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New Orleans

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I saw a thread like this about Nashville, and I was curious to see what people from across the country think of New Orleans, though I decided to post this thread in this forum rather than the Coffee House.

When you hear "New Orleans," what thought about the city comes first to your mind, other than Katrina? Which will be the first thought coming to most people's minds for awhile, until the city rebuilds. What do you like and dislike about the city? What parts of the city do you like most? Etc.

And I know there are many who haven't been to the post-Katrina city, so I'd like to add this. Katrina changed New Orleans forever, there's no doubt about that, but many changes have been good for the city, like the fact that crime is way down, and the public school system is being turned around dramatically. And all of the things that New Orleans is famous for; food, music, the French Quarter, architecture, etc. are all back and well, and the nightlife is improving every day and is quickly coming back to full swing. And just for some added info, most estimates for the city's current population are between 230K-250K, none of which include the estimated 30,000-50,000 illegal immigrant workers in the city. And if you include Tangipahoa Parish, which will officially be added to the metro in 2010, the metro areas's current population is about 1.34 million, down from 1.36 million pre-Katrina.

Also, if you watch the national news, CNN, and things like that, you would think that New Orleans has made very little progress in rebuilding, which is not at all true. The national media focuses much more on showing the devastation still left around New Orleans, rather than showing the rebuilding taking place in those same areas. While places like Lakeview, the Lower 9th Ward, and Saint Bernard Parish are very bad, they are being rebuilt more and more every day, and while parts of the entire area remain devastated, in many cases it's not nearly as bad as the national media makes it out to be.

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Now I think of the Ray Nagin character on Imus. Before Katrina I thought what most people thought of ... Mardi Gras.

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Howdy.

Let me start by saying I absolutely love New Orleans. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me give you a rundown of the positive and negative aspects related to New Orleans, in my opinion.

Positives:

New Orleans is a very picturesque city. The riverfront, the Crescent Connection crossing the river, the city skyline, the Garden District, and the French Quarter are all beautiful, picturesque areas for one reason or another.

The riverfront is absolutely gorgeous. While the Port isn't exactly a gorgeous site, I believe the fact that it's so urban and rough-looking makes it look cool down on the river. It may not be beautiful, but I do think it adds to the feel of the river. It's a very busy port, which shows that there is a lot of commerce going on down there.

The park at the riverfront is a great place to take a stroll and connect with nature, only steps from the concrete and steel of the downtown area of the city.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is also a very nice riverfront attraction, and is one of the best aquariums in the country. In addition to the aquarium and the riverfront park, the Riverwalk Marketplace is a great mall and is located right on the riverfront, adding to the activity in that area.

The French Quarter and Garden District are both very beautiful, historic areas with a lot to see and do. The homes in the Garden District are very unique and a true asset to the tourism market in New Orleans. There is no way someone could walk through that area and not be impressed by the architecture of the homes down there. It's truly a gem of an attraction.

The French Quarter... what can I say!? In my oh so humble opinion, there is absolutely no historic district, anywhere in the United States, that can even come close in comparison to the French Quarter. The old, historic buildings with plant-lined balconies, the tourists from all over the world walking around, the narrow streets and sidewalks with the buildings real close to the road. It's just a very charming area, and completely unmatched.

Negatives:

The streets are filthy and there are bums everywhere. While the city has a very active and entertaining nightlife, it also has an ugly side. Fights are a constant occurrence along Bourbon Street, especially as the clubs close and people are leaving. Even in areas outside of the French Quarter, like the central business district, you can find blood, urine, and vomit on the sidewalks when dawn rolls around.

The traffic is horrendous, although that is to be expected of a city that large, especially with the massive amount of tourists who flock to that city daily.

The politics represent the worst of Louisiana. Even to people from outside this state, it's obvious how nasty and crooked Louisiana politics can be, but it's extremely evident in New Orleans. Even last time I was down there, I watched a City Council meeting where I actually thought someone was going to be physically assaulted. It got that bad. Unfortunately verbal assault was extremely common during that meeting, but it's probably better that it stayed verbal and didn't become physical.

Crime is horrible as well. Thankfully that seems to have dropped along with the population, but I certainly hope as people continue to return to the city that the criminal element doesn't make its way back - or at last the worst of the criminal element - you know, those who made the city notorious.

Summary: Not living in the city, I can't come up with a lot of negatives, but to be honest I hope there aren't any that I've missed. I like to focus on the positives, so talking about the negatives was very difficult for me. I absolutely love New Orleans and enjoy visiting whenever I get a chance. It's truly one of America's greatest cities, even if it's not in the top few as far as population goes. I love cities like Houston and Chicago, but as far as tourist destinations go, New Orleans gets my vote.

You have a lot to be proud of in your home city and I wish it the best from here on out. I hope it comes back larger and stronger than ever and does become one of the most populated cities, with one of the tallest and most attractive skylines, in the nation.

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It's one of the few cities that can best be described - you either love it or hate it. I'm always amazed at coming across very negative reviews of the city, & in a culture of suburbanism it must be an alien environment for those accustumed to manicured office parks & subdivisions.

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I'm going to tell you my pre-Katrina opinion.

I never have believed the "love it or hate it" side of things. I think most people see both positives and negatives and a lot of people visiting there have a "nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there" attitude about New Orleans. Like a lot of people, I entertained the idea of moving there at one time and decided not to because of some of the negatives about the city.

