New Orleans a jewel in Realtors’ eyes

Despite destruction, hope for full recovery prevails

NEW ORLEANS -- Large conventions and small meetings have steered clear of the Crescent City since the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. So just how pleased was the region to host the recent National Association of Realtors annual convention? Talk about a holiday present ... it was also the biggest real estate story of the year because of its impact on the ravaged region. "I felt like painting a huge blue 'R' on top of the Superdome and renaming it the NAR Dome," said longtime native Arthur Sterbcow, executive director of Latter & Blum Realtors, a New Orleans-based residential chain. "In the past year, the president of NAR has visited more often than the president of the United States." Approximately 25,000 members of the nation's largest trade organization attended business meetings, political forums, and educational and training sessions over four days at the Morial Convention Center and injected more than $34 million into the New Orleans economy. The confab was the f...