The future ain’t pretty

I was speaking to an individual today who has extensive insights into French Quarter businesses. I’ll call him a “very reliable anonymous source.” We chatted about business returning to the Quarter and things returning to our dysfunctional level of normalcy. We noted how many establishments didn’t return from the shutdown and the number of vacant buildings there are. I commented on how I anticipate huge corporate chains to move in and he replied, “They already are.”

According to “my source,” one big player who is looking to expand to Bourbon Street is TACO BELL. My first thought was a fast food joint and I guess I scowled in confusion. Not your average strip mall variant of the fast food chain, he said, but a huge, mega Taco Bell Cantina, like the one in Las Vegas. It’s more in line with the Hard Rock Cafe franchise, which also has a presence on Bourbon Street. I had to look this one up online.

A flagship Taco Bell. A monster location with multi-floors and alcoholic beverages. They even have a gift shop with Taco Bell apparel. I’ll say it right now: if you have Taco Bell printed on your shirt, you better be an employee. I can respect a TB employee. I cringe at the thought of people spending $30 on a T-shirt to advertise a corporation as a status symbol. Dumb asses will collect and wear Hard Rock Cafe shirts, so much for common sense I guess.

Read more: Visit Taco Bell’s Flagship Restaurant in Las Vegas (tacobell.com)

A year ago I predicted after the pandemic and the huge corporations pick through the rubble of destroyed small businesses that the French Quarter will become a Disney outlet. Let me amend that, it may become like a Fremont Street in Las Vegas. This works well with the mayor’s vision of pedestrian mall in the Quarter. The city would love to have large multinational corporations moving in and driving out the few remaining mom-and-pop establishments.

The small businesses whine and complain when license fees, taxes and regulations restrict their operations. Big corporations can absorb those costs and even welcome them. High costs of operations keep out the small time start-ups while allowing them more pull with the city.

Just what I want, Fremont Street. Drunk tourists on a ZipLine screaming past my apartment window every night vomiting alcohol-saturated Krystal burgers onto Bourbon Street below. People on balconies pelting the zip liners with beads and bottles. Think it sounds implausible? One thing we have learned over the past couple of years is: if a massive corporation throws enough money at the right political campaigns, they can get away with killing people.

We don’t know yet how Bourbon Street will change over the next few years, but have no doubt that it will change.

Contact Eric T. Styles at styles@thequarterrat.com.

UPDATED Man killed in shooting near Canal Street and Roosevelt Way; arrest made

[Update: 5/6/21, 12:50 p.m]: A 24-year-old man was arrested in connection to a Canal Street shooting on Wednesday that left one person dead.

Khutbi Abdelkader was detained at the scene of the shooting that occurred shortly before 5 p.m. in the 900 block of Canal Street, and was later arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder after further investigation, according to New Orleans Police.

After first responders arrived on scene, they located a male victim who sustained a gunshot wound to the body and transported him to a local hospital, where he died.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office will identify the victim and official cause of death upon completion of autopsy and notification of family, according to New Orleans Police.

Through investigation, detectives allegedly determined that a verbal altercation occurred between Abdelkader and the victim occurred outside of a business.

Abdelkader shot the man during the altercation, according to New Orleans Police, who also obtained an arrest warrant for Abdelkader.

Abdelkader was booked Orleans Parish Justice Center with no bail amount listed.

Anyone with additional information on this incident is asked to contact NOPD Homicide Detective Jameson Diesburg at 504-658-5300.

Abdelkader. Courtesy of NOPD.

Man wanted in connection to April 25 Bourbon Street shooting that injured 5 people

A 26-year-old man who is wanted in connection to at least two shooting incidents, including an April 24 shooting that injured five people on Bourbon Street, was identified Tuesday by New Orleans Police.

An arrest warrant was obtained for Darran Boykins for an investigation into aggravated battery by shooting that occurred in the 300 block of Bourbon Street shortly after 1 a.m., according to New Orleans Police.

Through an investigation, Eighth District detectives allegedly identified Boykins as the perpetrator in the Bourbon Street shooting that injured five people.

Boykins. Courtesy of NOPD.

In addition to the five counts of aggravated battery, Boykins is also sought in connection to an April 24 shooting that injured two people near the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Simon Bolivar Street, and a domestic violence incident in which he assaulted and kidnapped a woman in Algiers on March 25, according to New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.

Anyone with additional information on the investigation or Boykins’ whereabouts is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080. Anonymous callers can contact Crimestoppers of New Orleans at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.

Volunteers needed for May 8 graffiti clean-up in the French Quarter

(Photo: Quinn Dombrowski | CC Flickr)
A local business association is seeking volunteers needed to help clean up graffiti in the French Quarter on May 8.

The French Quarter Business Association announced on April 21 that its all-volunteer graffiti abatement program will return on May 8 for a two-hour cleanup and any individual who signs up to help could get a free t-shirt showing that they did.

Volunteers can sign up at fqba.org or by calling 504-309-1423. They can also sign up by emailing graffiti@fqba.org.

On the day of the graffiti removal, volunteers will meet with officials at the New Orleans Police Department 8th District station located at 334 Royal St. at 9 a.m. and work until 11 a.m.

All cleaning supplies will be provided, according to the FQBA. Coffee and beignets will be provided by Cafe Beignet, according to the FQBA.

Clean-up will consist of removing stickers and small tags from public property in assigned areas.

Volunteers are advised to wear protective eye wear, long-sleeved shirts, work clothes and comfortable walking shoes.

A post-cleanup lunch will be provided and, while supplies last, those who volunteered will receive a t-shirt, according to the FQBA.

2 people lacerated with straight razor after altercation with prostitute at Willie’s Chicken Shack

(Graphic by Eric T. Styles; photo courtesy of NOPD)
A Black female believed to be a prostitute and accused of cutting two victims during a Sunday night altercation at Willie’s Chicken Shack on Canal Street is wanted by New Orleans Police in connection to the incident.

The incident occurred shortly after 11:30 p.m. in the 700 block of Canal Street, when the unidentified Black female suspect lacerated two victims with a straight razor during the altercation, according to Eighth District police.

The female, pictured above, is described as approximately 5 foot 6 inches tall, wears a silver or bleach blonde wig and is in her early 30s.

Anyone with information regarding the identity and/or whereabouts of the unknown female suspect is asked to contact Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080. Anonymously callers can contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.