Since been in the New Orleans area, something has really stuck out at me. Except for burger chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s, which are abundant, big name chain restaurants are rare in the area.
There are only two Applebee’s, and they are in NOLA, with none on the West Bank where you would expect them. Cracker Barrel and Ruby Tuesday are an hour away. Panera Bread has only just started to come into NOLA with one in Metairie, same deal for Outback Steakhouse.
I understand that there are much better places to eat in the area, but this lack of presence by big name chain eateries tells me that trust in the area is slow to rebuild.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of the gas stations are independently owned. There are a lot of Shells (which used to be headquartered here but has since moved to Houston), but not other nationally-recognized brands. Gas prices vary enormously, with one station boasting $3.05 and the one a block down announcing $3.25!