Skip to content
CityLab
Government

Infrastructure, Tourism and Taxes: The Proposed New Orleans 'Hospitality Zone'

New Orleans wants to tax its tourist areas, but can't agree on how.
relates to Infrastructure, Tourism and Taxes: The Proposed New Orleans 'Hospitality Zone'
Reuters

Nearly 9 million people visited the city of New Orleans in 2011, a 5.6 percent increase from the year before. City officials are expecting that number to increase again this year and next, as the city hosts an ongoing series of high profile sporting events that will culminate next February when the Super Bowl is played at the Superdome, a 20-minute walk from the daiquiris and debauchery of Bourbon Street.

That walk, unfortunately, is a little bumpy. Infrastructure has been deteriorating citywide, but its state of decay may be most noticeable in the French Quarter, the hub of the city's tourism industry. Sidewalks between the Quarter and the Superdome or the nearby train station are spotty, and the streets will give a strenuous workout to your shocks. Local hospitality and tourism officials see how this can leave a bad impression in the minds of visitors. So can Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who's been pushing since fall for the creation of a new tax district in the tourist areas to help market the city and fund infrastructure improvements. It's a proposal that could raise upwards of $12 million a year.