Thursday, December 31, 2015

A map for your consideration

We're still another week or so away from Carnival season but, since there's already some discussion on Twitter this week, here's a map that demonstrates what's fast becoming the most pressing concern.  It's the variety of parade routes across the metro area circa 1977.

The consolidation of the parade routes was already happening gradually but it really began to accelerate after Katrina when our then two "Uptown" and "Downtown" routes on the East Bank of Orleans Parish shrunk down to the one Uptown route plus Endymion as a one-off for Mid-City.

In recent years, the situation has gotten even worse as more and more suburban parades move on to St. Charles. The result is a situation where what was once a regional celebration experienced in many venues in varies styles at different levels of intensity, is becoming one long monotonous event.

Worse, still, channeling everything onto St. Charles has made the Carnival experience there a more intensely tourist centered event  than it has ever been. Meanwhile the notion that Carnival only happens in one part of the city only serves to further promote the notion that  that part of town is itself a tourist zone. And so the rent goes up there. Airbnbs proliferate there. The whole thing becomes a self reinforcing stereotype.

Eventually we're left with an event staged only for visitors and relegated to a part of town where nobody actually lives. Is that what we want?

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