New Orleans Stirs Back to Life

by Jan Frazier

New Orleans (Washington Insider Magazine) Tourists are starved for entertainment and are flocking back to Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. As a result of the pandemic, Frenchmen Street has been silent for over a year. 

Typically, Frenchmen Street is bustling with activity and music, but things have been different in the last year. Recently, however, New Orleans has displayed signs of life. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell started to allow musicians and live performances to return to New Orleans in mid-March. With a surge in tourists, they are now hurrying to make up for what they lost during the pandemic. They are eager to “experience the city’s celebratory culture that many says represents everything the pandemic isn’t.”

Douglas Emmer, co-owner of the Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street, reported, “It’s like being reborn. This is like opening night in 2009. And everyone that comes in is just smiling.”  Since reopening for 50 percent capacity about six weeks ago, the Club has sold out almost every night.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, New Orleans has shown signs of “managing the pandemic” as the positivity rates for the virus in the city has stayed at one percent for the past two months. In addition, 54 percent of all people over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

There are other American cities that rely on tourism for their incomes, and they, too, are seeing an upsurge of tourists. Las Vegas, Nashville, and New York City have all had an increase in tourism. 

According to American Airlines, it is now flying “90 percent of the number of flights it flew in 2019,” and they are also including “popular destinations such as Orlando, Tampa, and New Orleans.”

New Orleans has a budget of 100,000 jobs that have been affected by the pandemic, and they rely on tourism for 42 percent of their income. “Indoor dining, restaurants, and bars are allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity with distancing and masks, though dance clubs are closed.”

John Clark, a Dallas retired journalist, was seated one night at a street-side table at the Spotted Cat, and remarked, “New Orleans is a very special place because of the music, and I there’s a certain joie de vivre that you don’t encounter in some other places.”

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