Welcome to the NCBJ Annual Conference Blog – and Index to Blog Posts

Welcome to the NCBJ Annual Conference Blog! This is the place to blog about NCBJ’s 92nd Annual Conference and things to do and see while attending the Conference in San Antonio.

A great place to start is to read NCBJ President Michael Romero’s invitation to attend the Conference, which you can find on the Blog HERE. It gives you a peak at what to expect.

You will find new articles on the Blog about Conference programs, San Antonio, the NCBJ, and much more. Many articles include photos or other images. Please note that you can enlarge an image by clicking on it.

Keep checking back to the Blog to read more posts.


(Click on the name of an article in blue print to read it; click on a picture to enlarge it)

President’s Invitation

Invitation for Nominations to 2018 American Inns of Court Bankruptcy Alliance Distinguished Service Award

Recognize a Peer for Dedication to the Rule of Law

Conference Programs

NCBJ 2018 Public Outreach Award – Nomination Deadline: August 1, 2018

4 Hour Window: NextGen Submission Day is May 2, 2018

NACBA TO Host Education Breakfast on Student Loans

Are you interested in an annual consumer bankruptcy meeting at the NCBJ Conference?

Stay tuned for more posts about programs that will be presented by NCBJ and NCBJ affiliates

Miscellaneous Stuff

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Art Center Collection

How to End a Networking Conversation

San Antonio Population Growth Since 1850


Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum

Battle for Texas: The Experience

Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum


LuLu’s Bakery & Café: Home of the Three Pound Cinnamon Roll

Popsicles: Paleteria San Antonio – A Hidden Gem!

San Antonio – History and Sites

Early History of San Antonio

HemisFair 68’s Legacy: San Antonio HemisFair Park

San Antonio Riverwalk

Story of the Battle of the Alamo

President’s Invitation to the 92nd NCBJ Annual Conference

Remember the Alamo!  That phrase became the battle cry of the Texans in their struggle for independence.  Today, the Alamo is just a part of the rich history of San Antonio, the host for this year’s NCBJ Conference to be held October 28-31, 2018.  San Antonio is celebrating its tricentennial this year and it is the perfect time to join in the celebration and at the same time enjoy everything you have come to expect from an NCBJ experience.

Our Education Committee made up of bankruptcy judges, legal scholars and preeminent professionals and headed by John Hoffman is preparing special programs that will educate and entertain.  As a special treat, our plenary programs will be held in the spectacular Lila Cockrell Theater, immediately adjacent to the host Marriott Rivercenter and the subsidiary conference Marriott Riverwalk hotels.

If that were not enough, there will be an international discussion presented in partnership with the American College of Bankruptcy.  Our affiliates will also be offering their usual incredible programs.  Finally, we are trying to create even more networking opportunities with all your fellow attendees.

To put it simply, come this October, you will remember the Alamo, the City of San Antonio, and the 92nd NCBJ Conference.  Don’t miss out on this special opportunity.

See you there.

Michael E. Romero, NCBJ President.

Are you interested in an annual consumer bankruptcy meeting at the NCBJ conference?

There has been interest expressed in creating an annual “Consumer Bankruptcy Meeting” during the annual NCBJ conference. To that end, we have planned a “meet and greet” on Monday October 29 right after the NCBJ, UST, NABT, NACTT Joint Committee Meeting in the same conference room (13‐14). The meeting would start at 3:45 pm and its purpose would be see about the formation of an annual open meeting on consumer related bankruptcy issues at future NCBJ Conferences. The idea of the annual meeting is to have representatives from the various consumer related groups, such as the Trustee groups, NACBA and the National Creditors Bar Association and anyone else that is interested, present to discuss focused topics affecting the consumer bankruptcy practice on a national level.

The meeting on the 29th should not be a long. It is simply an opportunity to discuss whether such a future annual meeting is possible and if so, to gather thoughts on how should it be conducted.


On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 7:15a.m., NACBA will hosting an educational breakfast for all to attend. The topic will be: Leaving Student Loan Discharge Behind: Defining Student Loans, Treatment in chapter 13, and Non-bankruptcy Options.

