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New Orleans is back… or is it?

September 14, 2010

With the dawn of hurricane season and the anniversary of hurricane Katrina recently passing on August 29th, I felt it appropriate to look at how PR is used to get people back to New Orleans, and to get tourism back to the city. Are the PR tactics behind it all effectively working or are they failing at the bigger picture.
I think of New Orleans post Katrina as a Monet painting looks great from a distance but up close it’s a big ole mess. When you look at all of the areas they are putting money into you see that the city is back up and running better than ever. They campaigns put on paint a picture of a city that is celebrating and a tourist attraction. However, when you look closely and into what lies beyond the tourist attractions you see devastation and parts of the city that are severely unpopulated because they lack the investment to sustain a population. New Orleans East was an area of expensive homes and a more suburban area outside the city, now it does not even have a hospital or grocery store for the community to sustain a community. The CNN documentary “New Orleans Rising” brought attention to the locals and what is really going on 5 years later by focusing in on the community Pontchartrain Park. Actor Wendell Pierce has taken it upon himself to rally the community of Pontchartrain Park and the residents who lived there pre Katrina to pick themselves up and put the community back together. Pontchartrain Park is a historic community that was not on the list to be rebuilt, but the residents decided otherwise.

5 years later and tourism is booming, great! But now it’s time to focus on the locals, the people who make the New Orleans what it truly is. I say put the money back into the community so people will be able to return to their homes and start over. This will build the foundation to keep people from not only wanting to come and party in the city, and visit, but to live there and raise their children.
The PR behind bringing people back to New Orleans as a whole is great, but the focus on tourism has left the people, the heart and soul of the city out in the cold.

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