I've been there...hmm...four times? It's an odd city, and it's always had the feeling that it's living on borrowed time. That might be part cause of its licentious attitude. The French Quarter is sort of disgusting, and always smells like beer vomit. I don't like seafood, and I don't like 98 degree days. However, once you get 5 minutes outside the touristy areas, you can see some incredibly beautiful old homes. You can also see some of the most depressingly poor areas anywhere (like my 5 AM drive on a foggy Airline Hwy to the airport).
Part of the problem has been that all the towns in the area are built where they shouldn't be, on a flood plain. To preserve them, they've built up levees over the years and pumped water out of the city. This has made things worse, because the levees have prevented silt from being deposited back into the wetlands, which are being eaten away quickly by the Gulf. Areas which used to extend some miles around the river now look like a leaf skeleton after being eaten away by bugs. There's nothing left but the river, the levees, and a street or two on either side. And after this hurricane moves through tomorrow, the whole tip of the state will likely just disappear for good, into the sea. The best-case scenario is this cheerful NOAA warning:
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL.
PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD
FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE
BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A
FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.