The NBA has decided to play its 2017 All-Star game in New Orleans, the league announced Friday.Previously, when this event has been staged in New Orleans, not everyone thought it was such a "special experience."
The news comes a few weeks after the league took the game from Charlotte over a controversial law that some have criticized as discriminatory against the LGBT community.
The game is scheduled for the first big weekend of Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. There is no immediate word on if the parade schedule and routes will be adjusted, however, Carnival activities are expected to play a part in the event.
"The combination of NBA All-Star with the first weekend of Mardi Gras will provide our residents, visitors and NBA fans an even more special experience," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
In an unusual private takeover of New Orleans' pre-eminent public gathering place, Jackson Square will shut down tonight to host a private party for 2,500 people drawn from the ranks of pro basketball stars, politicians and other invited guests in town for Sunday's NBA All-Star Game.I wonder how the street artists and musicians will feel about being pushed out during the first weekend of parades this time. We're supposed to be happy for the "tourism leaders" who made this event happen. It's hard to do that when those leaders freeze everyone else out of the money. We're also supposed to be proud of the symbolic social justice victory in this move. But, again, this thing where we all have to move out of the way for the benefit of the NBA's PR department makes that difficult as well.
The reception, featuring 20 food vendors, live music on three stages and a second-line parade, will honor volunteers, including NBA players, who are scheduled to participate today in 10 rebuilding projects across the city. The NBA has paid $5,000, plus a $2,500 deposit to cover damage and litter pickup, to rent the square and a pair of alleys next to St. Louis Cathedral, a mayoral spokesman said.
As part of a four-day basketball showcase expected to produce major economic benefits for the city, the "2008 Celebration of Contribution" party is expected to draw a cadre of famous customers to merchants' shops along Jackson Square. But musicians, artists and tarot card readers who peddle their services on the square's slate-lined streets are crying foul, saying the party is leaving them on the sidelines during a potentially huge payday.