Land Use
 

Pres Kabacoff outlines $1 billion vision to redevelop New Orleans’ urban core

Pres Kabacoff was tooling around downtown in his black Lexus, expounding on his favorite subject: how to transform New Orleans into an Afro-Caribbean version of Paris.

Shorn of the ponytail he sported for more than a year – a casualty of his meetings with bankers this summer – Kabacoff riffed on how many of the elements for Paris-on-the-Mississippi already exist. At times, he sounded like a dreamy romantic, at other times like a calculating developer.

New Orleans has choice restaurants, the country’s greatest river, a thriving music scene, popular tourist attractions and historic neighborhoods, Kabacoff offered. And the city has become even more attractive in recent years, he said, with expanded streetcar lines and strengthened neighborhoods, particularly Faubourg Marigny, Bywater and the Warehouse District. It’s becoming a city amenable to walking and biking.

But the core of the city remains incomplete, Kabacoff added, and as he drove around downtown, he pointed out the sights: the monumental but abandoned Charity Hospital on Tulane Avenue, vacant lots two blocks away on Canal Street and the fenced-off Iberville housing development, a block from Canal, where reconstruction at last has begun.

Standing on Canal Street, Pres Kabacoff describes his ideas to redevelop downtown New Orleans. The parking lot across the street would become a new mall to rival Lakeside Shopping Center. The old Charity Hospital, in the background, would be the home to City Hall, Civil District Court and a neuroscience research center.

Tyler Bridges / The Lens

Standing on Canal Street, Pres Kabacoff describes his ideas to redevelop downtown New Orleans. The parking lot across the street would become a new mall to rival Lakeside Shopping Center. The old Charity Hospital, in the background, would be the home to City Hall, Civil District Court and a neuroscience research center.

But where others might see ruin, Kabacoff sees promise. He is sketching out a vision that stitches the pieces together: Iberville would become a mixed-income neighborhood. As Mayor Mitch Landrieu has proposed, City Hall would occupy one wing of Charity and the Civil District Court would take a second wing. The third wing, Kabacoff proposes, would house a neuroscience facility dedicated to advancing brain research for such diseases as Alzheimer’s.

The neuroscience facility idea is new, but it intrigues Cedric Grant, Landrieu’s deputy mayor for infrastructure projects. The facility, Grant said in an interview, “is very conceptual at this point. But I hope it comes together. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity for the city to build an industry.”

With thousands of new government workers, court officials and medical professionals at the renovated Charity and hundreds of new residents at a safe Iberville, national retailers would have a reason to invest downtown, Kabacoff figures. The vacant lots on Canal would become a New Orleans version of Lakeside Shopping Center and a magnet for locals and tourists.

And, he hopes, perhaps one day the elevated Interstate 10 nearby will come down, connecting downtown to Mid-City and the new Louisiana State University and Veterans Administration hospitals only blocks away.

Together, all of the different pieces would cost more than $1 billion, Kabacoff estimates, but he doesn’t have a clear way to pay for them. Still, Kabacoff believes the projects would make a good investment for taxpayers because they would put a key area of New Orleans into commerce, attracting new residents, new shoppers and new businesses.

“The key word is transformation,” Kabacoff said in a separate interview at his home. “If we can make this area better, it will lift all boats.”

Kabacoff admitted that he’s not pushing the idea entirely for altruistic reasons. His company, HRI Properties, would be an obvious choice to oversee Charity’s renovation, he said.

“I don’t think of myself as an opportunist developer,” Kabacoff said. “I think of myself as on a mission.”

Whatever you think of him, Kabacoff and his vision face huge obstacles. There isn’t money to fully redevelop Iberville. Mayor Landrieu, the main proponent for moving City Hall and the Civil District Court into a refashioned Charity, hasn’t yet identified how to pay the estimated $300 million tab, and the judges pooh-pooh the plan. The neuroscience facility is just a fanciful idea at this point.

Without a revamped Charity and Iberville, plans for retail stores on Canal Street are but a hope.

Kabacoff is undeterred. “It’s not a pipe dream,” he said. “We’re on the road to success. I’m very optimistic.”

Developer has shifted focus throughout the city

Kabacoff, 68, has had big successes before. A New Orleans native who graduated from LSU law school, he assisted his father Lester in turning a vacant Mississippi River cargo wharf into the riverside wing of the Hilton hotel.

