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    Posted February 5, 2009 by
    New Orleans, Louisiana
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    New Orleans riding the economic tsunami


    New Orleans riding the economic tsunami


    By Neal Moore


    New Orleans, LA (CNN iReport) --- As all eyes turn to New Orleans on this the eve of Mardi Gras, circa a global economic tsunami, the question is: how will she fare, and with her, the tourism industry as a whole.


    The answer could be a test balloon for money earned vs. money spent as tourism is most certainly a good indicator to how we are weathering the current economic quandary.


    Here in the heart of the French Quarter on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, many of the people I spoke with tonight were putting on a brave face, if only for the camera, and the hope of a successful Mardi Gras season.


    From the hot dog salesman to the taxi driver to the foreign souvenir sales shop with the simple name of "Shop 504 Bourbon Street" local business owners and service staff spoke of a most sincere downturn but likewise of a hope for a saving grace.


    But behind the façade (and off camera), Dwayne Burns and His New Orleans Band told me what was really on their mind, pointing out between sets, "It's just dead - see this street? It used to be packed with folks dancing on both sides of the street."


    Yet as the music intensified and the crowd actually filled to capacity with eager onlookers craning their necks to see in, Mr. Burns took out a dollar bill from the overflowing tip jar and in an exaggerated effort to wipe the sweat from his brow, the band swept into the lyrics "Let's fly down or drive down to New Orleans - see all the hot spots - hang out with all you big shots - in New Orleans."

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