Friday, February 20, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Future of New Orleans tourism.

Preservation  especially historical preservation that keeps the city's tradition  is extremely important to New Orleans.  My comments should not be taken to think I do not understand this .
However  the city has a compelling future if only it is bold enough to embrace it.   The interstate highway surrounds the city like concrete border .  On one side of the border there is urban decay, poverty and crime.
 To many in New Orleans the decay is an eyesore and symbol of all that is wrong with the city.  The  city fathers for decades have pointed in the other direction  to the pearl of New Orleans, the french quarter.  It is where most of the hospitality and entertainment  industry is located. There are some who say all efforts should be concentrated in this area for it is a  great resource and pays back to the city tremendous dividends. 

 I have a different take.  I think continued development of the enhancement and beautification of the french quarter should not stop.  However it is not the only tourism destination within the city.  I stumbled upon this idea when I saw a Japanese couple with their child walking through the Central business district taking pictures.  I thought to myself....these poor people must be lost why are they here???  It dawned on me that the reason they were in this part of the city is that they saw something of value...that I did not.   

I started taking pictures in and around the Central Business district about three years ago.
Each time I am there I am convinced that this part of town hold great promise as a tourist destination.   I am not advocating strip clubs and sleazy bars be allowed to bring their businesses in this area .   I am advocating that developers be allowed to make lemonade....LOTS of lemonade.

Louisiana's flirtation with the gaming industry has been a letdown in the city of New Orleans.  To only have  one land based casino have the market clearly shows why monopolies in any commercial forum should be strongly discouraged.  Las Vegas , Biloxi have models that encouraged competition. They are not perfect however the competition among these companies have provided substantial benefits for their cities and surrounding communities.

Real competition in the gaming industry in the city of New Orleans could act as a catalyst to spur development in the CBD  .   The growth could then be used to encourage other industries that cater to both the gaming and hospitality and entertainment industries to locate  a subsidiary  in the CBD.  The technology firms and security firms that cater to the casinos  would be a small step in the right direction.   

Banking, insurance and financial services could reap benefits as well.  However it would have to start with the courage to embrace this idea.  This is a win, win, win for the city of New Orleans. 
I believe that the focus of New Orleans is how to think about the next 50 years.   What does it look like in 50 years.  What does the CBD look like in 50 years??  I know what decay looks like I would like to see much less of it in 50 years.

summer in french quarter

summer in french quarter
Originally uploaded by T......
New Orleans tourism now

Towers of Poydras Street

Towers of Poydras St 1 of 4
Originally uploaded by T......
The future of New Orleans tourism.