Whereever we go this week, we hear New Orleanians complain about their own “fiscal cliff,” increased property tax bills. What’s wrong with Erroll Williams, they say? Doesn’t he know we like our properties to be under-assessed? No one likes their taxes to go up. And paying the new bills might cause some of us to eat out a few less times or cut down on our Mardi Gras expenses. But all in all, life in New Orleans is pretty darn good.
Who can really complain about all those thousands of tourists who are whisked through town this week after eating, drinking and sleeping in our hotels during the Sugar Bowl and dropping a few millions into the city’s tax coffers? Who can complain that preparations for this month’s Super Bowl are in high gear and that the game will bring in more than $300 Million in new spending as well as enough national and international journalists to cover every minute of the excitement for the folks back home in Des Moines, Singapore and Chicago.
We keep hearing from GNO Inc. that New Orleans has the best business climate in the nation, with new businesses like the Little Gem Saloon and Indulge, the Warehouse District restaurant and swim club, opening each month and young professionals continuing to move to our wonderful city. Right now it’s hard to find a condo to rent or buy in the CBD.
Mayor Landrieu and Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell dedicated a new playground yesterday, the seventh rebuilt with Allstate Insurance funds. NORA is on a roll selling excess land and houses that will help fill in many neighborhoods.
Aren’t we glad Hurricane Sandy didn’t visit us nine weeks ago? Danae was born in New Jersey and has relatives whose homes were severely damaged by the storm. How can we not feel sorry for all those East Coast residents who are waiting for the government to free up federal dollars?
And while we may complain that it is a little chilly in New Orleans this week, just think of the millions of people around the world living in refugee tents with barely enough food and clothing to survive.
Former New Orleanian and 1982 mayoral candidate Ron Faucheux now resides in Washington and polls for a non-profit think tank. Faucheux reports this week that 50 percent of Democrats and Republicans combined think that America’s best days are behind us.
We don’t believe that is the case for New Orleans. Our best days are still to come.
May this new year bring each of you prosperity and happiness.
Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City Councilwoman Stacy Head, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and council candidate Dana Kaplan.