Kabacoff was among the pioneers in the Warehouse District beginning in the mid-1980s with his conversion of the Federal Fibre Mills building. Along the way, he has tapped government subsidies, frequently in the form of historic tax credits, to turn his projects into reality and make gobs of money.

In the 1990s, HRI got the contract to overhaul the St. Thomas housing development, just upriver of the Pontchartrain Expressway. Down went the brick buildings and up went pretty houses with porches – as well as a Wal-Mart superstore fought unsuccessfully by preservationists.

After Hurricane Katrina, Kabacoff turned his attention to Bywater, a once-forlorn neighborhood that was quickly gentrifying. He and his wife Sallie Ann Glassman – a voodoo priestess and artist – built a two-story house that is chock-full of her art and art from Mexico, Bali and Morocco.

“I hope that you don’t mind the lack of air conditioning,” he told two recent visitors, and excused himself to take a shower. He was sweaty after climbing stairs at his office in preparation for an upcoming hike up 19,000-foot Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kabacoff and Glassman turned the vacant Universal Furniture building on St. Claude Avenue into the New Orleans Healing Center, which features an organic restaurant and coffee shop, a nightclub, a grocery store, an art gallery and dance and yoga studios.

All along, Kabacoff nurtured the idea of transforming downtown New Orleans. In 2010, after chairing a housing task force for Landrieu’s transition team, he wrote a paper that he called Return to Splendor. Critics accused him of favoring the wealthy at the expense of the poor. He rewrote it.

The current version focuses on Iberville, Charity and Canal Street and wins him plaudits from business leaders.

“Pres understands you need things like parks and bike sharing,” said Kurt Weigle, who is president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Development District. “He works with us to create those things. He understands that development has to serve more than just the wealthy.”

Preservationists praise Kabacoff’s construction of the Healing Center and his support for dismantling the I-10 elevated highway. But they express their mistrust because of his push for the Wal-Mart. With its enormous parking lot and cookie-cutter design, they believe the Wal-Mart represents the antithesis of everything that makes New Orleans unique and wonderful.

“Big box stores in New Orleans are destructive,” said William Borah, a land use attorney who played a key role in stopping the riverfront expressway that political and civic leaders in the 1960s wanted to cut along the edge of the French Quarter.

“Our physical city is the most important thing we have. It’s the foundation of our music, our culture and our food,” Borah said. “If you don’t protect the physical fabric, you’ll irreparably harm the city.”

Iberville renovation under way

Iberville is the one project in Kabacoff’s plan where he can point to tangible progress.

Earlier this month, workers in hard hats began demolishing Iberville under a contract awarded to HRI by the Landrieu administration and the Housing Authority of New Orleans.

On a recent morning, Kabacoff stood by a chain-link fence with a “Keep Out” sign and explained the plan over the sound of hammering. The sprawling complex contains 820 units in 75 separate buildings. HRI is tearing down 59 buildings, keeping those on Bienville and Marais Streets to reintroduce the street grid.

Once completed, Iberville would include about 890 units of mixed-income housing in new and renovated buildings owned by a partnership with HRI in charge.

The 400 or so remaining residents at Iberville are being relocated by HANO, Kabacoff said. Many of the elderly will move to the former Texaco building on Canal Street. It, too, is now owned by HRI and its partners.

Kabacoff said Iberville’s new buildings will have four floors and will evoke the Storyville era. Prices will accommodate a range of incomes, including former public housing residents, people making less than $30,000 per year and those willing to pay what the market will bear — perhaps $1,400 per month for a two-bedroom place.

“Density is good as long as you don’t concentrate the poor,” Kabacoff said, shifting into developer mode. Because Iberville abuts the French Quarter, “this is as good a location as you can have in New Orleans.”

He added, “This plan gives us the kinds of buildings you want.”

But HANO and HRI have enough money to build only 227 units. Plans call for more mixed-income housing as part of what’s known as the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative: approximately 660 more units at Iberville and another 1,500 units to be spread throughout downtown, Treme and part of Mid-City. Much of this housing will be apartment buildings and will require tens of millions of dollars more, Kabacoff said. Where will the money come from? He doesn’t yet know.

HRI has applied to the Louisiana Housing Corp. to finance another 75, Kabacoff said.

