Future New Orleans: the optimistic view
Even as we cannot gainsay the pessimistic view of the New New Orleans, we know that the city will come back, its tourist attractions separated from its container port. What will be New New Orleans’ future? Consider another city that once was a port and is now something else:
Vaporetto, the floating bus, heading toward San Marco
Torcello, five kilometers into the lagoon
Disease was rife, plague common. After one such bout, the Venetians built Il Redentore (the Redeemer) (1577), celebrating the city’s delivery from the plague.
It didn’t work, and the plague returned:
In October of 1630, after nearly a third of
And they did, starting in 1631, completing in 1667. On the point of the Dorsoduro across from Piazza San Marco now stands Santa Maria della Salute, Holy Mary of Health.
Meanwhile, plague or no, palazzi sank and had to be shored up.
Since everything had to move by water, building costs were exorbitant. The city could support only the highest-end of manufacturing — glass-blowing — and soon even that too moved, off
So too the port, as the lagoon silted up, and Venice’s port moved to Mestre, today a hideous grim greasy smokestack blur from the Autostrada.
Venetians have been saying for thirty years that their city is nothing more than a museum. The flow of commuters demonstrates this. Before the 1970s, Venetian workers commuted daily across the lagoon to Mestre and Porto Marghera on the mainland, where they had industrial jobs, mostly in chemical plants. By the mid-1970s, they could no longer afford city rents; then heavy industry began to decline. Now Venetian workers live on the mainland and commute back to
For a long time
Sir, the United States of America in Congress assembled, judging that an intercourse between the said United States and the Most serene Republic of Venice founded on the principles of equality reciprocity and friendship, may be of mutual advantage to both nations … have now the honour to inform your Excellency … that we are ready to enter negotiation whenever a full power from the said Most serene Republic of Venice shall appear for the purpose.
J. Adams, B. Franklin, Th.
but during the eighteenth century both dwindled, Venice losing out to
Left behind was narcissistic
a city good for only one thing: tourism. Indeed, tourism has been its salvation, so much that the Italian government is proposing to protect
Though it draws tourism year-round, among the city’s main events is carnivale, whose
Does this sound like any American city you know?
The more complex the mind, said the host of the amusement planet in a great Star Trek episode, Shore Leave, the greater its need for play … and for complex play.
Torn tunics optional, sir!
As homo urbanis’s need for leisure grows, so too grow the leisure cities.
I have seen the future, and it has bad taste.
In Superdome did Donald Trump
A garish gaming hall decree
Where big the muddy river ran
As drawn on a rebuilding plan
Down through strong new levees
Casinos are good for city government, and they generate pots of revenue. They’re not good for civitas, but their presence does mean a huge low-wage employment base, and a corresponding need for an enormous amount of sustainable affordable housing.
Indeed, even in
New construction affordable housing,