Republicans just a few weeks ago were scouring major cities across the country to find a new location for their national convention, scheduled for mid-August. The GOP had originally planned to congregate in Charlotte North Carolina, but the governor set extremely strict standards for any type of large gathering. President Trump seems dead set on going to a more friendly environment. New Orleans was initially in the running.
There is a huge financial stake involved, with some 40,000 conventioneers projected to be attendance at wherever the location may be. The economic impact is estimated to be well over $200 million. Such conventions prove to be a huge financial generator for hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, bars and a whole host of local of entertainment options the fuel the local economy of any convention city.
New Orleans is a city that has a 65% majority African American population. In addition, the two most important positions in the city are held by African Americans: Mayor and Police Chief. There are also African Americans in powerful positions throughout the city administration, the city council, the school board, the business community, and other influential organizations.
As a youngster, I loved Tulane University. I grew up in the shadows of the massive Tulane Stadium on campus and enjoyed attending many football games with my family. I participated in their basketball camp, worked tirelessly as a ball boy for the baseball team and loved playing pick-up football and basketball games with friends at various sites on the campus.
Unfortunately, the Tulane University of yesteryear is long gone. Today, it is a hyper progressive university stuffed with card carrying liberals serving as administrators, professors, and students. Conservatives need not apply or even attempt to break through the liberal stranglehold.
It looks like it’s time to get out the soap powder in Louisiana and the rest of the nation. In protests all over the country, there is a growing call for the banishment of whatever tattered remnants are left from the aftermath of the Civil War. Not just flags, but monuments, names, Dukes of Hazzard, Aunt Jemima syrup, Uncle Ben’s rice, Gone with the Wind, they all gotta go. The cultural cleansing in the Bayou state has begun.
Early this morning another man was killed on the streets of New Orleans. It was barely mentioned in local media, just another murder victim and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) provided few details. These regular incidents of crime spark little outrage from the public.
In contrast, last week, protesters marched throughout the city promoting the abolishment of the NOPD and the agenda of Black Lives Matter. The tragic death of George Floyd sparked national outrage. There are needed discussions that must be held regarding police reform, but it should not overlook the good work that most police officers do daily.
Is the New Orleans area and Louisiana, as a state, entering a new phase of coronavirus protections and risks, too quickly? Are we emphasizing our health and safety needs more than we should? Are we abandoning the very real risks of the aged, the unhealthy and those prone to get sick or worse, die? Or, shouldn’t we recognize the irreparable harm to our institutions, our economy and our way of life?
A few days ago, I discussed these general issues with Arnie Fielkow during a Facebook Live event. I looked forward to the interview because it is not everybody who has held the positions of President of the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans City Council, the National Basketball Retired Players Association and now, the Greater New Orleans Jewish Federation. I thought he would bring an articulate, divergent and interesting perspective to the controversy. After all, looking at the issue from the vantage point of an NFL team executive would be different from the perspective of a top public servant or a head of a major not-profit organization.
Is New Orleans ready to reopen?
The nation’s economy in a free-fall. The death toll continues to shock and climb day after day. All communities are debating if and when it should abandon their severe lockdowns and return to a more restricted business-as-unusual. Currently, the United States is facing an unimaginable 20 percent unemployment. Yet, the deaths now hovering over 80,000. Some experts predict that by Memorial Day, an unthinkable 100,000 people will have died as a result of the coronavirus.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is a progressive Democrat schooled by the Aspen Institute to follow a very left-wing agenda. It should have been no surprise that she visited Cuba to learn about economic development or Ghana to study how to bring a slave ship attraction to New Orleans.
During this Covid-19 crisis, she has not disappointed her liberal benefactors. Every day, her decisions are following their playbook to seize more government control and limit the freedom of the people.
So many Coronavirus economy questions. For now, very few answers. Lots of disappointments. For some, hopefully, a new promising new normal beginning .
Questions such as: Can businesses in this region recover? Are we ready to reopen? Which industries might be the winners? Which could lose?
Michael Hecht, the President of Greater New Orleans Inc seemed optimistic but worried. Hecht has been the face of the region's economic development engine. He moved to the city after Katrina and has been at the center of major developments in the airline, technology, manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, logistics, just to name a few.