HANO’s senior officials would not be interviewed. The agency’s spokeswoman, Lesley Thomas, said only in an email “that there remains a funding gap to complete the Iberville project, which is the developers’ responsibility to close.”

Kabacoff offered a developer’s optimism: “You can sell more on the come. People who have avoided this part of town will say, ‘Gee, there’s been a change.’”

Charity as home to neuroscience center and City Hall?

No one would mistake the change at Charity if Landrieu could pull off his plan to move City Hall and the Civil District Court there. Both buildings suffer from leaks and balky elevators, and they are not equipped for the Internet age.

Charity, built in the 1930s with an Art Deco facade that makes architects swoon, was shut down after Katrina flooded its basement.

Steve McDaniel is a Philadelphia-based architect who analyzed the building after Katrina for the Foundation for a Historical Louisiana. Now working on Kabacoff’s plan, McDaniel said Charity remains structurally sound and could have reopened after Katrina. But LSU and state officials decided to build a new hospital elsewhere.

“The building can be refigured,” said Cedric Grant, the deputy mayor. “If you can get the right tenants, it can work.”

In Landrieu’s conception for what he calls the Civic Center, Charity’s main entrance on Tulane Avenue would become the main entrance to City Hall. But City Hall would take up only about 40 percent of the building, and Landrieu has not proposed a use for Charity’s riverside wing.

Kabacoff’s pitch: Have it house publicly-financed doctors and scientists, as well as private start-up companies doing pioneering research into treating brain disorders.

He has the enthusiastic backing of Dr. Nicolas Bazan, a professor at LSU’s Health Science Center in New Orleans and director of its Neuroscience Center of Excellence. Bazan believes the time is ripe for such a research center. In April, President Obama called for spending $100 million to advance brain research.

The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age, Bazan said. “We cannot do anything for them. The number of patients is growing. If you can put together research minds, the care of patients will be enhanced. Prestigious doctors will come here. Start-up companies will come.”

Dr. Keith Van Meter, who heads LSU’s emergency medicine section, said he would work with Bazan and Kabacoff to create a lab to research the use of hyperbaric chambers in treating trauma victims. (Any clinical trials would take place at the new LSU hospital.)

In his office at West Jefferson Medical Center, Van Meter said doctors in the New Orleans area have made great strides over the past 40 years in using hyperbaric chambers to keep alive divers injured in offshore platform oil and gas accidents. Van Meter believes that hospitals around the country will soon use that knowledge to install hyperbaric chambers to treat victims of heart attacks, gunshot wounds and car crashes.

“If we can keep the heart pumping with a meaningful amount of oxygen,” he said, “then we can keep the brain more viable.”

Van Meter envisions New Orleans capitalizing on its pace-setting role. The Department of Defense could finance research that would improve treatment of soldiers injured in battle, he said. Oil companies would be willing to finance further research, he believes.

A plan for putting courts at Charity

Landrieu’s plan calls for Civil District Court to have a separate entrance in Charity’s lakeside wing, to address the judges’ concern that the city’s executive and judicial branches should not be intermingled.

Judges Michael Bagneris and Kern Reese, sitting in Bagneris’ cramped office at the court next to City Hall, said Landrieu’s plan is unworkable because Charity’s columns obstruct the view inside the courtrooms. An architect hired by Kabacoff came up with a solution: 14 column-free courtrooms could be built between the two wings, along with judges’ chambers and jury rooms.

Kabacoff showed his plan to several judges, but Bagneris and Reese remain unmoved. They want a new courthouse on a patch of grass in Duncan Plaza that was formerly the site of a state building and the state Supreme Court. It would cost about $105 million, Reese said.

“We have the ability to raise the funds,” Bagneris said, by increasing court fees from $25 to $200 per filing, issuing bonds, building a parking garage and obtaining federal New Markets tax credits. He and Reese said the judges could move forward once the court and the state, which owns the land, work out an agreement.

Kabacoff, however, believes that the judges cannot raise enough money from selling bonds and that the parking garage would cost rather than contribute funds for a new courthouse. “The judges would be smart to buy into the mayor’s vision of co-locating in Charity, which will result, I believe, in achieving the financing they need for a new courthouse.”

What are the chances that the judges will move to Charity? “Zip. Zero. Nada. Not at all,” Bagneris said. “Won’t happen.”

