Icy conditions take economic toll on state government and local - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Icy conditions take economic toll on state government and local restaurants


NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The biting cold took an economic toll on everything from state government to local restaurants.

Two days of blustery temperatures were all Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar owner Nick Asprodites wanted to handle.

"They've been cold and actually miserable," said Asprodites. "We had to shut down. It's just no business, no nothing."

With the roads shut down due to icy conditions, his destination restaurant on the lakefront wouldn't have drawn many customers. It's design, meant to keep it high above flood waters, posed a real danger.

"Getting up the stairs, I came in yesterday to check on the building and to get up the stairs was just a nightmare. It was all frozen over. I was sliding all over. Better no one saw me," Asprodites said.

Businesses across the region adhered to mayors' and parish officials' advice to give workers a day off and lock the doors. Michael Hecht of GNO Inc. says the trouble for businesses would have come if the cold lasted any longer.

"It's our experience from other shutdowns, particularly hurricanes, that if you're able to keep it to under three days, generally businesses - including small businesses - are able to carry through. They have enough cash flow," said Hecht.

Hecht said being able to bounce back quickly is one of Louisiana's strong points.

"One of the advantages that we have now in Louisiana and New Orleans with our experience is that we're very good at preparing, very good at shutting down what we need to, and getting back online quickly," said Hecht.

Though, that response comes at a cost.

The state said it spent $5.2 million to prepare for and handle the winter weather. It brought in millions of pounds of salt and thousands of gallons of liquid de-icer and activated 450 Louisiana National Guard soldiers, along with the state police, to help with road maintenance.

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