NEW ORLEANS – General assembly sessions at previous National Automobile Dealers Assn. conventions have included plate spinners and kid bands.
But because NADA is observing its 100 anniversary this year, the opening session for the 2017 go-around offers some class acts.
The 72-piece Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performs throughout the program, playing classical music at first but switching to “When the Saints Come Marching In” when New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu takes the stage.
He welcomes the dealer audience and proclaims, “Y’all are now family members of the City of New Orleans.”
Opera singer Marshall Richards belts out the national anthem. Convention chairman Don Hicks wears a tuxedo and jokes about a good turnout at a gala NADA happening the night before.
“We had more people at our event than either President Obama or President Trump had at theirs,” he says, referring to Donald Trump disputing claims of relatively low attendance at his inauguration.
In a farewell address, 2016 NADA Chairman Jeff Carlson (wearing a suit) tells of piloting a plane that suddenly lost its instrument and communication systems.
He recalls keeping calm, reacting quickly and making an impromptu landing. He likens it to some of his moments as NADA chairman.