We have a story to tell….
Once upon a time (in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2018) the Bouchercon membership voted to have New Orleans, Louisiana be the host city for Bouchercon (the 52nd) in 2021. Volunteer committees were formed. Guests of Honor were invited and confirmed.
Then…on March 13 (Friday the 13th), 2020, the world exploded. Life, as we’ve known it here, changed. A worldwide pandemic. Masks were mandated. Plans for NOLA 2021 continued. Vaccinations were produced. Restrictions lessened. NOLA was still a “go.” Over 90 panels were put together with each author in mind to make sure they had a panel they could relate to. Author and sponsor ads were produced, sold, and printed. Programs (big and small) went to the printers. Booksellers were solicited and authors’ books were shipped and put in storage and catalogued. T-shirts and artwork were produced. Anthony Awards and Guest of Honor plaques were designed and ordered. These are such simple, declarative sentences that in no way begin to describe the hours, weeks, and months of work and effort that went into each task by the Bouchercon New Orleans team.
As the Delta variant spread, the New Orleans organizing team communicated to all Bouchercon registrants the steps being taken to assure a safe convention.
Then…after all of this was accomplished, and thousands of dollars had been spent, the variant given the name Delta brought everything to a dead stop.
Bouchercon Board and the Local Organizing Committee feel a moral obligation to think of attendees’ safety and health and, with the partnership of the Marriott, have now made the hard decision to cancel Bouchercon 2021 New Orleans and re-convene as Bouchercon 2025-New Orleans. Our Guests of Honor will remain the same.
It is with profound thanks and gratitude that our partnership with the Marriott Hotel will give you the same room rate if you decide to visit New Orleans on the Bouchercon dates this year August 22 – August 29. This is an incredible gesture on their part. I will send another email shortly, so don’t cancel until you are 100% sure you won’t be visiting New Orleans even though the conference won’t move forward in person.
All registered attendees as of July 1, will be receiving the Big Program Book, the Little Program Book, the Goody Bag and a T-shirt.
We will be offering full refunds for registrations. Soon, you will be given the option to receive this refund or donate all or part. We are sending a registrant survey to each of you with the choices of:
1. “You may keep my registration fee,”
2. “I would like to give a portion of my registration fee” or
3. “I want all of my registration fee back.”
This will help us establish how much money we need to cover expenses.
Obviously, we hope you will find the book bag, programs, and-t-shirt worth at least a partial donation to cover our costs. There are a number of expenses we will still need to cover despite the cancellation. Many of you who have cancelled already have said to keep the registration money to help defray costs. We thank you.
While it saddens us to cancel, we feel it is best. We wish to keep our members safe and have them back for future conventions without the danger of a rising health situation. If anyone should be stricken with this horrible virus at our event, it would forever be a cloud of regret?? darkness.
Regarding the Anthony Awards, we will still hold the Anthony Awards this year. You will receive a ballot on August 11th and have until August 14th to vote. Everyone registered after July 1st will receive a ballot. Details of awarding the Anthonys will come in the next few weeks.
The organizing committee recognizes the desire some people have expressed for a virtual conference. Unfortunately, at this time, the planning and cost is prohibitive. When Sacramento pivoted to virtual last year, there was limited attendance. The New Orleans team, along with the rest of the world, hoped that life would return to normal and allow an in-person conference. We are currently reviewing a viable way of celebrating the Anthony Awards with you. Future Bouchercons will assess online options to see if something can be found to assist with accessibility and other issues.
Keep an eye out for our next emails.
We wish to thank the many people who have been patient and supportive of us during this upheaval. As Co-Chairs we know that whatever decision was made would be disappointing for someone. The Bouchercon community is strong. We will get through this and be even better in the future, learning from these past difficult years, and taking these lessons into plans for Minneapolis, San Diego and Nashville.
And remember, New Orleans in 2025!
Mike Bursaw, Heather Graham and Connie Perry
Co-Chairs Bouchercon 2021 New Orleans