In response, Grant said: “We’re proceeding with our idea. Who’s in it, who’s not – we’ll work through that.”

The two sides, though, are discussing meeting on Friday, said Walt Pierce, a spokesman for the Civil District Court.

This image from Pres Kabacoff's PowerPoint presentation shows how courtrooms could be constructed between the three towers of the former Charity Hospital. That approach would sidestep the problem of columns that would obstruct the view in the courtrooms.

This image from Pres Kabacoff's PowerPoint presentation shows how courtrooms could be constructed in the former Charity Hospital between the central and the lakeside tower (viewed from Gravier Street). This approach would sidestep the problem of columns that would obstruct the view in the courtrooms.

Grant said the Landrieu administration could finance Charity with state, FEMA and federal hazardous mitigation money.

The Jindal administration is not making any promises for now.

“We’ve always supported the re-development of Old Charity, and we support a feasibility study,” Kristy Nichols, the state Commissioner of Administration, wrote in an email. “We’re working with the city to determine the full needs of the project.”

What would happen to the current City Hall and Civil District Court? In separate interviews, Kabacoff and Grant said the site could be a prime location for a hotel or some other development.

New retail development on Canal

The final piece of Kabacoff’s puzzle centers on two full blocks – one on each side of Canal Street – owned by the Coleman family, which has major real estate holdings in New Orleans. The Colemans and a Dallas-based real estate company have sketched out a retail project there called Canal Crossing.

It would have retail stores on the two ground floors — 300,000 square feet total — topped by three floors of parking with 1,000 spaces, said David A. Garcia, the son-in-law of Peter Coleman and the project’s point person. He put the total cost at $100 million, but added that the price tag would rise if the Colemans decided to put apartments or condos above the parking levels.

“It’s rare to have large parcels downtown,” Garcia said in an interview. “We’re motivated to the extent possible to bring a great new project to this part of Canal. But it’s too early for putting the pieces together.”

The national retailers, he said, won’t consider coming until the area has a critical mass of potential shoppers. That has no chance of happening unless Charity and Iberville are refashioned, Garcia said.

As he was driving around downtown, Kabacoff made an offhand remark. “I could have done more damn McDonald’s in the suburbs. This is not for the faint-hearted.”

Several minutes later, discussing the three parts of his plan, he said, “It’s all in play.”

Told that he sounds like a developer, he replied, “I am a developer.”

A short time later, he added, “This is the swan song for me. I’m getting to be an old hoot.”

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  • Tremoloking

    Just imagine what 1 billion could do for the myriad problems this city has. Schools ( REAL public schools, not charter), housing, after school programs, small business ( REAL small businesses, not McDonalds franchises), workforce training, violence prevention, neighborhood development…more mega development and a shopping mall on Canal is not the answer. It does NOTHING to address our epidemic of poverty, substandard housing, lack of opportunity, exploitative jobs, and crime. Katrina was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to turn a disaster into an opportunity for turning this city into a better place to live and work for EVERYONE…Instead we get the mall-ization of New Orleans, economic cleansing, and the fat cats getting fatter.

  • NOLA_Darling

    This is some of the worst drivel I’ve read on this site in a while. Kabacoff is nothing more than a subsidy whore and poverty pimp, seeking to exploit the city’s culture for his personal gain. The author failed to site any of the reports about how the St Thomas is viewed as anything but a Hope VI success story, that HRI is putting up less than $5Million of it’s own money into the project, and that the company gets paid a percentage of the total project cost so they have an incentive to run up the bill as high as possible, hence the billion dollar price tag (originally, it was supposed to cost only $600Million) for a few thousand units.

    Finally, the Bywater was going through gentrification well before Katrina.

  • Nick Kindel

    At today’s City Planning Commission meeting, they will recommend $1 billion in Capital spending over the next 5 years. Included in that plan is $20.3 for a new Civic Center at Charity. There is no indication where the other $280 million for that proposal will come from. You can find more information here: http://nolacpp.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/city-planning-commission-considers-the-1billion-capital-budget/

  • Janet Hays

    The old city hall will be used as a hotel. LOL. Prime real estate undervalued at 5.5 million. So what developer will that land go to… I wonder.

