I read this article in the SomeTimes-Picayune print edition Wednesday (not to be confused with NOLA.com or T-P street) and just sighed. Quasi-private/public whatever orgs always seem disorganized. Reading how many hands it’s been through since the last official director stepped down reconfirms this in my mind.
I hope what Mr. Smith is saying isn’t just lip service:
"This is such a jewel for the city and it's just been so horribly mismanaged for so long," Smith said. "It needs someone to come in there and do the right thing and just be honest and transparent and forthright."A mix of local artisans plus cheap trinkets is OK in my book. However, there doesn’t need to be 20 stalls selling the same silver jewelry or tacky tourist t-shirts. I like that you can go there and get inexpensive souvenirs, but there’s too much of the same stuff. Varg over at the Chicory is an artist who sells at Jackson Square and he’s OK with that too.
I have a friend who had a shop for many years in the Pontalba that sold locally made art tiles. The French Market Corp. runs the building and squeezed him out. There’s been a ton of national chains coming into the French Quarter and that seemed to be the direction they wanted to take their shops. They wanted to raise the rent and probably could get more money from a national chain than a mom-and-pop shop. I haven’t gone to see what took my friend’s shop’s place out of solidarity. (I’m also miffed because he’s let me use his bathroom. VERY important in the toilet-poor Quarter.) (I also do have to admit I am VERY excited about H&M opening a store in the Quarter. They aren’t even a national chain. They are international. But I digress.)
It remains to be seen if Mr. Smith does do the right thing. I know I’ll be watching.