ERROL LABORDE: 7 Reasons to be patient until October

We have all been in those “what do you think?” conversations as we search for answers about our future. When asked, I have lately said something like, “let’s give it to October. There should be some encouraging signs by then.” I really believe that, but to keep myself convinced of my own argument I have written the reasons down in ascending order. October? Here’s why:

7. Good month anyway. To me October has always been the unofficial New Years in the annual cycle of life in New Orleans. That¹s when the cultural season starts. The always slow days of summer are over. The weather is better. Even Halloween at the end of the month begins a string of holidays that stretches through Mardi Gras. It is a feel good time of the year.
6. Football. Don’t sell football short as an economic and social force. The Saints and Tulane back in the dome will make national news and high school games will mean that the families are back. Though we have never experienced it, I am told by reliable authorities that when a city¹s pro and college teams have continued winning seasons, that¹s good for morale too.
5. Universities will be Open. I never realized how much we miss them. Students spend, and they are also a good source of labor, especially in the service industries.
4. Those locals who are coming back should be back- at least most of them. Families that stayed away so that their kids could go to school elsewhere for the whole year should have returned. Their home might not be fully repaired but at least they are back in the economy.
3. Tourism will be returning. Two cruise ships, the Norwegian Star and the Carnaval Fantasy begin weekly cruises in October; Royal Caribbean returns in December. Cruise passengers tend to stay extra nights in New Orleans either at the beginning or end of their trip. Conventions return too, not at an accelerated pace, but still they’re coming back. Meanwhile, hotels have been busy booking smaller meetings.
2. Past the Prime of Hurricane season. I am not sure which would be better for restoring confidence; for us to have a hurricane event and to survive it with the levees holding, or to have no hurricane at all. Either way, if a successfully experienced hurricane season can cool down the media hysteria and lessen the paranoia, that would be a huge step toward rebuilding.
1. Money will be Flowing. By October parts of New Orleans will seem like a boom down. By then the whopping federal appropriation for housing should be in the system, most insurance issues should be resolved. We’ll know we are coming back once we can smell the fresh cut lumber and hear the hammers swinging. Katrina will be more than a year removed and we can begin looking forward to the rest of our lives.

And what if October is not as promising as we hoped? There’s always November.

Just thinking about New Orleans.

Let us know what you think. Do you have some reasons that you would like to add to this list? Or some that you would like to take away? Let us know. Write to For the subject line use OCTOBER REASONS. All responses are subject to being published, as edited, in this newsletter. Please include your name and location.

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