HolyCoast: A Bad Bet On New Orleans
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Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Bad Bet On New Orleans

New Orleans, which before Katrina was a town that reveled in its depravity, is looking for new ways to destroy what moral fabric is left in that town. Mayor Ray "Schoolbus" Nagin wants to convert a section of the city to a "gambling zone".
New Orleans' mayor on Friday proposed building a casino zone near the historic French Quarter to jump start the hurricane-ravaged city's economy, saying a bold move was needed to restore lost tax revenue.

"I'd like to have another solution for the citizens ... but I don't know what else we can do at this point," Ray Nagin told a news conference.
"I don't know what else we can do at this point" is sort of the town's guiding philosophy of late, given the quality of decision making we saw during and after Katrina. Before the storm the city had one of the highest crime and poverty rates in the country. How is adding more gambling to the mix going to solve that?
Under Nagin's proposal, a U-shaped section encompassing several blocks of the city's downtown area would allow large hotels to covert part of their property into Las Vegas-style casinos.

Only one casino is currently operating in that area, and Nagin said as many as seven new gambling operations could open.

That existing casino, Harrah's, has stirred bitter political battles and suffered from financial problems in recent years.

Nagin said he had approached Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco about the plan and offered to split the tax revenues, a figure he said could approach the $150 million neighboring Mississippi received annually.

The gambling zone proposal would need the approval of the city council and the state legislature.
Given the quality of leadership in that state, and the absence of any creative thinking, I fully expect the casino zone will be approved.

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