With discharge of student loans under the undue hardship standard often requiring a “certainty of hopelessness”,  this panel will instead focus on alternative methods that debtors and courts have addressed the ever mounting student loan crisis. This will include an examination of what actually constitutes an “educational benefit”,  how the various repayment programs from the Department of Education can be integrated with bankruptcy, and non-bankruptcy causes of action and defenses,  including Statutes of Limitation, burdens of proof regarding standing and consumer protection laws,  can be used to provide borrowers relief.

Andy Altenburg, NCBJ Liaison to NACBA



San Antonio Population Growth Since 1850

San Antonio’s population has grown from under 3,500 in 1850 to the seventh most populous city in the United States today.  Only New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Phoenix have larger populations within city limits.

In 1860, with a population of 8,235, San Antonio was the largest town in Texas (ahead of Galveston).  Until 1877, German was the predominate language.

In 1877, San Antonio experienced new economic growth sparked by its first railroad, the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway. Its concomitant population growth was mostly Anglos born in Southern states.  In 1881 a second railroad served San Antonio, the International–Great Northern; and by 1900 there were five railroads passing through the City.  The railroads spurred both economic and population growth.  San Antonio was the largest city in Texas in 1900, with a population of 53,321; in 1910 with a population of 96,614, and again in 1920 with 161,379 inhabitants.

San Antonio was an important military center during the Spanish-American War, and in both World Wars.  San Antonio’s population grew in the 1940s from 253,854 to 408,442.  Fort Sam Houston and four Air Force bases (Kelly, Randolph, Brooks and Lackland) were the City’s leading economic generators for many years. In the 1950s the City grew by almost 44 percent to reach 587,718 in 1960. By 2000 San Antonio was the third largest city in Texas and the ninth largest city in the United States, with a population of 1,144,646. The 2000 census reported that San Antonio’s population was 58.7% Hispanic, 32.5% Anglo, and 6.8% African American. A decade later, 62.7% were Hispanic, 26.6% were Anglo, 6.8% were African American, and 2.4% were Asian.

This chart shows the population of San Antonio since 1850 and the City’s population ranking among all United States cities.

San Antonio Population (city limits)

Year                Population      Rank

1850                3,488

1860                8,235

1880                20,550             96

1890                37,673             81

1900                53,321             71

1910                96,614             54

1920                161,379           41

1930                231,542           38

1940                253,854           36

1950                408,442           25

1960                587,718           17

1970                654,153           15

1980                785.880           11

1990                935,933           10

2000                1,144,646        9

2010                1,327,538        7

2016                1,492,510        7

San Antonio’s population is concentrated within its city limits.  Its metropolitan area does not rank nearly as high.

U.S. Metropolitan areas (2016)

Rank    Metro Area                             Population

1          New York                               20,153,634

2          Los Angeles                            13,310,447

3          Chicago                                     9,512,999

4          Dallas-Fort Worth                    7,233,323

5          Houston                                    6,772,470

6          Philadelphia                              6,070,500

7          Miami-Ft. Lauderdale                          6,066,387

24        San Antonio                              2,429,609

Today, tourism is a major contributor to the San Antonio economy.  By one measure, one-eighth of the San Antonio workforce works in the tourism industry and tens of millions of people visit San Antonio each year.


HemisFair 68’s Legacy: San Antonio HemisFair Park

The genesis of San Antonio HemisFair Park, located along the River Walk, was a World’s Fair held in San Antonio known as HemisFair ’68.

San Antonio was chosen as the site of the 1968 World’s Fair, to be called HemisFair ’68.  The fair, themed the “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas,” paid tribute to the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio in 1718.  Six million visitors from more than thirty nations attended the fair from April 6 through October 6, 1968.

The fair included a series of National and corporate pavilions connected by monorail, elevated walkways, and river taxis.  There were also towering fountains, restaurants, boutiques, parades, a Swiss sky ride, and an amusement park.  Among some thirty nations represented in the pavilions were Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, West, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Venezuela and the United States.

More than 130 structures were built on the 96.2 acre HemisFair ’68 site at a cost of $156 million.  The State of Texas Pavilion cost $10 million. The United States Pavilion cost $7.5 million.  The 750-foot Tower of the Americas was the fair’s theme structure, complete with a glass elevator rising up the side and a 360° observation deck at the top.  The River Walk was extended to reach the site.

