Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CBD, Canal Street, Tulane, etc.

Between Coliseum and  Camp Streets: Neutral Ground.

I was talking to a woman today and I asked, "Were all these tall buildings occupied six years ago?"

"No," she answered.  "They were empty when the levees broke."

"Who would build a skyscraper and abandon it?" I asked.

"These were built during the oil boom in the 70s.  When the 80s came, the companies moved out of town.  The last were gone in the early 90s at the latest."

That's a lot of architecture to just get up and abandon after building it.  It also explains why renovations aren't proceeding swiftly.  The buildings were empty to begin with.  They look like they were built in the 70s.  These would be unloved, ugly buildings even if they were humming with activity.

It makes me wonder:  A real estate market seemed so hot that developers erected these office towers but it left behind husks a mere ten or twenty years later.  So quickly that the Central Business District and O'Keefe Avenue and the area around Tulane Hospital seem like parts of a ghost town.  What went wrong?  What went so wrong that something new was abandoned so quickly.  What went wrong that the money moved to Houston, from what I understand.  Houston?  I wouldn't bring a dog to Houston let alone a corporate headquarters.  Maybe that's why I write a blog rather than run an oil company.  There are worse fates.

2 comments:

Anita said...

I moved here just in time for the emptying out of those buildings and the general decline of everything in the city that depended on the growth of the oil industry. It was indeed painful and New Orleans (as well as south Louisiana) has never recovered.

Whalehead King said...

So it seems. I've never known the city any other way. I blamed Katrina for these empty office towers and didn't realize that the oil boom inspired so much swift development and just as relatively swift exit.

Thanks, Anita.

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