As 2010 nears it end, the Crescent City has eschewed some of it characteristic fatalism and is teetering on the edge of being…well, positive. Five years after Katrina and in the wake of the BP oil spill, the city seems to have rounded a bend. Kind of…
Violent crime has not gone away. The U.S. Department of Justice has been brought in to help oversee the New Orleans Police Department. And, there is still a housing shortage for New Orleans’ poorest citizens.
On the other hand, the citizens of New Orleans have given Mayor Mitch Landrieu an impressive 75% approval rating. And in a normally racially polarized city, Landrieu’s support crosses racial lines (78% for white respondents and 72% for African-American respondents). Compare this with a 24% approval rating for former Mayor Ray Nagin just prior to his leaving office. For more about the poll, visit nola.com.
And, as I witnessed this past spring, nothing has put a bounce in the step of New Orleans more than their World Champion New Orleans Saints. In a city lousy with parades, the Saints’ victory parade is considered the largest parade in the City’s history. And to cap it off, Sports Illustrated just named Saints’ quarterback, Drew Brees, its Sportsman of the Year.
Invariably, the doom and gloom will reemerge. Disasters, real and imagined lie on the horizon. But for now, New Orleans is exhibiting an uncharacteristically positive outlook.