    And the uninsured and homeless mentally ill will continue to wander around downtown – lost and abandoned by society – until they end up in OPP because they got into trouble after neglecting to take their medication.

  • Janet Hays

    The City should meet it’s obligation to build the new Civil District Courthouse for the Judges on Duncan Plaza per the 2010 agreement with the State; build a municipal complex next to it; and free up Charity for critical health and economic development needs.

    I support the use of Charity for needs such as research facilities for biomed, biotech, bioscience, lifescience and mental health research. A long-term hospital for the uninsured mentally ill could provide the patient base for some of that research and divert people from the department of corrections. More space could be allocated for community service offices like DMV, food stamp, disability and social security. A one stop shop… so to speak. It’s right next to the old VA building that the Mayor has designated as services for the homeless. It’s a perfect pairing of those two buildings and connects with the new hospitals next door across Caliborne Ave.

    Does the business community think that we should continue to let our homeless and mentally ill wander the streets of downtown? Because that is what everyone sees when they come here. Or, does the business community support research into mental illnesses that may help their own communities dealing with depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, ADHD, etc?

    Of course the mentally ill would need to be released into supportive communities where they continue to receive outpatient and wrap-around services. The biggest reason why the mentally ill end up in jail is because they go off their medications. This sort of recidivism is a huge expense for cities like ours that incarcerate the mentally ill.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    “Just imagine what 1 billion could do for the myriad problems this city has.”

    I don’t need to imagine what 1 BILLION will do for the City. I can read in the news and see what it has already done. First, It lined the pockets of the corrupt.

    Next, the money that made new public/charter schools, public and mixed housing, workforce training, and violence prevention have only made things WORSE.

    In fact since 1960, there have been BILLIONS of DOLLARS into you name it urban social program, schools, training and what does America have to show for this after 50 years? two lost generations of black men, pants on the ground baby daddy’s, more black on black crime/murder per year than deaths in American wars of past and present?

    A BILLION and MORE DOLLARS in social services or social entrepreneurship in New Orleans or Louisiana has NEVER helped the big picture….ever.

    Why is this? NOLA promotes IRRESPONSIBILITY in the first place with 24/7 alcohol, gambling, lottery, video poker, Section 8, EBT, welfare and CHILD SUPPORT payments to single mothers, Huey P Long NINJA loan, no skin in the game homestead exemption, etc.

  • Tremoloking

    Not really worth responding to I don’t think…’no skin in the game’ is an expression used by the 1%…

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    In the 1950′s, there was so little crime, people, both black and white, used to NOT lock their doors. The 1950′s didn’t have dead bolt locks, black iron bars on their windows, car alarms, business alarms, home alarms, business security cameras, home security cameras, city wide security cameras and so on. And this was before civil rights.

    And what do we have now?

    ‘no skin in the game’ is an expression used by the 1%…
    And that’s why the 1% knows what it takes to make it, and the 47% who don’t really pay taxes and use the most social services, don’t. As they don’t put any “skin” into the game…i.e. they have nothing to lose as they put nothing in it in the first place. Doesn’t a person play poker very differently with plastic chips than even with pennies, nickles and dimes? Why yes they do, and that’s why it’s called “no skin in the game”.

    Should it really be
    A. those who make more, should pay more”?
    Or should it really be
    B. those that use more services, should pay more?

    All of these social activists and social justices types have really nothing to show for their efforts except shallow, short term results/solutions. Hence, they keep screaming for more and more money and resources for the last 50 years and it’s clearly WORSE as it ended up (and continues to this day) to promote IRRESPONSIBILITY.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    To Janet Hays:
    The NOLA business community consisting of the city wide bars, lounges, wine bars, t-shirt, and trinket shops in the French Gutter (as well as the Glorified “Ghetto Liquor Store” Gas Stations) in Orleans Parish serve only themselves as they cater to a bunch of alcoholics, black or white.

    Additionally, these glorified “Ghetto Liquor Store” Gas Stations, continually serve ALCOHOL to them at 9am in the morning to 5am at night knowing full well they are either (a)homeless, (b)mentally ill, (c)a little least whacked out or (d) just not normal, as they hang out the 24 hours a day just outside the gas station and the gas station’s minimum wage clerks just keeps selling them liquor.

    So if you want to point the finger, you can start with pointing it at the aforementioned bars and glorified gas stations, and not to mention, the minimum wage clerks and managers who work there.

