“Bhopal South” To Boost N.O.'s Disaster Tourism Industry
Written by NOLAFugees Staff
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 14:40
The Port of New Orleans, in partnership with the newly founded Disaster Tourism Board, announced the establishment of “Bhopal South,” a riverfront enterprise zone designed to boost tourism in the city through industrial accidents.
The first phase of the development, currently under review, involves blast-freezing chicken parts with tons of potentially lethal gas at a location adjacent to the French Market.
New Orleans Cold Storage, whose proposed operation would be located at a more than 90 degree bend along a treacherous stretch of the Mississippi River, promises 40,000 tons of anhydrous ammonia within striking distance of wayward ships. “An industrial accident of this type surely wouldn’t have a casualty count of the real Bhopal or even a well-orchestrated terror attack,” said Davis Monaghan, director of the NODTB. “However, the slow-developing nature of a ship crash would provide the national media ample time to assemble the camera crews. And that’s precisely the kind of exposure New Orleans needs, the kind we haven't seen since Katrina.”
The plan has come under criticism from concerned citizens worried that the city is once again relying on tourism to fuel its economy.
Addressing those concerns, Monaghan replied: “Sure, we can bring in legitimate technology industries to New Orleans, but let’s face it. Do people visiting India get spiritual fulfillment from looking at tech support call centers? No, they want to see children and elderly drinking raw sewage. Bhopal South aims to bring that experience to the heart of New Orleans tourism center.”
Other opposition includes those who do not want Bhopal South in their backyard.
Chris Costello, president of the Faubourg Marigny Neighborhood Association, said that while he and the majority of FMIA members support disaster tourism in principle, “our residents would much prefer that deadly gases emit elsewhere, such as the Lakefront or New Orleans East.”
Costello also noted that naming the district after Bhopal, India, where thousands died after an accident at Union Carbide unleashed toxic methyl isocyanate, indicates further insensitivity toward foreign cultures, a fact he hopes might sway Governor Bobby Jindal to intervene in opposition.
“The cultural tone-deafness of the plan saddens me,” said Costello. “And it certainly doesn’t befit the tolerant spirit of the Faubourg Marigny.”
In response to request for comment, Governor Jindal’s office released the following statement: “First off, the ‘Bhopal South’ plan aligns perfectly with Baton Rouge’s larger vision for choking the life out of New Orleans. As for cultural insensitivity, it should already be clear that Governor Jindal doesn’t give a fuck. He changed his name to Bobby, for Christ’s sake.”
Phase 2 of Bhopal South, while still in the planning stages, is said to be a nuclear reactor located at the base of the train tracks on Press Street and hopes to attract the coveted gay and lesbian tourist dollar. Three Mile Fire Island hopes to break ground by 2011.
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