Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006 Page: 44 of 72
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After the storm
Beaten but not broken, New Orleans is ready to welcome back visitors
URBAN RESURRECTION: Uptown's Magazine Street has rebounded from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and
breached levees with a vibrant social scene.
By Andrew Collins Contributing Travel Writer
I gazed out the plane window on the final
approach into Louis Armstrong New Orleans
International Airport, eyeing the suburb of
Kenner, and I immediately noticed thousands of
Kenner lies several miles west of New
Orleans, and it was largely spared the full brunt
of August's devastating Hurricane Katrina.
But even this far west, roughly 100 days after
the storm, protective blue tarps covered the roofs
of thousands of homes beneath me.
Still, I also saw neon restaurant signs, cars
speeding along Veterans Boulevard, airport
hotels with fill parking lots and plenty of energy
in one of America's most dynamic and gay-
friendly cities. New Orleans looked wounded,
but also very much alive.
Before I get into the specifics, let me assure
anyone who loves visiting Louisiana: Hurricane
Katrina may have forever altered its appearance
and personality, but the city's tourism-driven
neighborhoods — the French Quarter, Faubourg
Marigny, Uptown, the Garden District and the
Central Business District — have already
bounced back with admirable, in some cases
The city is absolutely ready for visitors.
Hundreds of hotels and B&Bs, restaurants,
shops, bars and attractions are up and running,
and dozens reopen each day.
Hurricane Katrina leveled the greatest wind
and storm damage upon eastern New Orleans,
and as I drove east from Faubourg Marigny into
the adjacent Bywater neighborhood, I noticed a
dramatic difference in the severity of damage.
The floods that resulted from levee breaks caused
untold damage to all of the eastern part, but
flooding also destroyed huge swaths of the city
north of 1-10. I spent a full afternoon driving
through the worst of the flood-damaged areas,
and the magnitude of devastation is unbelievable.
The perception seems to be that New Orleans'
poorest neighborhoods received the heaviest
damage, and the upscale ones were mostly
spared, but this is an oversimplification. The
parts of the city that were decimated are largely
residential, but they include lower-income, mid-
dle-class and upscale areas.
What this means for visitors is that, the neigh-
borhoods you're probably most familiar with are
in the best shape. There is some hurricane dam-
age in the French Quarter, Uptown and other
prominent tourist areas, but the worst messes
have been cleaned up. Indeed, the city still plans
a scaled-down Mardi Gras celebration for the last
week of February.
Understandably, plenty of visitors to the city
are curious to learn about Katrina's wrath and in
December, Gray Line New Orleans began offer-
ing a "Hurricane Katrina — America's Worst
Catastrophe" bus tour. This is not a ghoulish
romp exploiting the misery of others, but sensi-
tive tours which aim to educate visitors about the
storm, and the region's vanishing coastline and
controversial levee system.
As for the city's fabled gay scene, most bars
are up and running, drawing big crowds. Famed
bars like Bourbon Pub, Cafe Lafitte in Exile, Oz
and Good Friends are packed with revelers these
days. And the lovably raffish Clover Grill diner,
long a fixture in the gay community, had
resumed 8 a.m.-to-midnight hours as of this writ-
Other great gay-popular restaurants, such as
Marigny Brasserie, Peristyle, Bayona and
Elizabeth's are serving up the same tantalizing
BIG D: GAY TRAVEL DESTINATION
Dallas has the sixth largest
GLBT community in the U.S.
yet it still isn't considered a
hot spot for gay travelers.
That may change this
week. The Dallas Convention &
Visitors Bureau and the North
Texas GLBT Chamber of
Commerce are teaming up to wel-
come the International Gay &
Lesbian Travel Association's World
Symposium, which runs Feb.
23-26 at the Melrose Hotel. The
event will include tours or local
districts and attractions, presenta-
tions from area officials, a trade
show and mixers.
For more information, visit IGLTA.com.
—Arnold Wayne Jones
I G H
C A M I' A I G N K
Human Rights Campaign Orientation
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil
rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and
engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination
against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves
fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Please join us for an educational session describing the
missions and operations of the Human Rights Campaign,
including our local volunteer efforts and activities. You will
have an opportunity to meet some of our local leaders and
ask questions about HRC, as well as discuss any interest
you may have in joining our efforts.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
3 - 5 p.m.
For more details and directions, please contact
Round-Up hosts the
Sunday, Feb 26
For Events and Schedules, Visit our Website
'D' Magazine's Choice of "Best of the Rest" Dallas Nightclubs! July, 2005
44 I dallasvoice.com I 02.17.06
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006, newspaper, February 17, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238896/m1/44/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.