    Nevertheless, don’t forget to look at the all these charity benefits, fundraising events, sports events, etc and what to you have? ALCOHOL.

    The business community (that is outside of the business of alcohol) has
    MOVED OUT OF LOUISIANA for Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, San Antonio, New York and California. And there is no overall brain gain as many Fortune 1000 and local companies have left in the last two years…

    Hibernia Bank gone (bought out).
    Whitney Bank merged out but really gone.
    Chevron gone / moved.
    Freeport McMoran gone.
    C’s Pharmacy bought out and gone.
    WestWay Group (NASDAQ: WWAY) with market cap 191M acquired by EQT Infrastructure II and ED&F Man
    The Receivables Exchange (in Chevron Building) massive employee cutbacks, has new CEO.
    Superior Energy Services (NYSE: SPN) with 4B Market Cap moved H.Q. to Houston.
    EPL Oil & Gas, Inc. (NYSE: EPL) with 1.3B market cap moves H.Q. to Houston.
    Avondale shipyards gone.
    Michoud Assembly Facility gone.
    Shaw Group (Fortune 500) in Baton Rouge merged with Houston Firm, gone.
    Stewart Enterprises merged with Houston firm, gone.
    Entergy cutting back hundred of New Orleans workers.
    McDermott International New Olreans HQ gone.
    McDermott Morgan City Fabrication Yard gone.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    To Janet Hays:
    Should not one find it contradictory that social activists fight for the poor, homeless, single mothers and kids over things like the environment, pollution, “affordable this”, and “affordable that”, YET somehow ignore probably the worst offenders in their very own neighborhood?

    That is, the Glorified “Ghetto Liquor Store” gas stations that sell alcohol 24 hours 7 days a week to the poor, homeless, and mentally ill that sit or camp out not just 50 feet outside these gas stations, clearly visible to tourists, visitors, executives, etc..

    How can social activists talk and complain about depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, ADHD and say that recidivism is a huge expense when it’s the gas stations and NOLA culture of public intoxication that continually sell alcohol to the mentally ill 24 hours a day?

    Why create a one-stop shop for the homeless and mentally ill (that offers DMV, food stamp, disability and social security) near the VA or City Hall when that very same area downtown is also a community that supports public intoxication 24/7?

    Why have a place downtown that will have to eventually release the mentally ill and homeless (e.g. overcrowding created by the high rate of recidivism) in an area that makes it easy, and legal, to BOTH (a) panhandle for money and (b) use that panhandling money to purchase alcohol 24/7 or drugs in the very same area?

    Cannot one see that the downtown locations for homeless shelters, food banks and one stop shops, while “convenient”, also promote recidivism due to the local culture and laws that promote intoxication?

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    To Janet Hays:
    When you refer to The NOLA business community, it generally consists of the city wide bars, lounges, wine bars, t-shirt, and trinket shops in the French Gutter (as well as the Glorified “Ghetto Liquor Store” Gas Stations) in Orleans Parish serve only themselves as they cater to a bunch of alcoholics, black or white.

    Additionally, these glorified “Ghetto Liquor Store” Gas Stations, continually serve ALCOHOL to them at 9am in the morning to 5am at night knowing full well they are either (a)homeless, (b)mentally ill, (c)a little least whacked out or (d) just not normal, as they hang out the 24 hours a day just outside the gas station and the gas station’s minimum wage clerks just keeps selling them liquor.

    So if you want to point the finger, you can point it at the aforementioned bars and gas stations, and not to mention, the minimum wage clerks and managers who work there.

    Nevertheless, don’t forget to look at the all these charity benefits, fundraising events, sports events, etc and what to you have? ALCOHOL.

