'An old neighborhood again': What New Orleans' French Quarter has been like without tourists

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For some residents, the same coronavirus closures that have shut down favorite restaurants and neighborhood bars have also brought a welcome respite.

NEW ORLEANS — For Jack Greenwood, New Orleans’ COVID-19 lockdowns brought sadness, but also a revelation: He was making more acquaintances with fellow residents — people he might not have noticed before“I’ve seen and met more neighbors now than ever before,” said Greenwood, who has lived in the Quarter for more than two years. “When there’s a normal amount of tourists in town, people’s faces can kind of get lost in the crowd.

Chad Pellerin, a retired attorney and a resident of the quarter for 50 years, sometimes delights in tourists. She said she has invited out-of-town visitors to get a look inside the late 19th century Victorian “double” she inherited from her aunt. “People are genuinely suffering and scared,” Chapman said. “There’s a lot of small businesses that are closed.”

Others want the tourists back. Kari Mote, who lives in the nearby Bywater neighborhood, is a waitress who lost her job at a French Quarter restaurant when the state shut down on-site dining. She acknowledges the mess left behind by drunks in the historic neighborhood but says, “Everybody knows it’s the deal if they live in the quarter.”

“It was quiet. And there was a beauty in that way,” Chapman said. “But it was also haunting because just so many places were boarded up.”

 

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