In terms of positives, I think the culture is no. 1. The laid-back attitude, variety and quality of food, live music and bars, friendliness and for the "true" South it is the most cosmopolitan city as well. It is the South's best success in terms of mass transit and is the Southern city where you are most likely to be able to live in a "carless" society. There is enough money and tourism to have first class shopping and museums. The architecture is one of my favorite aspects. I don't think anyone visiting the Garden District didn't imagine how incredible it would be to have a mansion facing St Charles. New Orleans isn't insanely expensive, either. In most cities with this much culture and historical relevance the middle class is pushed out, in New Orleans this isn't necessarily the case.

In terms of negatives, poverty and crime are the deterrent for a lot of people. There are few, if any, areas of New Orleans that most would feel completely safe. Public schools are in a shambles. The poor job market in New Orleans has had a bit of a "chicken and egg" relationship to poverty. There have been fewer and fewer professional jobs and the economy relied more and more on tourism. The problem is that a tourist economy is dominated by low-income jobs. The other issue nobody likes to talk about is that race relations have been a bit dicy at times.

I think Katrina and rebuilding New Orleans actually might reinvigorate the area, but since that's not what you wanted to discuss here I'll leave it at that.

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From what I've heard both pre- and post-Katrina, the place should be bulldozed (except for the French Quarter, of course, and that awesome graveyard with all the mausoleums) and be given a fresh start.

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From what I've heard both pre- and post-Katrina, the place should be bulldozed (except for the French Quarter, of course, and that awesome graveyard with all the mausoleums) and be given a fresh start.

Bulldoze every part of the city except the French Quarter? Exactly how familiar are you with New Orleans?

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Not very much at all. That's just what my parents (who have been there many times, mostly in the French Quarter, I guess) have said, combined with news reports on the crime and all that there. Don't take that whole bulldozing thing literally, my humor is prone to a hyperbole :)

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Not very much at all. That's just what my parents (who have been there many times, mostly in the French Quarter, I guess) have said, combined with news reports on the crime and all that there. Don't take that whole bulldozing thing literally, my humor is prone to a hyperbole :)

Pre-Katrina, the crime was horrible, but post-Katrina, the crime is down 46% per capita. Though crime wasn't bad in areas like the French Quarter, the CBD, and the Garden District. And it was limited to certain parts of areas like Algiers and Bywater. There's alot more to New Orleans than the French Quarter. :thumbsup:

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Yeah, I know that but my parents never ventured much outside of it because they were concerned about the crime. Even my Dad had no wishes to go outside of it, and it's nearly impossible to faze him - he cruised with the special forces dudes in 'Nam.

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Before Katrina when I thought of New Orleans I thought of partying, interesting things going on in the streets all throughout the year and lots of culture. I also thought of it as a very dangerous place. Now I still think of it as a little of both, but with the potential to renew itself and rebuild some of those rough neighborhoods.

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You already know how I feel about New Orleans. I was born & raised in the N.O. and I'm gonna die in New Orleans. I represent my city to the fullest. Katrina was a blessing in disguise, in a sense it cleansed New Orleans of the criminality and poverty. It gave us a second chance to make drastic improvements. As much as I love New Orleans, we do have a serious crime problem. Mardi Gras '04, a double homicide went down. Gunfire broke out between two groups of men and a lady & her baby died. Then someone else got shot on Canal St, and THIS IS IN THE CENTER OF NEW ORLEANS. I know most New Orleanians remember those 6 tourists that got shot up in the French Quarter back in 2000. The public school system is on the come-up, New Orleans Police is trying to shed the crooked-cop image, basically we're changing for the better.

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I love the food of New Orleans. I could almost move there for all the great restaurants. The Fench Quarter is nice, maybe a little too touristy, but the old buildings are great. I really like the Garden District and all the old homes. I've visited a couple times and will be back some day. The high crime does keep me a little on edge to be truthful. I visited for business about eight years ago. One of the people at our convention was shot while being mugged and he died. Despite this I still was impressed enough to bring my familiy back for vacation two years ago. The store at the Riverwalk next to the one my wife and kids were in was robbed by two men at gunpoint while they were shopping and they saw the comotion. I always felt like I needed to watch my back after dark. I think a larger police presence on the street would help people feel safer. The only place I saw a lot of police was on Bourbon Street at night. There would be two or four officers on the corners, but down the side streets I wouldn't see any police so of course my instincts kept me from venturing off Bourbon at night.

The Zoo was a very nice surprise. It's worth a visit. Also, just riding the streetcars for a cheap scenic tour was fun. I liked the Harrah's Casino too. My favorite place was any table at "Mother's" though.

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I've been to New orleans at least 3 times, and had nothing but a great time every time. The first time I stayed at a youth hostelnamed the India House. I was kinda in the ghetto, and I skateboarded from there to the French Quarter every day, and I didn't have any problems, but I could see how it might be intimidating. The Garden Quarter was awesome too.....

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I was in New Orleans once in early August 2001. I loved it. Sure it was hot and stifling and dirty and gritty... but that's what made me love it. I loved the fact that it wasn't perfect. Of course there is room for improvement for its citizens.. but there aren't a lot of cities in the country that have taken their impoverished status and turned into such a cool culture.

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