This is just a set, in concise form, of many of the themes, backgrounds, motifs and issues that are going to be central to this forum going forward. I expect that these will change over the course of writing in more detail. And who knows, my mind may change on some of these in the future. But now, just now, these are some of the more important points I’ll be working on with posts here.

- The River. The reason New Orleans is here, the reason our city was built here, and the reason we are still important to the rest of the country is due, primarily, to the river. Forget this and you will suffer for it.

- International Trade. We built a lot of things and grew when trade was central to our life in New Orleans. We began to ignore it and we began our decline.

- Tradition may or may not be a problem. Insularity almost always is.

- Romanticizing New Orleans and thinking that it is so “unique” that it doesn’t need to participate in the U.S. or world economy is one of the most damaging things you can do to the city. The people of New Orleans make it unique and if the people can’t sustain themselves then New Orleans dies as they leave for economic opportunity elsewhere.

- If you think national retail chains and large scale business are somehow incompatible with New Orleans, you haven’t been here long enough.

- Those who complain that they don’t want New Orleans to be like “Houston or Atlanta”  don’t seem to realize 1) Both those cities started out trying to be like New Orleans (in terms of economic primacy) and 2) that a lack of opportunity for our citizens will have them moving to places like Houston or Atlanta.

- Historic preservation is fine in small doses and when completely voluntary. When it becomes compulsory and preservationists become strident it becomes stifling.

- The combination of strident preservationists and an insular ruling class combine to be like a bad jealous lover for the city of New Orleans. They don’t want you to change and they don’t want you to meet anyone new.

- I will struggle to remember that you can get into a lot of trouble speaking in metaphors and similes in New Orleans.

- Neighborhood Organizations can be a double edged sword in a community, providing a method for disseminating crucial information and being a catalyst for positive neighborhood projects but oftentimes being resistant to change, a self appointed cadre of the NIMBY-minded with a reflexive NO towards most new development.

- Basic code enforcement, or rather the lack of it, is impacting economic development.

- In New Orleans, oftentimes, something is restricted so that you can have the privilege of paying to do it or have it done. More regulations generally just mean more opportunity for corruption.

- Almost every new development that has been built in the city in the past 50 years has had a positive impact on the areas around them. In the cases where you think they haven’t you need to perhaps look closer at what is causing the decline.

- Concentrating poverty has failed miserably.

- And to paraphrase Ernie K-Doe. “When you got your money in your pocket, that’s your money.”  That pretty well underscores how important individual economic opportunity is and why we should do the things we need to do to make sure that we build a prosperous city.

So… these are it… mostly, in a couple of bullet points what we will be talking about here.