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  1. There is remarkably little construction activity in and around the city. The only noticeable bustle is on Interstate-10 just east of the airport.
  2. There are lots, I mean lots, of people just standing around. And I do not mean these guys.
  3. I can’t quite describe this well, but the city is missing all of the little things that a vibrant city should have. I do not just mean that there aren’t enough Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts (that is true), but something more basic than that.
  4. The lower 9th ward looks like it did two years ago, just with a little less water. I will comment more on this later.
  5. Something felt extremely wrong about watching the people on Bourbon Street (beyond what typically gives me the willies about it).  I just cannot imagine how so much gluttony can take place so near places which need so much help.
  6. It wasn’t that nice in July of 2005. Much of the city is/was extremely dingy, old, etc. It would not be a place I chose to go on vacation.
  7. Maybe Tom Tancredo could change his presidential platform to allow any current illegal immigrant amnesty if they moved to the city sans government help, particularly to the 9th ward. As I see it, that is the only way a vibrant and productive community will emerge back there.
  8. The city should not have been there in the first place – just flying over the area convinced me. But if that is not enough, perhaps you should read about the Atchafalaya and Old River first.

By the way, it is pretty disturbing walking around New Orleans with 100s of other economists floating around. Talk about sore thumbs. My favorite part was leaving my hotel at 4:00am this morning for a flight, and bumping into some pretty well known economists who were just coming home.

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