That's quickly becoming Baton Rouge's new name. New Orleanians are knowns as Yats. It has something to do with the way they say "Where y'at?". I guess there's been a more accurate census and Baton Rouge has approximately 80,000 new residents. A lot of New Orleans businesses are packing up and moving up here. They had an interview with one business owner that restarted his business here. He said that some of his old regulars are still his regulars because they've all moved here.
Today a judge is hearing arguments from evacuees that are being evicted from hotels. They feel that the January 7th deadline is "premature". Puh-lease. I guess the hotel owners are also starting to get very angry because these people won't leave. Reports are that the hotels are getting torn up. Supposedly the Governor of Texas is offering all evacuees a one way bus ticket out of the state because the hotels in Texas are having the same problems. To say the situation is getting frustrating is putting it mildly.
Traffic is still really bad. They've been talking about how since Katrina traffic accidents have doubled or tripled or whatever. Crime has gotten pretty bad too. There seems to be a lot more murder. I don't know if it actually has increased, but it seems like it has, common sense would indicate that it would. I think New Orleans was somewhere in the top three for most dangerous cities in the country and Baton Rouge was like 11th, so in just those numbers it seems like we'd shoot straight to the top of the list. Add to that a overcrowding problem and a uncertain future, and you can only imagine. I know that was another thing that prompted the Texas Governor to offer the bus tickets.
I'm starting to think that New Orleans isn't going to get back on it's feet. At least not anywhere near what it used to be. Too many businesses are failing there. They can't get employees to work, because there's nowhere for them to live. They don't have enough customers. Supplies and merchadise shipments are irregular. I saw an interview with some hot shot lawyer and he said that some parts of the city are back to normal on the surface, but instead of having his power lunches in a crowded restaurant, he and his guests might be the only ones there, and it takes 3 weeks to get his suits dry cleaned.
Attempts at tourism have been met with disdain. Greyhound bus line has started running Katrina tours. For $35/person you get a bus tour of the damage in New Orleans. They're trying to organized Mardi Gras, but Nagin is shopping for a corporate sponsor for the entire event. So it could be something like The American Express Mardi Gras. Gag me. I'd rather it be some small event with local people than some big corporate sponsored event.
So that's my Katrina update