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New Orleans, a city typically associated with its collection of colonial architectural relics, is also a hotbed of postmodernism. The city’s Central Business District exposes the failures inherent in modernist planning principles, generating a pockmarked urban condition that reflects the boom-and-bust cycles of late capitalism.
Postmodern structures, the preferred architectural expression of corporate industry in American cities from Dallas to Los Angeles, Atlanta to Orlando, have a major foothold in New Orleans, a city that to this day is closely associated with its collection of colonial architectural relics. The postmodern layer of development is a byproduct of the region’s robust resource-extraction industry, an economic driver that in the early 1980s shifted its corporate locus from New Orleans to Houston, prompting economic collapse in one city and erecting a wholly new set of icons in the other.