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The field as source of inspiration

Kevin Fox Gotham
Traduction(s) :
Le terrain comme source d’inspiration [fr]

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Jackson Square with the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana (circa 1920)

Jackson Square with the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana (circa 1920)

Photograph appears in Gotham (2007a, p. 88). Reproduced by permission from the New Orleans Public Library, Louisiana Division and the City Archives.

1This photograph shows Jackson Square with the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Established in 1718, the neighborhood developed with a mix of resident and commercial land uses within a rectangular grid of approximately 120 blocks among the Mississippi River. With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States inherited a thriving commercial center supported by river trade. In 1937, the neighborhood was designed as a historic district. By the middle of the twentieth century, the French had acquired a reputation as a charming neighborhood with a unique history and cultural background.

2Since the 1960s, the French Quarter has experienced several waves of gentrification and has become a major entertainment destination marked by a proliferation of corporate tourism venues and expensive housing accommodating to the wealthy and Hollywood celebrities. Over the decades, residents and businesses have teamed with historic preservationists and otheractivists to protest the growth of fast-food restaurants, mall-like shops, and chain-like clothing stores that cateral most exclusively to tourists. In 1995, the United States National Trust for Historic Preservation identified the French Quarter as one of the ten most endangered places in the country due to the threat that commercial business growth posed to the residential character of the neighborhood. In recent years, residents and neighborhood organizations have lamented the increase of hotels, bed and breakfasts, time-shares, condominiums, and large entertainment clubs. Both median incomes and property values have increased, especially since the 1990s, and escalating rents and conversion of affordable single-family residences to expensive condominiums have pushed out lower-income people and made the neighborhood an expensive place to live.

3The tourism promotion of the French Quarter operates not only to bring spending tourisms into the city but also to create consumer demand to buy an urban lifestyle as agentrifier. Images and symbols of romance, nostalgia, delicious cuisine, jazz music, dancing, and shopping have long attracted tourists to the French Quarter. Before the 1970s, the use of advertising, marketing, and other promotional efforts to increase tourism was ad hoc, uncoordinated, and lacked sophistication compared to the present. Not only was the socio-economic context different from today but the intensity and scale of advertising and the organization of aesthetic production were vastly different. Today, public and private groups such as the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, the Mayor’s Office of Tourism and Arts, and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau now “simulate” the French Quarter using sophisticated advertising techniques aimed at promoting desire and fantasy, art and design directed to the production of desirable tourist experiences, and other highly refined techniques of image production and distribution. The implication is that tourism institutions are not necessarily engaged in promoting and advertising what the city has to offer. They are involved in adapting, reshaping, and manipulating images of the place to be desirable to the targeted consumer. Advertising the French Quarter as a site of famous architecture, romance, cultural heritage, music, and other entertainment activities affects the production and consumption of urban space for tourism. The same symbols, motifs, and themes that relate to tourist advertising are equally applicable to stimulating consumer demand to purchase a gentrified lifestyle.

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Titre Jackson Square with the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana (circa 1920)
Crédits Photograph appears in Gotham (2007a, p. 88). Reproduced by permission from the New Orleans Public Library, Louisiana Division and the City Archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/2224/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 226k
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Référence électronique

Kevin Fox Gotham, « The field as source of inspiration », Via [En ligne], 13 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2018, consulté le 11 décembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/2224

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Auteur

Kevin Fox Gotham

Ph.D., Department of Sociology, Tulane University, New Orleans

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Via Tourism Review est mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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