You are here


Will the tourists come back?

If the tourists don't come back and soon, NO is going to be in big trouble, according to the WaPo:

...Leisure travel, business conventions and major events such as Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and the Sugar Bowl are by far the dominant drivers of the New Orleans economy. They account for $5 billion to $8 billion in revenue per year, according to the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau. Before the storm, tourism employed 85,000 workers in the city.
But the Convention Center, a fetid refuge from the flood, is wrecked and not expected to reopen till the end of March. The Nokia Sugar Bowl has decamped to Atlanta, at least for next year. The traditional Thanksgiving week football game between rivals Grambling State and Southern, known as the Bayou Classic, has moved to Houston this year. Halloween, typically a big draw for voodoo lovers, will be significantly scaled down. This city has already lost $3 billion worth of anticipated revenue from events canceled from Sept. 1 through March 31, according to the visitors bureau...
To make matters worse, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city's crucial marketing arm, is virtually shut down. The bureau runs in part on hotel room taxes. Federal workers who have booked up many hotels for the next several months often pay no tax. There has even been talk of the city airport going broke, something that would certainly choke New Orleans to death. Business leaders say, though, that there is no way the federal government would let that happen.
Perhaps not, but the calculus for getting this city's staggered tourism economy back on its feet is daunting and riddled with Catch-22s. And time is limited. Even ardent city promoters acknowledge that New Orleans, lacking any other major industry, will fall into despair and bankruptcy unless tourists start coming back soon. If they do not, the 3,000 government layoffs recently announced by Nagin will be just the start...


Another Crescent City Connection account

On Friday Sep. 2 at 2:24AM ET, Yahoo posted the AFP story "Police fire warning shots at tourists trying to escape New Orleans". The same or similar is here in "Police fired warning shots, New Orleans tourists tell" with a timestamp of Friday, September 2, 2005. 3:39pm (AEST). It's reposted here, and a shorter version is here.
- discusses the attempt to charter buses. Doesn't give details on who was involved or when that happened.
- 200 tourists were thrown out of their hotel on Thursday Sep. 1 in the morning
- among that group were Japanese, Europeans, and Americans
- the police (?) told them to go to the Superdome or Convention Center
- then, they were told to go to the bridge, and they walked through a "notoriously dangerous inner city neighborhood, got drenched in a thunderstorm"
When they got to the bridge:

"All of a sudden, police cruisers rushed in with sirens blaring," said Patty Murphy, a 57-year-old saleswoman from Massachussetts. "They were shooting over our heads telling us to go back."

- then, they went to the "Canal Street ferry terminal which faces the police command centre".
- the report says that the "tourists spent the night under the concrete pavilion". The report does not tell us what night that was, or which pavilion they're referring to. Hey, thanks for your help.
- the report has the word "mum" being spoken by someone who's apparently an American
Now, a special question for the race-baiters:
1. If the "racist" cops at the bridge stopped black people from leaving, does this report also mean that those cops are racist against Japanese and Europeans?
2. How do you explain this quote:

"We are lost," said Ryo Gotanda from Chiba, Japan as she ate a military ration pack handed out by police.
"We are tourists we don't know how to get around how to protect ourselves, it is like being in a jungle," said Gotanda, who studies in New York.
The worst part, she said, was walking through the tough inner-city neighborhood. "People were staring at us, waving clubs. I was scared, for the first time in my life I thought I would die," said Gotanda.

I have so far seen no report that attempts to find out what really happened at the CCC. While weaving a nice tale - or, in the case of the NYT regurgitating propaganda - is interesting, I'd really like to see someone lay out a timeline and get some incontrovertible details.

Tourists in the Superdome

Nine Australian tourists were among those in the Superdome; one of them says it was "like being in a Third World country, in a maximum security prison":

Women among their group had been harassed and grabbed by marauding men. Faeces lined the toilet walls. There had been suicides, rapes and murders. It was "like being in a Third World country, in a maximum security prison", Ms Cullington said.

After two days she spoke to her consulate and they were seemingly unaware of the situation, then after another few days:

Their escape from the Superdome had to be clandestine. The tourists left in dribs and drabs, heading for a basketball arena nearby, with the help of an American sergeant.
Some survivors, angry that they were not going too, tried to pull the tourists back inside. "The last people who were walking out the door were grabbed, were screamed at," she said.

The DUmmie response.
From the tabloid report "Brits' hell inside the terror dome":

A place of refuge became a terrifying trap, where knives and guns, crack cocaine use, threats of violence and racial abuse were rife.
Jamie Trout, 22, who kept a record of his four days there, said: "It was like something out of Lord of the Flies - one minute everything is calm and civil, the next it descends into chaos."
In one diary entry, he said: "A man has been arrested for raping a seven-year-old in the toilet, this place is hell, I feel sick. The smell is horrendous, there are toilets overflowing and people everywhere."
...He said of his eventual Superdome refuge: "There was a lot of heat from the people in there, people shouting racial abuse about us being white.
"The army warned us to keep our bags close to us and to grip them tight."
Jamie, an economics student from Sunderland, said he saw crack cocaine being used in the filthy toilets, youngsters breaking into soft drink machines and men brawling. Urine and excrement spilled into corridors where they were sleeping.
At one point, up to 30 British students gathered in the dome were so terrified of attack when the power went down that they set up a makeshift security cordon...
...Coast Guard Lt Cmdr Cheri Ben-Iesan said at emergency HQ: "Hospitals are trying to evacuate. At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them, telling them, 'You better come get my family'. City leader Mitch Landrieu toured stricken areas and was besieged by rescued people begging him to pass information to their families...

From "Welsh student's New Orleans hell":

Good news came as eventually many of the students were moved to the nearby basketball arena, thanks to Sgt Garland Ogden, a full-timer with the National Guard...
"He went against a lot of rules to get us moved," she said. Then as soon as she was able, she called her family.
When Jane phoned on Thursday, she had been moved to a Marriott hotel where there was no power - but there was food and water. "It is being used as a Red Cross shelter with the army there too..."

Subscribe to RSS - tourists