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“Best Culinary Destination.” “Best City for Night Owls.” “Best NFL City to Party In.“ “Best City for Girlfriend Getaways.” “Top National Halloween Destination.” “Best Destination in the US and World for Nightlife.” “America's Favorite City.” And on. And on. The list of tourist destination rankings and accolades have mounted in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina threatened to decimate New Orleans's tourism industry and, quite possibly—as some predicted and others hoped for—New Orleans itself. Things are different now. Recently, the New York Times proclaimed that New Orleans was “resilient and renewed, a decade after Katrina.” Listing New Orleans as one of 52 worldwide “destinations to go in 2015,” the article heralded the city for its rebirth at the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, citing its burgeoning arts scene, a new state-of-the-art performance space, upscale restaurants and retail stores, and trendy hotels. While these annual rankings and tourism superlatives likely have as much validity as the “Most likely to … ” appellations in high school yearbooks, there is no mistaking that New Orleans's tourism industry is thriving once again. In 2013, the city hosted its first Super Bowl since Katrina; the Essence Music Festival broke attendance records; and over 9 million tourists, the highest number since the hurricane, visited New Orleans and spent an unprecedented US$ 6.47 billion, the highest spending total in the city's history.


Pre-publication version of article published in The Black Scholar, Vol. 45, No. 3. For the final published version, visit


The Black Scholar


© 2015 The Black World Foundation



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