Continuing the discussion from Not Feminism 101:
I decided to start a new thread on this, because I got some new info on the situation down in NOLA. @ChickieD, @LearnedCoward, @AndyHilmer, @Donald_Petersen, @gadgetgirl, @knoxblox, anyone else who was involved in this conversation, might be interested.
I was joking about a Chilis opening up on Bourbon street, and those of us who’ve been lucky enough to spend time in NOLA know how that utterly ruin the character of that street and of the French Quarter. It’s not meant to be a family friend place, necessarily and it has it’s own culture that many outsiders come to enjoy. But it turns out that it’s not Chilis who want to buy property on Bourbon street. It’s actually Disney. Apparently, they’ve been buying up land around NOLA since Katrina, and have plans, among other things, to build a swamp amusement type park or some such outside of town. But they also want to set up shop on Bourbon street itself and have the backing of city government. It’s gentrification par excellence… Think about the transformation of Times Square into the shopping district it is today.
So… thoughts on this?
I have never been to New Orleans (and in fact I don’t remember ever being in Times Square either), but it sure sounds like Typical Disney. They’ll do just about anything to make a buck, and try to transform anything (even or especially longstanding American icons) into permanent buck-making Disney properties.
First thought: Pirates of the Caribbean: Landfall.
Disney being Disney, they may keep the architecture. The rest will get bowdlerised.
The other thing it could kill is anything “street” about the culture. There’s a couple of art festivals in TO like this: they make a lot of noise about “community” and “participation”, and then they bring in all these artists and make it very clear it’s “us artist, you audience”. And the audiences are very tightly controlled.
I can just an animatronic Lincoln in his Memorial on the mall greeting visitors.
Gross. I just don’t even get it, really, there’s more than enough space for family-friendly stuff to exist in NOLA.
Something else that scares me about the whole thing is that Louisiana is already so stratified in terms of income inequality. Right now, you can take your kids to City Park, for free. State parks for a couple bucks. But going to a Children’s Museum in either NOLA or BTR is like 16 bucks a person - for me and my kid, $32, minimum. This state refuses to levy anything resembling a reasonable taxation rate. So are nice, public, free things like City Park and Crescent Park going to get squeezed so Disney can wring a little more blood from a stone? Fuck that.
First Times Square, now New Orleans? Yeesh.
What’s next, downtown Detroit?
They could use all those highway ramps to make a Motor City Roller Coaster…
I have mixed feelings… Things change. I am glad I got to see the French Quarter before Katrina. No it currently is not a family friendly place but part of me is maybe we can move past t-shirt shops and titty bars too. I am a bigger fan of the music and food and if that stays I would be okay. Chili’s though…shudder
I know that the neighborhood I grew up in in St. Louis is not radically different than when I left 20+ years ago and in an interesting way. And judging by historical data it was a different neighborhood 20+ years before that.
Where I live now in Seattle things are changing rapidly everywhere and yes it isn’t the same place as 20 years ago and like above when I dug into the history it wasn’t the same place 20 years before that, and etc.
The t-shirt shops are part of the commercial sell out. The strip clubs have been there much longer.
When I was growing up the souvenir places and tour places and cheap daiquiri shops were starting to push out small local businesses. I think the worst of it was in the 90’s into the 00’s but I don’t have numbers. That was when there seemed to be a new tourist trap every few months in the Decatur area where I hung out.
The music venues are in peril. There have been increases in fees for live music that have shutdown some places outside of Bourbon and Frenchman, which get the highest foot traffic. Although the stuff I like often just moves to cheaper “bad” neighborhoods.
I’m less informed about the last 5 years or so.
That’s true … and I think something to be wary of, particularly in places of high endemic poverty where people can’t escape easily. I grew up in Minnesota, and something that is/was an issue there is the neglect of public spaces in favor of commercial spaces (think Mall of America; article here https://www.minnpost.com/cityscape/2015/03/complex-role-malls-private-sort-public-spaces). So when people can’t afford to leave, but they can’t afford to stay, what happens? How do you live in a city when resources are constantly being diverted from public infrastructure to luring private infrastructure when you’re poor? NOLA needs to grapple with this, and I think they’re going the way of my old home …
This is what happened while I was living in Austin. People want the “Austin” experience, so you get hotels and condos on Sixth Street, or the Red River district. And then complaining that they can hear music. So the areas around venues go from sort of seedy and cheap to high-rent, with all the business owners squeezed out. And where are the service folks who pour the drinks living? I don’t even know any more, since I moved away.
Austin had a chance to embrace forward-thinking affordable housing, and didn’t. Instead, they embraced businesses and luring business. My husband and I got out at the right time, but now we’re watching the same thing happen in our new home.
Well fuck. Looks like NOLA is going to be Disneyfied. Which means there goes the character of the city.
This could be a good thing… if Snow White flashes her boobs during Mardi Gras.
Disney themed strippers? #fightback
The problem isn’t really things like cleaning up crime, which is something that people in NOLA have been asking for for years (and which the cops aren’t really good at anyway, acting as if crime relates to skin color instead of activity). The problem is that the area becomes stratified, and only really fully available to those with money. The very real communities that people have managed to carve out get replaces by faux communities, not built around real relationships, but around economic relationships. And keep in mind that any grassroots efforts made on behalf of community improvement, BY community members go right out the window so that Disney can charge an arm and a leg for a sanitized simulacra of Storyville. In the case of Detroit, neighborhoods there, which were suffering from blight have found ways to use that land - community farms, etc. And if corporations are buying up the land, that all goes away.
Finally an appropriate setting for that Disney princess lingerie!
I’m glad my money wasn’t wasted.
The question to ask is who are the winners and losers. Plenty of people got pushed out of their homes after Katrina, and they can’t afford to go back. At what point do we start to worry about the destruction of local cultures to make way for a sanitized corporate world?
Bourbon street is the one place a family can go and get good and fucked up together. Now if Disney can add a little more fun into that, hey, bring it on. But you cannot take the hurricanes and strippers away, the weird stench, the drunk dudes trying to trade beads for sex.
Of course, they’ll take the strippers and hurricanes away - and replace them with low paid waitresses who get twice the sexual harassment and none of the financial benefits. Because WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!