    The business community (that is outside of the business of alcohol) has
    MOVED OUT OF LOUISIANA for Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, San Antonio, New York and California. And there is no overall brain gain as many Fortune 1000 and local companies have left in the last two years…

    Hibernia Bank gone (bought out).
    Whitney Bank merged out but really gone.
    Chevron gone / moved.
    Freeport McMoran gone.
    C’s Pharmacy bought out and gone.
    WestWay Group (NASDAQ: WWAY) with market cap 191M acquired by EQT Infrastructure II and ED&F Man
    The Receivables Exchange (in Chevron Building) massive employee cutbacks, has new CEO.
    Superior Energy Services (NYSE: SPN) with 4B Market Cap moved H.Q. to Houston.
    EPL Oil & Gas, Inc. (NYSE: EPL) with 1.3B market cap moves H.Q. to Houston.
    Avondale shipyards gone.
    Michoud Assembly Facility gone.
    Shaw Group (Fortune 500) in Baton Rouge merged with Houston Firm, gone.
    Stewart Enterprises merged with Houston firm, gone.
    Entergy cutting back hundred of New Orleans workers.
    McDermott International New Olreans HQ gone.
    McDermott Morgan City Fabrication Yard gone.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    If homeless shelters and social one-stop shops wanted to be “convenient” to the homeless, why not setup tents staffed by volunteers at the same street medians the glorified “ghetto liquor store” gas stations are located at? Same for Bourbon St. Have a rehab and homeless shelter right on Bourbon St as it would be CONVENIENT. That is , that’s where they hang out most of the time anyway.

  • Jester

    This dude is the very definition of a leach.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    Are the homeless and mentally ill really lost and abandoned?
    If you read in the news from homeless advocates, the ones you see at the street intersections are the “chronic/militant homeless” who do NOT want help, do NOT want housing, and do NOT want counseling. Hence, are these militant/chronic homeless we see on the street really lost and abandoned by society when homeless advocates have repeatedly attempted, week after weeek, to help them with full housing, food, etc only to be turned away?

  • Alex Avery

    Ah Contraire. Do you ever have any solutions to offer?

  • Alex Avery

    LOL! you’re on first base.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    SOLUTION #1:
    Enforce the same good neighborhood rules and penalties that bars and clubs have to follow on these gas stations, i.e. glorified “ghetto liquor store” gas stations.

    Are bars and clubs allowed to sell alcohol 24/7 without a security detail? I don’t think so. So why should these gas stations or even grocery stores be able to sell alcohol 24/7 without any security detail? The gas stations have their customers (i.e. homeless, panhandlers) hang inside and outside in and around their property 24/7 should they not also follow the rules that bars and clubs have to follow?

    I think any business that sells 24/7 needs to pay much higher alcohol permit fees…Heck, this is how the city can limit the 24/7 promotion of irresponsible behavior. If you sell alcohol 24/7, they should pay a much higher amount, like 10 times the amount of tax rate and permit fees. The longer you stay open or stay open later, the more trouble your business will cause and hence it needs to pay dearly.

    These gas stations should be fined and cited for selling alcohol to known panhandlers and homeless and especially mentally ill.
    These mentally ill sometimes don’t have ID’s yet the gas station sells to them without an ID check.

    If you don’t have an address or permanent place of residence, should you really be drinking in the first place or worse, 24/7?

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    SOLUTION #1:
    Enforce the same good neighbor policy and penalties that bars and clubs have to follow on these gas stations. That is these Glorified “ghetto liquor store” Gas Station.
    For example. Because they are open 24/7 as well as selling alcohols 24/7, they must hire outside security details just like bars and clubs do. This should be end up very expensive, hence, they stop selling alcohol 24/7 just like all the other common sense cities do outside of Louisiana.
    SOLUTION #2:
    Because these Glorified “ghetto liquor store” Gas Stations stay open and sell alcohol 24/7, far more hours than the bars and clubs, they should pay far higher fees alcohol permits and far higher tax rates. It should be 10 times the current rate if they are 24/7. If they have the same hours like say the current Fat City in Jefferson Parish, close at 12 midnight Sun-Thur, and close at 1am on Fri-Sat, they can pay just the current rate.

    SOLUTION #3:
    The gas stations attendants and managers should be held accountable for selling alcohol to known mentally ill or panhandler or homeless customers just like bartenders are held accountable for serving alcohol to customers who are clearly not in control, drunk, etc. These gas station attendants and managers should check for the ID’s of the mentally ill or homeless as they should be consuming alcohol at a gas station 9am in the morning (or 24/7) without a permanent address that can be shown on an valid ID. It is truly astonishing that gas station attendants and manager continue to sell alcohol to these homeless 24/7 as they know who they are, i.e. they see them personally hour after hour selling them alcohols or cigarettes, and clearly know where they sit, stand or panhandler at or around the gas station on a daily basis.