austin

I Spent A Year Traveling Through America’s Fast-Growing Sunbelt

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There’s a severe shift occurring right now in the United States. The Northeast and Midwest are ceding people to the South and West, with migrants moving particularly to America’s Sunbelt. Like with other global migration shifts, there is an underlying political context to all this. Regulations on housing construction and other economic activities are making certain northern cities hostile to all but elite income groups. Meanwhile, the more open southern economies are receiving the exodus, becoming more economically and culturally dynamic. For the last year, I’ve traveled through this southern slice of the country, witnessing all these changes at street level–and it’s been something to behold…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Nola waterfront

America’s Progressive Developers–Sean Cummings and Steve Dumez

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[part of an MU series on America’s Progressive Developers]

 

New Orleans, LA–In recent decades, many U.S. cities have altered their downtown waterfronts. While proximity to water was what first enabled their industrial growth, this meant that their shorelines were long cut off from the public. Once residential quality of life became more of a factor, cities like Portland, Baltimore, and New York City transformed these spaces into parks and promenades.

But New Orleans has remained behind the curve. The city famously meanders along the Mississippi River in the shape of a crescent, hence its nickname.… Read more

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A Tale Of Two Alcohol Laws: New Orleans and Oklahoma City

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–When planning my cross-country trip last year, I knew that my successive months in New Orleans and Oklahoma City would be wildly different. New Orleans, as one friend noted, is a “sorority city” full of drinkers and partiers. Oklahoma City is the capital of one of America’s most conservative states, with a culture rooted in work, family and religion. And these differences are embodied in both states’ alcohol laws. Louisiana–particularly New Orleans–has some of America’s loosest laws, and Oklahoma some of the strictest.… Read more

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In the Birthplace of Jazz, Noise Complaints Get Louder

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

New Orleans, LA–New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz. It’s also where the blues and so many other genres have been refined. It still swarms with buskers — street performers — random parades and live music bars. But recently tension has grown between those who make the music and those living near it. Although the city’s initial response was to tamp down on the noise, it has since launched an educational campaign called Sound Check to reduce complaints while letting the music play on.… Read more

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The Quirks Of New Orleans Culture: Everything Else

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

[The last in a 4-part series on what makes New Orleans different. Here’s part onepart two and part three.]

 

New Orleans, LA–Several days have passed since Fat Tuesday, on February 9, when this city concluded Mardi Gras. The streets have since gone from featuring topless women, gorilla-suited trombonists, and breakdancers with Donald Trump masks, to people enduring their normal routines. That said, New Orleans still isn’t functioning like most cities do, and likely never will. For example, last night I was eating at a local diner, Parkway Bakery, when the place was randomly invaded by costume-wearing bicyclists on a pub crawl.… Read more

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The Quirks Of New Orleans Culture: Mardi Gras Balls

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

[Part three in a 4-part series on what makes New Orleans different. Here’s part one and part two.]

 

New Orleans, LA—To outsiders, the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans might appear to be about parades and outdoor parties. For many locals, though, the highlight of the season is the formal indoor parties–known as Mardi Gras Balls—that are thrown by numerous social clubs. Dating to the 1850s, these balls have been an entrenched part of the city’s social order, marked by notions of rank, tradition and exclusivity.… Read more

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The Quirks of New Orleans Culture: King Cake

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

[Part two in a 4-part series on what makes New Orleans different. Here’s part one.]

 

New Orleans, LA—Every U.S. city has cinnamon rolls. But come this time of year, New Orleans thrives on a cinnamon-roll-like pastry that sparkles with far greater character and color, as if the chef had gone on a bender. This pastry is a time-worn city tradition known as King Cake…[read the rest at Forbes]

 … Read more

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The Quirks Of New Orleans Culture: Second Lines

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

[Part one in a 4-article series on what makes New Orleans different]

 

New Orleans, LA—There are certain commentators who will argue that, thanks to gentrification, corporatism, and globalization, U.S. cities are losing their cultural distinctiveness. These people should really try leaving their rooms more often. One thing I’ve noticed while traveling is that cultural differences, in fact, remain alive and well in America. And nowhere is this more evident than New Orleans, where I’ve been living since around Christmas until Mardi Gras day on February 9.… Read more

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How Businesses Outperformed Government During New Orleans’ Katrina Fiasco

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Yesterday, New Orleans reminisced on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which remains America’s costliest natural disaster– killing 1,836 people, displacing 1 million, and causing $150 billion in damages. It would have been natural for residents, much like the media, to celebrate the city’s admirable bounce-back ever since, and its future potential. But on the historic day, it was also worth recalling the sheer incompetence for disaster relief shown by the government during that summer in 2005…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Justice isn’t Colorblind in New Orleans

[Originally published by City Journal]

 

Across the country, the school-choice movement’s future may depend on the outcome of a Justice Department lawsuit charging that the Louisiana Scholarship Program—which provides vouchers for poor children to leave failing public schools—increases racial segregation. The suit, which could inspire future litigation against state education reforms, has drawn sharp criticism from Governor Bobby Jindal, the program’s founder, and even prompted a letter to the Justice Department from House Speaker John Boehner.

Louisiana’s school-reform movement sprang up in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.… Read more

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