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of HemisFair “68, San Antonio redeveloped approximately 15 acres of the site to create an urban park with waterfalls, fountains, playgrounds and lush landscaping. Sone of the original structures were renovated.  Part of the United States of America Pavilion building is now home to the John H. Wood, Jr. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. Another part of the pavilion is now the Adrian Spears Judicial Training Center.  The site was re-christened “HemisFair Park” in April 1988,

In 2008 Hyatt Hotels completed construction of the Grand Hyatt San Antonio in what was part of the convention center theater originally built for HemisFair ’68.  In 2009 the San Antonio City Council created a non-profit organization, HemisFair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation, to oversee further redevelopment of the fair site.  In 2012 HPARC completed the renovation of three additional structures on the site.

Today, HemisFair Park is home to gardens, fountains, playgrounds, walking paths, historic homes, Tower of the Americas, the Mexican Cultural Center, the San Antonio Convention Center, a large hotel, a Federal courthouse, and more.


HemisFair ’68 Trivia (reprinted from a posting on the web)

Theme of the fair: “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas”
Location: San Antonio, Texas. USA
Duration: April 6 – October 6, 1968
Overall Cost: $156 Million USD.
Size of Fair Site: 92 Acres
Attendance: 6.4 Million
Parking Lot Capacity: 4,000 cars
Number of Nation Pavilions: 33
Number of Corp. Pavilions: 15
Theme Structure: Tower of the Americas (750 ft.)
Most Popular Attraction: Los Voladores de Papantla (Flying Indians)
Commissioner General: Hon. John Connally (Governor of Texas)

NCBJ 2018 Public Outreach Award – Nomination Deadline: August 1, 2018

This is a notice about the new NCBJ Public Outreach Award from the NCBJ Public Outreach Committee.

Bankruptcy Judges and courts routinely engage in important public outreach efforts. Those efforts include organization of and anticipation with financial literacy classes, pro bono assistance projects, Constitution Day events, immigration ceremonies, bankruptcy law education for state court judges and civics education programs. To increase judges’ awareness of those efforts and honor individual bankruptcy judges and courts for outstanding work, the NCBJ has established a new annual award.

The NCBJ Public Outreach Award will recognize public outreach achievements of individual NCBJ members and bankruptcy courts. The award recipient s will be selected by the Public Outreach Committee based on nominations received from NCBJ members. Qualifying public outreach activities and programs include those related to community service, civics or court system education, and bankruptcy or financial education. Among the considerations for this award are:

• The extent to which the nominee’s public outreach activities have had a significant impact in the community

• The extent to which the nominee’s public outreach activities involved, increased the profile of, or affected the bankruptcy courts

• The extent to which the nominee’s public outreach activities involved, increased the profile of, or affected the federal courts generally

• The extent to which the nominee’s public outreach activities demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism and community service

Nominations should describe the nominee’s public outreach activities and explain why the nominee deserves to receive the NCBJ Public Outreach Award, addressing the above factors specifically and including any other factors that demonstrate why the nominee deserves to receive the award. Nominations should also include any recognition the nominee has received from the community and/or the media and may include copies of relevantarticles or photos. Descriptions should be detailed enough to give the Public Outreach Committee an accurate picture of the nominee’s community outreach activities.

Deadline for Entries and Presentation of Award.</blockquote> All submissions must be sent electronically to NCBJ.Public.Outreach@gmail.comon or before August 1, 2018. The award will be given at the Annual Meeting. Contact any member of the Public Outreach Committee with questions.

How to End a Networking Conversation

You know how to start a networking conversation – but – you might hang back because you are not sure how to exit when the time is right for you. Here’s a polite, professional way that doesn’t involve a lot of excuses or cringe-worthy pauses.

Ask for a business card. In the age of social media, it’s a step you might often skip. It’s a pleasant want to get the person’s contact information, and in the Americas it signals that the time together is ending. It’s easy to close with “nice to meet you” and move on.

If you really want to continue the conversation with this person in the near future, ask about scheduling a phone call, meeting, coffee or lunch in the future. If the other isn’t eager to do any of those, it is a polite signal that they are ready to move on also.

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Art Collection

Among the works of the many local artists who’ve contributed to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center’s art collection, meeting delegates will find a variety of cultural expressions that reflect the authentic culture of San Antonio.

“The art collection which brings the voice of San Antonio to the world stage, engages visitors visually and sparks conversations that bring people together,” says Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, interim director for the city of San Antonio Convention & Sports Facilities.

