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Anybody vacationed in N.O. post-Katrina?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by dargan, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    My vacation's next week, so some friends and I are going to New Orleans for a weekend. Just wondering if anybody's been there for a leisure trip since Katrina. I've heard the downtown stuff off Canal isn't a whole lot different as far as going there to have a little fun. Just wanted some first-hand accounts/post-storm visiting advice if there are any.
  2. standman

    standman Member

    Went last August. If you've been there before as a tourist, you really won't notice the difference. It was a little slow and you had to wait for service in the restaurants a little longer. But the people really appreciated the business and people were willing to go into detail about life after Katrina.

    I know Bush gets bashed a lot for the way the administration handled everything, but there is a general distrust of government period. People are beyond pointing fingers, they just want to get their lives back.
  3. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    Thanks for the help. I went three times prior to the storm. Most of the stuff I've read about the Central Business District post-Katrina was that the visitor stuff had recovered pretty well. I hate sounding like a tourist, but that area is really the main spot you're going to if you're in N.O.

    I'm looking forward to it. I was a history minor in college, and that's really where the city's appeal is for me, moreso than seeing how tore up I can get.
  4. lollygagger

    lollygagger Member

    That pretty well sums it up. I was there in December, the week before Christmas, which was pretty slow. You'll see some empty buildings in the Quarter and boarded up storefronts in the CBD, even right on Canal Street, but everything the typical tourist would need is up and running.
    And the people there really are glad to see you (and your dollars) -- and really interested in sharing what they've been through. Examples:
    I was in an airport shuttle van where most of the riders were going to downtown hotels and 2 or 3 college kids were going to a closed school in the 9th Ward that appeared to be the HQ for a volunteer group of folks helping to rebuild. The shuttle driver made a point of taking them to their stop first even though it was a little out of the way so the rest of us could get an idea of the devastation in that part of town. It was my first visit to NO and that was one of the first things I saw, so it left quite an impression.
    Couple of days later I rented a car downtown for 24 hours so I could explore a little outside the center city. The guy at the rental desk asked if I couldn't stay any longer than just one day, and he was smiling but you could tell he meant it. When I told him I was in town for 5 days but only needed the car for 1, he was happier about that.
    Finally, I was waiting for the shuttle van on the way out of town and chatting with the desk clerk in the hotel lobby, and she told me all about how she was still living in a FEMA trailer that was crammed with a few dozen others into a fenced-in gravel lot, not in an I-hate-the-government kind of way but in a way that said that's just the way life is now. It gave me something to think about as I flew home to my perfectly normal apartment.
    So the tourism industry is up and running smoothly, and the people who work in tourism will welcome you with open arms. But they also want to make sure you know what things have been like for them and for the part of the city outside the central tourism district.
  5. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    It's been a year, but I drove down last July for Sun Belt media days. The damage then was very subtle in the west: travel trailers in the driveways of all the houses in Kenner and Metairie that were flooded, etc. The CBD and the Quarter were back to normal, save for the big Entergy tower that was the last skyscraper to repair.

    The farther east and south you went, the worse it got. I drove down LA 23 to Plaquemines Parish and Venice, and at the time it still looked like the day after. The first big clue was the police checkpoint outside Port Sulphur. The devastation was the same driving east on I-10 toward Slidell with apartment houses and car dealerships still scattered all over.

    By comparison, Bay St. Louis (Miss.) caught the business end of Katrina and after 11 months, all the debris had been hauled off (although the four inland blocks' worth of vacant lots spoke volumes).

    I'm not going this year (Cowboys, baby!) but I'd love to hear a cleanup progress report.
  6. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Has the Hyatt adjacent to the Superdome reopened yet? It wasn't in early January.
  7. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    I'll try to provide some information upon my return.

    I'm not sure about the Hyatt. Every time I've been down there I've stayed in the Sheraton on Canal. It was booked, so we're staying at a place that's supposed to be pretty nice at the corner of Bourbon and Canal.
  8. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    The Foot Locker or the Lady Foot Locker? :)

    (Those are my 2 landmarks to help me find Bourbon.)
  9. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    Haha, yeah. I think it's called the Astor Crowne Plaza. Sounds fancy, at least.

    Sun Belt media days, huh? Capper, Bartolotta, Howard at North Texas = good people.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I was there in October for about a week... Unless you visit the Ninth Ward, you can barely tell that anything happened... They've done a tremendous job rebuilding the tourist areas.

    As long as Cafe Du Monde is open, that's all that matters...
  11. JackS

    JackS Member

    I was there in March of this year. It's still not as busy as pre-Katrina (more vacancies in the Riverwalk and on Canal, fewer riverboat trips available, etc.), but all the real hot spots are open, and being less busy can be more enjoyable in some ways. Go, go, go. There's nothing that should stop anyone. They need you. And take the Gray Line Katrina bus tour (and some tissues).
  12. standman

    standman Member

    Amen to the part about the bus tour. I didn't go to the 9th ward, but I did see the Lakeview area post-Katrina. To see the damage still out there a year later really helped put things in perspective. Lakeview is mostly middle class people and those folks were wiped out. Wiped out is wiped out whether you're rich or poor.

    One of the interesting comments made on the tour involved the building of the city. The French stopped at the area by the Ramparts because they knew most of the land beyond that area was below sea level. That's why the French Quarter was not in ruins.
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