Aw, so Da Paper is righteously opposed to slot machines at Louis Armstrong Int’l (my emphs):

Money from slots at the airport may seem like an easy source of new money to lawmakers, but it is a bad idea. This is not Las Vegas. There is much more to New Orleans and the rest of South Louisiana than the gambling operations that have sprung up over the past 15 years.

This is a place steeped in history, and its distinctive culture, food and architecture are what entice people to visit — and to return again and again. Why in the world would anyone want a visitor’s first impression of this community to be as a gambling haven?

Are you freakin’ kidding me?! They think gambling isn’t inextricably linked to New Orleans’ cultural history? What an interesting belief that is!

Perhaps Da Paper should review the history of New Orleans from the 50’s to the 70’s, wherein mob boss Carlos Marcello built a $2 billion/year underworld empire with illegal businesses and virtual monopolies on slot machines, illegal casinos and racing wire services. Maybe, just maybe, that had something to do with the city’s reputation for gambling, rather than merely Edwin Edward’s codification of it.

And this line about positive “first impressions” is really rich, too. By my calculations, visitors to the Crescent City waste hundreds of thousands of hours each year waiting for their baggage in a claim area that has all the charm of an East German detention center. Would a bank of slots really ruin the aesthetic there? Hell, I’d pay an extra quarter per slot spin just to have something to do in that soulless dungeon during the invariable 15 minute wait.

Also, would it be so horrible to give travelers a place to deposit their loose coins before they go and set off the security checkpoint metal detectors?

Other than removing the huge jazz mural or the buffet at the Praline Connection, what could you do to possibly worsen the first impression MSY makes upon visitors to the city? If the T-P thinks some rows of slots would degrade the airport as a culturally representative gateway, they are profoundly wrong– both historically, and aesthetically.

5 Comments so far

  1. Tyler (unregistered) on June 9th, 2005 @ 1:46 pm

    This is very interesting. And I find myself agreeing. MSY is a very boring wait, whether on a concourse or at the baggage claim. Pushing coins into a big metal box, then cranking it, seems a defensible distraction.

    What will the slots money pay for? A Trading Spaces work-over of the industrial ironic 1980s gray-carpet’n’track-lighting?

  2. Mark (unregistered) on June 9th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    The slots revenue would go to the Saints, but that’s another discussion.

  3. Craig (unregistered) on June 9th, 2005 @ 6:26 pm

    I don’t care what they do out there — gambling, live sex, pilots trading tequila shots before flights etc. ANYthing to make the time go by and give the place more atmosphere.

    I’d also be all in favor of anything to divert the Kenner cops from that idiotic speed trap on the way in and out.

  4. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on June 11th, 2005 @ 3:14 pm

    Did someone say more atmosphere? I bet you the city could commission some artists to occasionally put up some displays – it doesn’t have to be an O’Hare laser light show but I know there are some artists in the city that would be up for the challenge. That fish with the hook in its face welcoming you toward concourse D is just disturbing.

  5. Nathalie (unregistered) on June 13th, 2005 @ 10:26 pm

    I’d settle for just some goddamn wireless internet access! Is that really too much to ask?!?!?!!?

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