Attention Mid-City Developers: Your Sucking Seems Imminent

It’s been a week since the T-P published this article about a major developer coming along and wanting to turn 20 some acres of Mid-City into a “retail district”, i.e. giant strip mall. The site is 5 blocks from my house, and like most of my neighbors, I’m opposed to anything resembling Veterans Highway in my neighborhood. Most of the people in my neighborhood also feel that a compromise should be reached allowing at least some retail chains into this corridor, which is currently filled with dilapidated warehouses, vacant lots, and an ex-hospital. I have mixed feelings on this. Yes, I suppose convenient shopping is better than blighted eyesores, and the argument that it creates jobs and funnels more sales tax $$$ into Orleans Parish is hard to argue. But my question is, Will It Suck? Unfortunately I don’t see how the answer could be anything besides “Yes It Will.”

Ever since Katrina, I’ve been trying to be a good citizen and do as much shopping as I can in Orleans Parish. But I’m really getting fed up with this, because all too often it’s a self-defeating exercise. At least it is when I go to the chain stores, which is exactly what they want to build. Specifically I’m talking about Sav-A-Center (Mid City and Uptown), Winn Dixie Uptown, Lowes on Elysian Fields, A&P, Harry’s Ace on Magazine, and Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas. These places SUCK, and they all have vastly superior counterparts in Jefferson Parish, which also has a much broader selection of shopping. So why should I even bother shopping in the city.

Define “suck,” you say. Well, specifically I’m talking about shitty customer service, long lines, shelves not stocked with what I want, shelves being stocked while I’m trying to shop, shopping carts in the parking spaces I’m trying to park in, people trying to hustle me in the parking lot, the list goes on. The customer service and long lines are by far and away the worst problem. I don’t know if it’s poor management, low pay, or shitty employees that create this problem. Probably a combination of the three. But if you want me to shop in Orleans Parish, give me an attractive place to shop in that doesn’t make me want to stab. I challenge the developers in Mid-City to do this, and if there’s any question about whether it can’t be done, don’t even try. Because if it can’t be done, I’m going to keep shopping in Metairie and so will everyone else, and those stores are just going to turn back into blighted eyesores.

14 Comments so far

  1. mitraillette (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 9:16 am

    So you’re saying that the solution to the poor customer service in nola is to deny the city the convenience of any chain stores at all? even the small local businesses have trouble finding/keeping employees in this city. The big chains are no different, and have just as much trouble finding capable, competent people that won’t quit the moment you ask them to do something they don’t want to do. I say open the chains in mid-city. Shitty service is better than no service.

  2. Chris Martel (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 9:32 am

    I’m saying don’t embark on a project that could be destined for failure. I probably would shop at this place despite it sucking, just because of the convenience factor. But Mid-City does not have enough residents to support this development. People from Uptown, Bywater, and all the other neighborhoods will need to shop there too, and why would they if they can go to nicer stores in Metairie without much more trouble?

    If the development opens and is nice and everyone shops there, then great, everyone wins. But if nobody shops there and it turns into a low-rent ghetto strip a la the old strip mall at Carrollton and I-10, or Lake Forest Mall, then Mid-City gets fucked. I don’t want that to happen.

  3. Puddinhead (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

    I’d LOVE to shop in New Orleans…..

    ….if it wasn’t for all of these damned New Orleanians!


  4. Puddinhead (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

    By the way, if that parcel is developed with some of the named retail outlets, I will come from Gentilly to patronize those stores rather than going to Metairie.

    “…can go to nicer stores in Metairie without much more trouble.”

    You are grossly underestimating just what a royal pain in the ass it is to drive a motor vehicle in the Veterans Boulevard corridor.

  5. Puddinhead (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

    Oh, one more thing….in return for my support of the Mid-City retail area, I will expect the occaisional foray to the Gentilly/Elysian Fields Town Center/Redevelopment Zone, if we’re able to attract some of the retailers we’d like to get involved…

  6. GentillyGirl (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

    The only part of Gentilly that companies such as Victory will be allowed to play in is the Chef Menteur corridor. They will not be welcome for assisting in the Gentilly/Elysian Fields area PERIOD. (Too many of us have worked hard for many moons to make this a reality)

  7. Craig (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    Personally, I’d be thrilled to be able to go to this kinda place in Mid-City. While there are going to be plenty of chain stores, there would also be locally-owned operations with a chance to crank up in a new, clean facility as opposed to trying to spruce up some 50- or 100-year-old dump. I’m all for architectural integrity — but some places are just too far gone, y’know?

    That strip mall on Tchoup — the one with the Winn-Dixie, the Pier One and the Petco? If I decide it’s time to go to a chain store, I much prefer going there than fighting Vet’s or Manhattan on the Westbank and shoveling sales tax dollars into Jefferson Parish. Nothing against the nice folks in the ‘burbs — but we need every dollar we can get here in Orleans Parish. And I haven’t noticed the customer service being any worse here than across the line.

  8. Chris (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

    But see Craig, that illustrates my point. You live much closer to the Wal-Mart on Tchoup than the Riverside Market strip mall. But instead of going to what is quite possibly the shittiest Wal-Mart on the planet, you go several miles out of your way to a nicer place. Just like I go to Dorignac’s instead of the Sav-A-Center that’s closest to my house.

    Anyway, like I said, if it’s nice and everyone shops there, great. I just don’t know if the neighborhood can afford to take that chance.

  9. Ray M (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

    Have you been to the Sav-a-Center on Veteran’s in Metairie? If you say it’s superior, I’ll have to ask for the drugs you’re using.

    I stopped there recently after turning in DVDs from a certain locale that’s open late (and used to have a location in Mid-City), thinking it might be more convenient for picking up just a couple of items. But the parking lot was so impossibly nasty that I wouldn’t even get out of the car, given the bags and trash covering practically every inch of the lot. It had also been raining, so you can only imagine how disgusting this was.

  10. Dan F (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

    Kaare’s been hammering on this for the last week. I think the possiblity of re-development needs to be discussed at least. While the majority of us in Orleans don’t want the big boxes coming to town, it’s a losing argument. They are coming people. We just have to make sure that the developers at least LISTEN to the neighborhood associations and that it’s not one big strip mall. Talking with Ms Midura, she’s gonna at least work to make it fit the area design wise. Plus don’t get too caught up in the Wal-mart/Target ideas. Those really are not going to happen. They are thinking a lil more upscale from my understanding.

  11. Kapaali (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

    You think Harry’s Ace Hardware on Magazine sucks? Every time I go there they have exactly what I need, they know exactly where it is, and I’m never in line more than a minute or so. If that constitutes sucking, then I must like things that suck.

  12. Chris (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 11:49 am

    must admit, I haven’t been to the Harry’s on Magazine much lately. When I used to live Uptown, I remember the staff would literally run away from you anytime it looked like you might ask them something. And every time I got keys made there, they didn’t work.

  13. Heather (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

    I can’t wait to go shopping here in the City. I look forward to more grocery stores and am hoping that some department stores come into the picture, too. I hate going to Metry even if the stores are better out there.

  14. William (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 12:37 am

    If they really want to make a shopping experience, perhaps they should try to get something that Metairie or anywhere else around NOLA doesn’t have, but needs, instead of just another Target:
    IKEA, Apple, Cabellas, perhaps??
    Whole Foods and a theater perhaps?
    Maybe some sort of computer store perhaps…???
    maybe some things we (New Orleanians) stand up and say we want?

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