be hot but no one wants to be an icicle when exiting a 90 minute session on HyperV.

Food. Wow. From the convention center caterers, to the local and fancier establishments, I don’t recall any place (except Mulates) that stayed in my mind. Now I have several. Arnuad’s, Bourbon St. (the restaurant), Latrobe and Angelil Pizza – the food was a hit and there was a good variety.

But I’m not the only one who wants to share their experience and the value of WPC. You can go to our partner Facebook site and:

  • Become a Fan like partners globally are doing
  • See photos from our visit this Feb 12-15
  • Read the Wall messages from partners in Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, etc.
  • Stay tuned for a list of events for Canada and other popular annual happenings like the IAMCP golf tournament
  • Plan your own group outing and post it for everyone to see

BTW, here’s one other person’s thoughts on WPC:

Elisabeth Vanderveldt

Next: Why Go? Partnering Heaven!

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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.