Wonder if it’s safe, or even worthwhile, to visit New Orleans after Katrina ravaged the Big Easy? Jay Cooke, of lonely planet.com, explores New Orleans post Katrina in his article New Orleans-Back to the Big Easy.
“ I went down to New Orleans on December 1 for five days to survey the scene, and report on the city’s recuperation. Make no mistake, Katrina hammered New Orleans. It’s evident everywhere that the city suffered a major calamity: trashed neighbourhoods, debris, darkened traffic signals, splintered oaks, missing pet signs, marooned motorboats, blue-tarped roofs and the oddly unsettling presence of US military troops, fully uniformed, stoically patrolling their native soil.
To the traveller, parts of the city seem borderline normal. If Katrina has a silver lining, it’s that the areas most dependent on tourism – a huge part of the Nola (New Orleans and Louisiana) economy – escaped the worst of Katrina. The 20% that didn’t flood gets about 90% of city tourism. On its long road to recovery, tourism will be even more important, a fact you’ll hear stressed all around town.
So the question remains: should you go to New Orleans? At the end, that’s a personal decision each traveller must make. This is tough travel now, no doubt. But throughout my visit, if there was one message the people of New Orleans consistently conveyed (besides ‘Build Category 5 levees’), it was simply, ‘Please return’.”