"What a difference a day makes", is an old saying, but in the case of New Orleans, Louisiana, "What a difference 11 months makes."
I had the extreme pleasure to return to New Orleans mid-July 2006 to attend the 4th Annual Tales of the Cocktail (TOC), for which Luxury Experience Magazine was a proud media sponsor. The 2006 TOC event ended July 23, 2006 just 11 months almost to the day (August 20th, 2005) that Ms. Debra C. Argen and I departed New Orleans and the TOC 2005 event for a business trip to Sweden only to watch World CNN and view the now infamous Hurricane Katrina devastate the South Central part of the United States. During the past 11 months we have diligently stayed in contact with our many friends and business associates within the New Orleans area.
Luxury Experience Magazine published a series of articles, with the support and encouragement of the New Orleans Tour Board, on "The Big Easy", as New Orleans is so fondly called, in the November 2005 edition. We received positive feedback from our readership, as well as from our New Orleans friends as they did not wish for this area of the world to be forgotten or buried under the mounds of negative newspaper rubble that followed the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
When we heard from The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society that they had officially scheduled Tales of the Cocktail 2006, Luxury Experience was one of the first groups to sign up as a media sponsor, and Luxury Experience started to support the event in any manner we could. My travels take me around the world and I truly understand the critical economic position that tourism has on certain economies, and within the New Orleans economy, tourism plays a significant role, more on this later.
Now out of the front pages of our newspapers, except for the selective story here or there, we must not forget this historic and impossible to duplicate city. Yes, there is still a lot of issues surrounding New Orleans for which I will not provide any written exposure, I will leave that to the newspapers and the authorities who are on top of the day-to-day issues; I will say that for each and everyone of us to help out the people of New Orleans all we have to do is travel to this beautiful city and experience the tastes, sounds and most of all the people. The feedback I got from many of the locals is that 95-98% of what tourists like to experience in the area, that being the French Quarter and the Garden District are intact and just awaiting your visit. Economics starts with money, and with tourism supporting over 14% of the jobs in New Orleans, which is 4+% more than other areas in the United States, they need your support in the form of tourism not just donations, and for your ‘tourism donation' the gracious people of New Orleans will show you a tremendous time. The world famous New Orleans restaurants and chefs are back and serving their unbelievable dishes, the bars are back playing that New Orleans sound and mixing superb cocktails, the hotels are awaiting your check-in so they can show their unique hospitality, and the street performers are coming back and are awaiting your presence at one of their performances; all that is missing is you.
Yes, there is still over 65% of the population in the residential areas of New Orleans without electricity and running water, and many of the proud inhabitants are doing whatever they can do to stay and work in the area. I heard some unbelievable stories, as each one had a different twist or turn, but the common feeling was don't take pity, do not forget the people, and come and experience firsthand all that New Orleans has to offer. Though the trip may not be tax deductible as your donations were, this is one heck of a better way to contribute to the rebuilding of this proud city.
I thank you for your continued support of Luxury Experience Magazine, and as always, your comments are welcome, so please send comments to:
© August 2006. Luxury Experience. www.luxuryexperience.com. All rights reserved.