March 16th, 2009
09:45 AM ET

Signs of recovery in the Big Easy?

Program Note: Tune in tonight for “Road to Rescue: A CNN Survival Guide.” AC360° is traveling to five cities in five days to see how the economy is impacting people across the country. Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TRAVEL/02/20/mardi.gras.tourism/art.mardi.gras.file.gi.jpg caption="A crowd of people try to catch beads on Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday last year."]

Kay Jones
AC360° Editorial Producer

The economy may be bad, but for some reason, it didn’t feel that way flying into New Orleans last night.

The flight was full, mostly of school groups coming to volunteer on their Spring Break. I took a brief stroll down Bourbon Street, which was pretty crowded last night.

I remember a time when you could go to dinner on a Sunday night in New Orleans and not have to wait at all for a table, and that is if the restaurant was even open. It took 20 minutes for me to get seated, and there were full tables and lines out the door at several of Team 360’s favorite places to eat.

Signs of a recovery here in the Big Easy? I’m sure it’s not that simple, but 3 ½ years after Katrina hit, the city is definitely seeing some kind of tourist resurgence. It’s got to mean big dividends in the long run for this area.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Kay Jones • Road to Rescue
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Don

    Its the gumbo! Now that's a good stimulus.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Isabel, Brazil

    The passion for the work brings profit.

    If we can combine the two things, there are more chances of success. And when we chasing a dream, with responsibility, and we can to achieve our goal, there is no greater reward, especially if reward come with a fair wage.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  3. Stephanie

    It doesn't feel like any recovery here to me – my husband was laid off last week and the same has happened to many friends in the last month.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  4. Melissa

    I work in the hotel industry in the city. Its really been fairly busy, all things considered (though its quieted down a bit since Mardi Gras). My boss says that its because having fun is one of the things people aren't willing to give up when they need escape from tough times. I'm inclined to think he's right.

    March 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  5. Baze

    This is a sign of Obama's inspired young people movement

    March 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Marcia, Warren MI

    We all have to remember that it took New Orleans 200 yrs to get where it was pre Katrina so no the recovery is not going to happen over night, but they are making progress. The fact that volunteers still go down there is great, but what about the local officials they are the ones who seem to be dragging their feet. It's about time people start asking Ray Nagin why is he putting up so many roadblocks to the good that can be one.

    March 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  7. Janet deFee

    Signs of recovery: everything as it was before K in the quarter & uptown, but then those areas weren't hurt too bad. Go to Chalmette & the 9th ward, & see a darker, different world. I feel our recovery has bee hampered by the worst mayor in the U.S.: Ray Nagin. He is a joke but not a very funny one for our city.

    March 16, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  8. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Don't confuse "sin" with economic recovery--they are related--but not universally applied.

    March 16, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  9. Lolly

    Louisiana is the only state not in an official recession. This speaks more to the huge impact of the hurricane than the financial progress of the state. People need to come back to New Orleans: spend your money, spend your time. New Orleans is many many many years away from being in a good, or should I say, decent play. The American public is being fooled if they think that New Orleans/LA is progressing as it should. Where is all the media attention being paid to the empty lots, to people still waiting to return home, to the 1,600 people still living in FEMA trailers 3.5 years later.

    March 16, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  10. Tina

    You probably won't see as many people in the summer, fall and early winter months, but toward the end of winter and all spring, People are in 'Mardi Gras' mode. Check out your favorite spots in October and see if there's a wait on Sunday nights.

    March 16, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  11. Alex: Baton Rouge, LA

    New Orleans will never lose its reputation as being the "Mardi Gras City." Even after a major hurricane, New Orleans still thrives and will continue to thrive.

    Despite the economic recession, we continue to see a large population from Michigan migrating to Louisiana to seek jobs. I believe that this is currently one of the factors driving our state economy.

    Let's see what we have in stock for the future.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  12. Pati Mc

    Awesome Kay...FINALLY a little good news for NOLA; and something for me to smile about. Many thanks! Travel safely you guys.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  13. Angie

    drive 10 minutes from Bourbon St and you'll see how the poor parts of NOLA look.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  14. marti, alabama

    ask the people who live there. my friends tell me about the services that are still not regular or even running. the infrastructure is still shaky. there is a willing heart, but the body is still weak.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  15. Maria

    Happy morning Kay,
    I agree with you, this is a sign of recovery.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  16. Cindy

    People will always "party" in places like NOLA even when there are tough times.

    IMO the only places in NOLA that were built back up are the places that make the state money. The places that don't still look like a wasteland and like Katrina just hit yesterday. So NO..I don't think NOLA is any where near fixed or moving on.


    March 16, 2009 at 10:00 am |