We have to save New Orleans, else the essential cultural elements that make New Orleans special will disappear.
I was recently interviewed by the City about efforts to create "Equity" in New Orleans. I offered a concept I call the "Bermuda Plan"
New Orleans is the only authentic cultural destination left in America and and as such must demand a more affluent class of visitor. What makes us authentic is that our Second Lines, Parades, Brass Bands, Jazz funerals, Mardi Gras Indians, plethora of outstanding musicians, crafts people, historic architecture and signature cuisine would exist whether travelers came or not. We do what we do for us, but what we do is the reason tourist come. And the truth be told, these attractions are much too valuable to be affordable to just any body. Nobody ought to be able to enjoy New Orleans without paying significantly for such a significant experience, so we need to make them pay... so we can keep it alive.
If I were ever to consider running for Mayor, I would institute a "Bermuda plan", and I would prefer to be supportive of another candidate who would, because I'm not tripping or trying to become a politician. My work with the next generation men is enough for me, but we have to create a city where more of them can flourish.
Bermuda has virtually no crime or significant poverty, but nothing is cheap for tourist. Bermuda is not a destination for bargain hunters, but everyone makes a living wage and their cultural offerings are not even comparable to New Orleans. So why are we giving away the richness that is New Orleans and allowing the people who create the authentic cultural experiences to flounder unsupported and scuffling with wages closer to third world than the value added they deserve, for the truth is that the people who flip mattresses and bus tables are the same people who make up the processions and dance and groove to the wonder and awe of wide eyed tourist. But they are scuffling, rents rising.
Under the "Bermuda Plan" there would be a hefty 75 - 100 dollar per night occupancy tax on rooms in downtown hotels. These funds would be put in a fund to be shared by people who submit their pay stubs for working in hospitality in the same area, providing auxiliary income, and perhaps providing mini grants to the second liners, Mardi Gras Indian maskers and street musicians.
I'm suggesting that what we have to offer should be reserved for the worlds elite travelers because it is unique, authentic and so damn rich.
Everyone would make more money. Since all the situated hotels would have to pass on the charge, there would be no competitive disadvantage, and their clientele would be bigger spenders. Quality would rise! automobile dealers would sell more cars, and if we impose a similar fee on one time parking we can make the people who stay in outlying hotels pay their share share for their visits.
I know this is completely out the box, but I would suggest that any mayoral candidate who proposes such would be able to reengage struggling class voters in a way that would change the trajectory of political power, and serve also a divine mission, "What you do for the least of these, you do for me"... while floating all boats on a higher tide.