American Zombie recounts a “depressing rumor” which outlines a scenario in which major downtown hotels leave New Orleans:
Imagine a Canal Street with two to three towering empty buildings...no lights, no people...nada...just dead, monolithic, hulls. Combined with our inability to get adequate flights into the city, it could be a 1-2 knockout punch to our convention industry: no way to get here and nowhere to stay when they do get here. We've already lost one major convention (Microsoft) due to the lack of flights...I think that single issue could set off a chain reaction into oblivion.As I am not a fan of the tourism industry, this doesn’t really depress me. If these “dead, monolithic, hulls” were bought by HANO/HUD and redeveloped as mixed income (meaning a fair amount of low income) apartments for rent or purchase, our housing problem would be solved. Canal Street would blossom as a retail center because all the new residents would need services, like places to buy groceries, wash clothes, buy things for the house, buy parts for the car, etc. Tourism service jobs would be replaced by retail jobs and people would be able to live close to where they worked. Restaurants would stay in business because residents like to eat out, too, though they won’t be able to charge tourist prices.
Repopulate downtown. It would solve the lack of housing and it would promote development in a section of the city that’s high and dry.