A tour of post-Katrina New Orleans is dark tourism at its best.
Tours of the devastation began just a month after the levees broke, and two years later the demand is still high. The Associated Press reports that while many major downtown hotels remain closed, business is hopping for tour companies. Disaster tours once made up 99% of Isabelle Cossart’s “Tours by Isabelle’s” business. That number is down to 75%, which is good because it means that “people are starting to ask for beauty again,” Cossart says.
Tours are generally a few hours long, and pass by the Superdome, convention center, and the Lower 9th Ward. But passengers have been surprised, claiming that damaged areas look better than they expected. While the city is nowhere near full restoration, tourist numbers are healthy. Kelly Schulz, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, argues that the biggest challenges are dispelling myths [about lack of cleanup] and convincing people that New Orleans is a good place to visit.
[via USA Today]