[Dixielandjazz] N.O. Report

tcashwigg at aol.com tcashwigg at aol.com
Thu Jan 18 23:22:23 PST 2007

     This came up when I Googled "Dixieland"...

 "The French Quarter Is in a Funk
 Jan 17, 2:41 PM (ET)
 NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The hookers are back on Bourbon Street. So are the
 drug dealers, the strippers with names like Rose and Desire, the
 out-of-town businessmen, the college students getting blitzed on
 candy-colored cocktails and beer in plastic cups.
 But a closer look reveals things are not back to the way they were in
 the French Quarter. Sixteen months after Hurricane Katrina, New
 Orleans' liveliest, most exuberant neighborhood is in a funk.
  "The money's not the same. I remember when I made $1,200 a night," 
  Elizabeth Johnson, a manager and dancer at a Bourbon Street strip 
 frowning at another slow night. "I know girls who used to never let
 people touch them, and now they're resorting to prostitution."
  Robert Boudreaux, a beefy hotel bellman in an olive green vest, 
 the street with folded arms and said: "Very boring."
 The Quarter still has its characters - palm readers, magicians, street
  musicians, mimes. But the cheap fun is largely confined to the 
 these days, and seven-day-a-week stores, restaurants and clubs such as
  Preservation Hall are cutting back on their hours. The nonstop party 
 no more.
  The "cams" - real-time camera footage of Bourbon Street, shown over 
 Internet - are dull on weekdays. Dixieland bands play to empty

 "The Quarter rats are drunk and high still, but they're less drunk,"
 said bartender Dawn Kesslering.
 In the Lower Quarter, the district's residential half, where people
  walk poodles and neighbors share clothes lines in galleried 
 old-timers do not see as much zest around them.
 "It's become far more homogenous, far more middle-class than
 working-class," said John Dillman, who sells used books. "It will look
 like Boca Raton. A version of Boca Raton that has risque."
 In truth, the French Quarter was largely untouched by Katrina's fury.
 But it suffered financially anyway.
 Some nightspots really are gone. O'Flaherty's, an Irish pub known for
 its soul-warming reels and TVs tuned to World Cup soccer, is gone. So
 too is the 125-year-old Maison Hospitaliere, a nursing home that began
 as a home for Confederate widows. Bella Luna, La Madeleine and the Old
 New Orleans Cookery - some of the popular eateries - fell victim to
 Katrina. The Little Shop of Fantasy, a Mardi Gras mask shop run by two
  sisters, cleared out of the Quarter and went online, like so many 
 Quarter businesses. And after 83 years, Hurwitz Mintz shuttered its
 flagship furniture shop on Royal Street.
 Since Katrina, the real estate market has been in flux, and rents have
  gone through the roof because of the overall shortage of housing in 
  In the French Quarter, there are twice as many condos for sale, from 
  before Katrina to about 180 now. Some people are moving out; others 
 trying to take advantage of the housing shortage by converting attics,
 parlor rooms, stables and slave quarters into condos.
 "I'm paying the most rent I've ever paid, and I've got the smallest
 place I've ever had," said Bob Clift, a portrait artist who waited in
 vain one recent day for customers under the live oaks on Jackson
 Square, outside St. Louis Cathedral.
 A familiar face in the Quarter for 37 years, Clift said he is planning
  to leave the city after paying about $1,000 a month for an 
 room. "Poor people can't live here anymore," he said. "Including me."
 After Katrina, waves of hurricane refugees and looters filled the
 French Quarter's streets. Then, soldiers in red berets and boots took
 Bourbon Street by storm. Then came the world's journalism corps,
 construction workers and prostitutes.
 But now it is so quiet, many people feel afraid to walk the streets at
 "I live by myself with my dog, so I really have to be careful," said
  Mikal Matton, a saleswoman at a jewelry shop. "That really bothers 
 Because of a spate of robberies, some stores and bars are locking up
 early. Several street shootings, a fatal stabbing and a murder-suicide
  in which a man murdered and cooked his girlfriend have put residents 
 "I'm taking gun classes now," said Mary McGinn, who works for a French
  Quarter real estate agency. She said she a mugger knocked her down 
 18 outside the gate to her home, and she hit her head on a concrete
 step. It took 35 staples to close the gash.
 "He got $60. Whoop-de-doo!" she said, gamely smiling in a neck brace.
 Police blame the spike in crime on the storm.
 "Some of these areas the criminals used to hang out in aren't there
 anymore, so they're coming down to the French Quarter," said Capt.
 Kevin Anderson, the Quarter's police commander.
 But he insisted the Quarter is safe, largely because there are 45 more
 officers on patrol than before the storm. And he said crime is down
 from 2004 in all categories except assault.
 "We're dealing primarily with a perception problem," he said. "When
 someone gets shot in the French Quarter, it's not just national news,
 it's international news." "


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