Among the pieces that will have people talking is a Carlos Merida mural created for the 1968 World’s Fair that will greet NCBJ visitors at the convention center’s new West Entry. From the River Level, look up high on the Center’s exterior wall. Another is one of the newest installations, Liquid Crystal, a 30-foot tower of LCD panels connected to motion sensors that allows it to reflect the activity in the new main lobby.

4 Hour Window: NextGen Submission Day is May 2, 2018

May 2nd from 1- 5 EDT could have a big impact on your legal career. Those few hours are the only time that applications are accepted from early career lawyers who want a chance to be part of the NCBJ Next Generation Class of 2018. Look HERE  for information about Next Generation.  Everything you need to know to apply is on this website.  Next Gen delivers loads of unique opportunities and benefits.  Members of the Class are chosen by computer randomized selection.  Nominations are only accepted May 2, 2018 from 1- 5 pm EDT.  Don’t be early or late or submit more than once – as the software will disregard your paperwork. Good luck!

Jeanne Sleeper, NCBJ Executive Director

P.S. From Blog Editor:

NCBJ Next Generation is an amazing opportunity for bankruptcy practitioners with 5 to 10 years of experience.  As stated in more detail on the NCBJ NextGen website, the program includes:

  • a judicial roundtable discussion with bankruptcy judges from across the nation
  • a small-group lunch with an experienced bankruptcy practitioner
  • a networking reception and dinner to build contacts and relationships with Next Generation alumni
  • a social outing to discover San Antonio with NextGen’rs and judges
  • opportunities to participate on an education panel with judges and other practitioners

Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum

The Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, located along the River Walk, is arguably the finest museum in San Antonio, and is one of the best museums in Texas. The museum is named after its original benefactor, Marion Koogler McNay. It is housed in what was her house, a Spanish-Mediterranean mansion built in the 1920s on a 23-acre estate, with 45,000 sq. ft. added for gallery space. The museum features 19th and 20th century America and European art. The 20,000 piece collection includes works by Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Diego Rivera, and Vincent Van Gogh. There are visiting major exhibitions, a sculpture gallery and garden, a lecture hall, and classrooms for educational programs.

Living in New Mexico, I was interested to see the museum includes a collection of New Mexico art that includes furniture, jewelry, paintings, pottery, and textiles. McNay accumulated a New Mexico art collection during a time when she actively participated in artists’ colonies in New Mexico in the 1930s.

Stroll around the grounds to see fountains, goldfish ponds, Japanese-style gardens, and streams.  And while in the museum, don’t overlook the ornamental wrought iron, rare tiles and woods that adorn the mansion.

The museum is located at 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave. It is closed on Mondays. There is an admission charge except Thursday night.

Museum photo from the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum website

Battle for Texas: The Experience

Battle for Texas: The Experience is located next to the Alamo Mission in downtown San Antonio. In an immersive, interactive journey back in time. Experience the daily lives of early Texas settlers, the tensions leading up to the Texas Revolution, and the climactic Battle of the Alamo.

“The constant sound of shelling, rattling walls and smell of gunpowder allow visitors to sense the Mexican Army moving closer, offering an unparalleled experience of the events that took place during this great battle.”  “The battle will literally be closing in on them as they walk through a maze of hallways with nowhere to turn and hear the sounds of soldiers crossing atop the roof as if coming over the wall,” “Through the sights, sounds and even smells, our guests will experience the 13 days of the siege in a personal and visceral way, just like those inside the walls.”

“Pull a rope to try to advance a cannon weighing several hundred pounds up a ramp. Enter a dark hallway with flashes of light, the sound of explosions, a sulfuric gunpowder smell and visions of Mexican soldiers running through the haze of smoke at the height of the battle.”

“At the end of the journey, guests will be immersed in a three-minute inspirational film showcased on twelve giant synchronized monitors that reflects on the history of an independent Texas, including the famous figures, cultural icons and significant events that made Texas the great state it is today.”

The 22,000 square foot exhibit features 11 galleries and 250 Alamo artifacts, including Sam Houston’s silver spurs, Davy Crockett’s knife, and Santa Anna’s bed and uniform.

Tickets cost $19.50 plus tax.  An average visit lasts 1 to 1½ hours.