New Orleans French Quarter: Protecting Our Memories (& Future)

New Orleans French Quarter: Protecting Our Memories (& Future)

New Orleans French Quarter Memories

For all of us that grew up in and around New Orleans, the French Quarter played a major role in our lives. Can’t you remember as a teenager on Friday and Saturday nights driving up and down Bourbon Street?  Or maybe after a date, it was a late night of coffee and beignets at Morning Call or Café’ du Monde.  Who can’t remNew Orleans Historic French Quarterember walking up and down Bourbon and Canal Street on hot and cold Mardi Gras days? These are all the cherished memories that provide the foundation for our love of the French Quarter.

How will current and future generations remember our beloved French Quarter? When they think of the New Orleans French Quarter, will they remember it with fear amplified by New Orleans policemen on every corner? Or will it be the sights and smells of the French Quarter – policemen on every corner, trash and the stench of uncollected garbage? Will they share our love or will it become a place merely to generate tourist dollars to feed other parts of the City?

After Hurricane Katrina the New Orleans French Quarter was revitalized, not by tourists, but rather local residents. Together we all realized the health and welfare of the French Quarter, as well as our love for it, was not only important, but vital to our recovery.

New Orleans Historic French Quarter  After KatrinaNow, eight years later, the Katrina money designated for the New Orleans French Quarter has been spent on other things. The promise of British Petroleum (BP) money ($15 million) for tourism in the French Quarter has and continues to be spent on attorneys and solving the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana budget annual budget problems.

Our historic French Quarter can and must be saved! Both current and past actions of our politicians clearly show that can’t be trusted to do “the right thing.” It is our responsibility as citizens to preserve for future generations our wonderful legacy. But, it can’t happen without our involvement.

Saving the French Quarter

The following is just a short list of the things that “must” be done:

  • Clean up the filth in the entire French Quarter – as we drive from New Orleans Airport to downtown, the trash & filth seems to multiply. How embarrassed are you when you see the filth in the French Quarter and smell the odors that reek from the streets? When Sidney Torres’ company SDT Waste was in charge of the French Quarter, it was clean and smelled wonderful. One of Mayor Landrieu’s first actions when elected was to renegotiate and reduce SDT’s contract by 25% – the filth and trash in the French Quarter has been back since that time. It makes you wonder about Landrieu’s priorities!
  • Demand better police protection – we all know the area between Iberville and Canal Street on Bourbon is one of the most dangerous places in the French Quarter – yet, gun fights continue to occur there. The next time you travel in the French Quarter, watch the NOPD – they are clustered together, chewing the fat as local residents and tourists face the criminal element alone.
  • Give Away Programs by the Mayor’s office – think about using the hundreds of dollars wasted by the French Market Corporation with below rate Commercial space and apartments in the Upper Pontalba – just think what could be done with that money if it was used in an open and honest manner.
  • And On & On – seldom does a day pass that we don’t hear of more corruption or “good ole boy deals” in the City of New Orleans – whether it’s the Sewerage & Water Board, the Airport, the Lakefront, or so many others – these are funds that could go to saving and beautifying the French Quarter.

Can you imagine not having a French Quarter to share with future generations? If we allow the crime, filth, and political corruption to continue, it may not be there to share. Just because you live in Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. John, St. Charles, St. Bernard, or any other of the surrounding parishes, don’t think what goes on in New Orleans doesn’t impact you.  In the famous words of John F. Kennedy, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” We are all together in the New Orleans boat. If we don’t all get involved with what’s happening in the French Quarter, we will all face the consequences of “the falling tide.”

Together we can make the changes necessary to save the New Orleans French Quarter. But you must get involved. I welcome your comments and thoughts.

Ron G. Cheek, PhD

College Entrepreneurship Professor, Serial Entrepreneur, Social Media Expert, & True Lover of the State of Louisiana

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