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Plans for SBC annual meeting not derailed by rainstorms

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, scheduled to convene Tuesday, June 12, is proceeding as planned despite southeast Louisiana’s weather-related problems at the end of the first week of June.

“Yes, there’s been a lot of rain, but we’re proceeding with the SBC as planned,” said SBC convention manager Jack Wilkerson June 8 as exhibitors were busy setting up displays on the floor of New Orleans’ Superdome, site of the two-day SBC meeting.

In downtown New Orleans, the area around the Superdome and hotels in the vicinity is free from flooding problems that have troubled some suburban areas south and north of New Orleans. Bands of heavy rains left over from tropical storm Allison, which formed over the Gulf of Mexico June 5 and struck the Galveston, Texas, area, dropped up to 16 inches of rain on some parts of southern Louisiana, saturating the ground.

Wilkerson encouraged SBC messengers to use the shuttle service available from downtown hotels to the Superdome. Provided by Hotard Destination, the daily hotel shuttle service will be available only to and from downtown hotels. Hotels in Metairie will not be shuttled, such as the Best Western Landmark, LaQuinta Inn-Airport and Shoney’s Inn.

Shuttle passes for Sunday through Wednesday are available for $10 and can be purchased at the SBC information booth inside the Superdome. Since parking charges at both the Superdome and hotels are expensive, messengers are encouraged to use shuttles as often as possible.

While the weather has added a variable to the situation, Wilkerson said, “By the time people really get here for the convention next week, it should be all over with and calmed down.”

For those driving to the SBC, “Coming into town, the routes are in good shape,” Wilkerson said, and “of course, people will want to call to verify their flight status if they are flying into New Orleans.”

While the heavy rain from Allison has caused some problems, overall many people, especially those in agriculture, have seen the rain as a blessing as it has replaced soil moisture lost during the past three years of record drought.

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  • Debbie Moore