Posts tagged “New Orleans

French Quarter Flattery Revisited

Posted on May 16, 2014

Two years ago I posted “Sincerest Flattery in Tourist Lands,” highlighting a few notable examples of places outside New Orleans that mimic the famed French Quarter. Since that time I have discovered so many more such examples of the “sincerest form of flattery” that it’s worth revisiting the subject. Ranging from careful replication of what is sometimes called the “French Quarter Revival” style in resorts and theme parks to hackneyed adornments on otherwise ordinary apartment complexes, French Quarter-style architecture dots the American landscape. Of course what we call French Quarter-style architecture is in fact far from unique to the French Quarter. Many New Orleans structures outside the Vieux Carré also have original ironwork, and many more have added it. Many cities in the South…

The Super Easy

Posted on February 3, 2013

The pageantry of New Orleans is on display for all the world as the Super Bowl returns to the Big Easy for the tenth time–tying the city with Miami as the most frequent host–and the first time since Hurricane Katrina. This year, with the game coinciding with the official twelve-day Carnival celebration (hence the nickname “Super Gras”), the city has pulled out all the stops in its savvy marketing of the New Orleans brand. The big show may be about the Ravens, the 49ers, and Beyonce’s halftime extravaganza, but tourism promoters have assured that the city will shine through it all and leave lasting impressions. To an even greater degree than on the eve of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, Super Bowl XLVII preparations…

Sincerest Flattery in Tourist “Lands”

Posted on July 14, 2012

Although tourist destinations often trade on their distinctive visual presence, often there is no lack of imitation to go along with the unique.  Replicas of other places have long been a hallmark of tourism.  Well before its renown for country music, Nashville, Tennessee, styled itself as the “Athens of the South” and even built a full-size Parthenon for its Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897.  In more recent years, Las Vegas has borrowed architecture unabashedly from places as far-flung as New York and Venice. Few places have inspired more imitations than the New Orleans French Quarter, one of the featured destinations in American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition.  Much enamored of the Vieux Carré, Walt Disney added New Orleans Square, a miniaturized version of the…

Tourists Trampling Gotham?

Posted on May 25, 2012

The latest post on the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, “Attention High Line Tourists,” demonstrates well one kind of reaction to the impact of tourism in cities: signs warning tourists to tread lightly in surrounding neighborhoods. The High Line, of course, refers to one of the most decidedly “in” places to “do” in Manhattan: a former elevated railroad right of way recast as a linear green space three years ago. The High Line works as a tourist attraction not just because it affords a new perspective on the city but also because it passes through neighborhoods that promise steady use and points of interest. Yet the High Line isn’t an unalloyed success in everyone’s eyes. If artists are often the spark that ignites gentrification,…

Imbibing History at the Old Absinthe House

Posted on May 24, 2012

One hundred twenty-eight years after General Andrew Jackson plotted against the British with the pirate Jean Lafitte, setting up the Battle of New Orleans, in 1943 Owen Brennan (patriarch of the famed family of New Orleans restaurateurs) bought the Old Absinthe House, where these meetings are said to have occurred. The Old Absinthe House, located at 240 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, began as the corner grocery for a Spanish importer in 1806 before being converted to a saloon. Only much later in the 19th century did it take its present name, which derives from a potent liquor it began serving. Its connections to a pirate and an illicit beverage made it irresistible to Brennan, who would later buy the Vieux Carré Restaurant…

A Pre-Preservation, Anti–French Quarter Monument

Posted on May 15, 2012

This ca. 1908 postcard is just one of some 30,000 vintage postcards from the Curt Teich Postcard Archives at Lake County Discovery Museum in Lake County, Illinois, that are available for online viewing. It is a rich resource for documenting the places tourists visited a century ago. This card shows the view one would have beheld when standing at Royal and St. Louis Streets and looking southwest (upriver) toward the Monteleone Hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter. On the right side of Royal Street is the architecture for which the world knows New Orleans. The Court House shown at left was a new addition to the Vieux Carré. Built in the Beaux-Arts style that was popular for civic buildings around the turn of the century (thanks…

Neighborhood or Hospitality Zone?

Posted on May 9, 2012

The Third Battle of New Orleans* is raging, as reported in yesterday’s Times-Picayune. Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans tourism interests are concerned that the city’s French Quarter and its immediate surrounding neighborhoods and downtown as tourist destinations have failed to rebound as completely as hoped after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The inflow of tourists, 8.75 million last year, is less than the 11 million before Katrina and a far cry from the city’s ambitious goal of 13 million by 2018, which marks the tricentennial of the city’s founding. Landrieu’s father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor forty years ago and was instrumental in creating a much tighter partnership between the municipal government and the tourism industry, but today’s pro-tourism effort builds upon a much more powerful…