Destination: Louisiana

Video You Must See: Six Flags, After Katrina

Video You Must See: Six Flags, After Katrina Photo by Infrogmation via Flickr (Creative Commons)

An eerie look at Six Flags New Orleans. The park has been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina, and is scheduled for demolition in January.

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BP to Spend Millions on Louisiana Tourism Promotion

The funds, totaling $78 million, will also help promote the Louisiana seafood industry.

According to Business Week:

BP has paid out $87 million to Gulf Coast states for tourism promotion, and has so far committed to an additional $30 million to Louisiana. The company has also promised $68 million to Louisiana and Florida for seafood testing and product marketing.

I wonder whether any of that money will help fund travel-writer junkets to the region. As we noted in September, some BP money already has, prompting a debate about the ethics of a such a trip.

Nine Great Stories About New Orleans

new orleans Photo by Wayne Curtis

To mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we've collected stories from our archives that explore the city's heartbreak, passion and rebirth

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Spike Lee and the ‘Bipolar Parlance of Life’ in New Orleans

Spike Lee’s new documentary, If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise, is airing on HBO this week. It’s a follow-up to his award-winning 2006 Katrina documentary, “When the Levees Broke,” and Salon’s Billy Sothern, a NOLA resident, says it nails the voice of the city. Money quote:

The people telling the story in this documentary are many of the same people whose names appear in the paper. Some are policy wonks; others, activists or artists; but nearly all are fervent New Orleanians. Some of them speak in a strongly held hyperbole that hints at madness or mania, both about the good and the bad here. There are angry words, never precisely defined, about “the powers that be” and their efforts at “ethnic cleansing” on the one hand, and on the other, references to the Saints’ Super Bowl win that suggest a local belief that the victory was an act of God, as if New Orleans, like the long-suffering Job, had been rewarded for its faith. This is the bipolar parlance of life here, stemming from the widely held belief that the city is vastly better than, worse than, and not really a part of the rest of the country.

(Via The Atlantic)

Dear Gumbo: ‘You Haunt Me’

Intelligent Travel’s Aimee Brown, currently traveling on the Gulf Coast, has an open letter to the Louisiana stand-by. Here’s a sample:

I find you rich with a depth that speaks to an unknown source. You haunt me. I taste in you hope and fear. There is darkness in your roux, and your scent suggests all that Louisiana is. Lust, love, dark alleys, open arms, bayous that hold within them hidden threats of danger and beauty.

Made of simple ingredients—shrimp, crab, crawfish, and spices—you are more than the sum of your parts. You are formed by the hands of people who belong to this place. Because of that so do you.

President Obama on the Gulf Coast: ‘Come Down Here and Visit’

The POTUS is visiting the Gulf Coast today—and he’s urging other Americans to do the same. USA Today’s The Oval blog quotes Obama:

There’s still a lot of opportunity for visitors to come down here. There are a lot of beaches that have not been affected and will not be affected. If people want to help, the best way to help is to come down here and visit.

The Oval dubs the suggestion “oil spill tourism,” but I’m not sure voyeur-style disaster tourism is quite what Obama has in mind. Still, whether it comes in the form of beachgoers who manage to avoid the spill or the morbidly curious aiming to witness its effects, it’s good to see tourism to the beleaguered area being encouraged.

Can’t make it in person anytime soon? World Hum contributor Robert Reid is tweeting from the Florida panhandle. Elsewhere, The Big Picture has a sobering photo essay illustrating the spill’s effects nearly two months in.

‘Treme’: TV’s Best-Ever Take on New Orleans?

Slate’s Josh Levin, a NOLA native, thinks so. Our own take on the city, courtesy of contributor Adam Karlin, is here.

On Becoming a Tour Guide

new orleans tilt shift Photo by Wayne Curtis

Not just any tour guide. Wayne Curtis passed the drug test and is now officially licensed in New Orleans. You are now required to believe everything he says -- even that bit about Brad Pitt.

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New Orleans: It’s About to Get Weirder

New Orleans: It’s About to Get Weirder REUTERS/Sean Gardner

After a landmark mayoral election and the Saints' Super Bowl win, Adam Karlin believes the spirit of NOLA is undergoing a tectonic shift.

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Video: Saints Super Bowl Victory Party in New Orleans

I’m not much of a football fan, but as a traveler who got hooked on the Crescent City awhile back I can’t get enough of this video. From the music to the Magazine St. bars to the Mardi Gras-bead-wearing beat cops, it’s all NOLA.

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates)

King of the Road: Five Great Elvis Travel Movies

Eva Holland and Eli Ellison go traveling with The King on his 75th birthday.

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New Orleans: The Tourists are Back

New Orleans: The Tourists are Back Photo by tim eschaton via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by tim eschaton via Flickr (Creative Commons)

With the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina being marked this weekend, and the re-building still ongoing, there’s some hopeful news for New Orleans: Tourism in the city is creeping steadily back towards pre-disaster levels. USA Today crunches the numbers.

Yeah You Right: A New Orleans Manifesto

Yeah You Right: A New Orleans Manifesto Photo by David Paul Ohmer, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

After spending two months in NOLA writing a guidebook, Adam Karlin reflects on what makes the city as indispensable to the U.S. as Yellowstone and Manhattan

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Interview With Allison Chipak: Photographing Katrina’s Destruction, Four Years Later

Michael Yessis asks Allison Chipak about her haunting images of New Orleans and the state of the city for travelers

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The Haunting Houses of New Orleans

New Orleans, LA home in Lower 9th Ward, 4 years after Hurricane Katrina Photo by Allison Fay

Four years later, the city still reels from Hurricane Katrina. Allison Chipak captures some of the destruction and decay that still remains.

See the full photo slideshow »