After a recent trip to New Orleans I became aware of a post-Katrina problem that had not previously occurred to me. This problem is that short term rentals such as Air BnB are contributing to the ruin of New Orleans (NOLA) neighborhoods. A friend of mine has been living in NOLA for about a year and took us on the “behind the scenes” tour. Walking around some of the neighborhoods, I noticed many properties that were in disrepair and there was a lack of people on the streets.
Here is a link to an interesting article about this problem: http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2014/06/new_orleans_confronts_controve.html .
My friend told me that post-Katrina, many people simply abandoned their homes and never returned. This led to the homes being sold dead cheap to out of town investors. These investors realized that they could cash in on NOLA tourism and started renting out their properties through services such as Air BnB.
When these out of town property owners buy up space in residential neighborhoods, they dilute the community and in turn, there are fewer people left to care about the state of things. In the article above a resident complains that “Once the short term renters leave, its like a ghost town.”
Many sidewalks are upturned and difficult to walk through. Yards are overgrown and unsightly. Out of town property owners do nothing to fix these problems, only concerning themselves with cashing in on their rentals.
There is a feeling of “just putting up with it” going around in NOLA neighborhoods and a lack of a strong community is a big part of that problem.
In closing, perhaps if you plan to travel to NOLA and are looking for accommodations, you might consider supporting a local business who supports the community, rather than a short term rental property owner who does not.