Bus line debuts tour of stricken city
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - An international bus line launched tours of devastated sections of New Orleans on Wednesday, amid controversy over whether so-called disaster tourism would help, hurt or humiliate the hurricane-ravaged city.
Two sold-out Gray Line tour busses slowly prowled along the city's broken levees, through its rubble-strewn streets and past the heavily damaged Superdome where desperate residents took shelter when Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29 and most of the city flooded in the aftermath.
Plans for the "Hurricane Katrina - America's Worst Catastrophe" tour, at $35 per person, prompted debate over whether it is appropriate or exploitative to turn devastation into a tourist attraction.
Gray Line, which runs more than 150 tours around the world, plans to donate $3 of each New Orleans ticket to charity. The three-hour tour will run once a day, Wednesday through Sunday.
"Gray Line thought long and hard before making the decision to send this tour out,"
Stay home and donate the $35 to a charity - you'll sleep better at night. And as for the ghouls masquerading as Gray Line employees? Obviously you didn't think at all except about lining your pockets.