“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
—Vincent J. Lombardi
“I think we ought to come here at least once every year!” So stated at least one happy attendee at the Section’s Fall Meeting in Tucson this past September 22–25, 2011. The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort was not only beautiful and relaxing, but it also provided efficient meeting accommodations, pleasant surroundings, and wonderful food. I think I can speak for everyone who attended: the meeting was a success.
Although space does not allow me to discuss each event in great detail (how much fun was the up-close-and-personal visit with the animals at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!?), I wanted to give a big Thank You to everyone who made our substantive programs a huge success: Michael Donaldson, for a very interesting session on ethical considerations for municipal attorneys, paying particular attention to a recent Supreme Court decision out of Nevada; Ken Bond and his partner, Harriet Welch, for an informative program on fiscal issues facing state and local governments in these challenging economic times; Scott Steady and his panel of local lawyers discussing provocative Arizona water issues; Donna Frazier (substituting for Ron Kramer) and the panel of knowledgeable attorneys (local to Arizona and from Alabama) discussing illegal immigration, and emphasizing a view from the trenches by municipal and local lawyers handling those issues; and Ben Griffith and his superb panel of experts on state and local election law issues. All of these programs were very excellent.
The Section hosted several Tucson lawyers who attended our meetings and receptions, and we particularly enjoyed meeting several law students from the University of Arizona Law School. During our networking reception, Mr. Denny Minano from the Sonoran Institute provided interesting comments on the institute’s work in Arizona and other western states. On Friday, our Keynote Speaker was Phoenix attorney Grady Gammage, Jr., who regaled us with a most interesting (and entertaining!) account of his suggested five observations about “What’s the deal with Arizona?” And without guidance from our ABA staff, Tamara Askew and Marsha Boone, we would have been lost in the desert. Thank you, everyone, for our successful meeting in Tucson.
Next, it is time to head on down to the bayou. The ABA’s Midyear Meeting will be in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 1–7, 2012. Known by such nicknames as “The Crescent City,” “The Big Easy,” “The City That Care Forgot,” and “NOLA,” the city was originally named “La Nouvelle-Orléans” after Philippe d’Orléans, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France. New Orleans was founded on May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land that was once inhabited by the Chitimacha Indians. The city has been under French, Spanish, and American control at various times, and its architecture reflects these influences. As a major port, the city played a significant role in much of American history, beginning with the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and in more modern times as a key economic center. Tourism has become a major industry, and New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz), and annual celebrations and festivals (most notably, Mardi Gras).
New Orleans is now also famous for suffering what has been called “the worst engineering disaster in the world since Chernobyl” when the levee system failed catastrophically during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Eighty percent of the city flooded as a result of the hurricane’s wind, water, and rain. Most residents had evacuated the city by the time the storm arrived, but others had to be rescued or had to make their way to shelters of last resort at the Louisiana Superdome or the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. The effect of Katrina is still being felt; some attribute the reduction (by one) in Louisiana’s number of congressional representatives (this year, from the 2010 Census) to the loss of population caused by Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), and Gustav (2008).
The Section’s anticipated programs will feature at least one topic related to the effects of Katrina on the New Orleans public education system. We also plan to show Crime After Crime, a movie featuring the pro bono efforts of our own member, Nadia Costa, and we have other programs in the planning stages, including involvement with the Loyola Law School, the Tulane Law School, and local attorneys. Stay tuned for more information as those plans become finalized. Our Section’s accommodations in New Orleans will be the Royal Sonesta Hotel, located in the heart of the French Quarter. Check out www.sonesta.com/RoyalNewOrleans.
Et laissez les bons temps rouler! (“And let the good times roll!”)
In your service,