Compare that to Santa Fe, for instance, which also experienced a decline following the building of the Santa Fe Railroad, which bypassed the city and took away commerce in favor of Albuquerque.The Santa Fe government understood from the beginning that, to bring economic activity back to the city, tourism was the only option.
It was meant well at the time, but it took several decades to realize the mistake.
Rather than investing into commuter rail and other practical forms of public transport to facilitate quick access from the "bedroom communities" that were developing all around the city, the city opted to build massive highways right through the city, entire historic neighborhoods, and upsetting the social makeup of the old city.
This gave the 19th century city the shape of a crescent nested along the curving meander in the river, the origin of the nickname "The Crescent City".
Between the developed higher ground near the Mississippi and the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, most of the area was low-lying wetlands, some of which lies significantly below sea level.
These catastrophic projects included the building of the raised I-10 expressway over Claiborne Avenue, which turned a majestic boulevard similar to St.
Charles Avenue, shaded by large live oak trees, to a row of slums pre-destined for deterioration; or the building of the Camp Street on-ramp for the Greater New Orleans Bridge; or the building of the MR-GO canal; or the plans to tear down parts of the French Quarter to build a multi-layer expressway; or tolerating housing projects (deadly neighborhoods with gang shootings on a daily basis) within a few blocks of the French Quarter, the tourist-industry engine of the city.The first layer to strip away is the post-WWII developments.In New Orleans, this included the ill-motivated attempts to turn the old French and Spanish city into a steel-and-concrete metropolis.In New Orleans, perhaps the biggest mistake of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was to allow New Orleans to sprawl into flood-prone areas that were never meant to be developed.Until the early 20th century, construction was largely limited to the slightly higher ground along the long meander of the Mississippi River flanked by a natural levee created by the depositional processes of the river.Some have been reversed, such as the removal of streetcars from Canal Street, which had been another "modernization" effort in the 1960s, or the removal of the Camp Street ramp for another raised expressway.