As a native Louisianian who left the state in 1972, I can say with great pride that Baton Rouge did a great job in hosting the International Planetarium Society meeting.
The staff of the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) showed the best in Southern hospitality. In particular, the Pennington Planetarium staff did an outstanding job supporting nearly 700 delegates (a conference record) from around the world and showing the latest in astronomy simulation technologies. This conference is held every two years. In 2010 it was in Alexandria, Egypt, and in 2014 it will be in Beijing.
When Baton Rouge won the 2012 conference, there were lots of skeptics as to whether Baton Rouge could be in the same league as other past host cities such as Chicago or Valencia, Spain. Yet, it met, if not exceeded, any past conference.
This group of astronomy educators usually spend most of their time looking up at the heavens. In Baton Rouge, when they looked down they found clean and safe streets. When they looked across they found friendly faces, including troops of Boy Scouts to help the delegates cross streets and guide them to their sessions. The support of the people at the Shaw Center for the Arts and the Old State Capitol as host venues was equally gratifying. They are all to be commended on a job well done.
The progress that Baton Rouge has made in its downtown area is very encouraging, with lots of good restaurants and quality hotels. I hope that the people of Baton Rouge will view their city though the eyes of these visiting international delegates and see its cultural institutions and downtown improvements as something they should visit and enjoy with great pride.
planetarium designer and engineer