A retailer in an urban area operates behind security tags, closed-circuit cameras, guards, and alarms. This levee system has to hold against a rising tide of shoplifters or he will be submerged in red ink. Each year this levee costs a little more of each retail dollar spent.
Looters and their sympathizers in the mainstream media can snicker about turning the tables on The Man, but the world is watching. A national chain may decide margins are better elsewhere, while mom-and-pop capitalist oppressors may stay away for more personal reasons.
Whether emboldened by fire or by water, looters swarming a city broadcast a message no chamber of commerce can undo: Stay Away. Stay Far Away.
There will be all kinds of plans in coming months for New Orleans to be drained, repainted, relit, and filled with boozy extroverts again. If it is to work, there will have to be massive tax subsidies to lure back business. This will come out of your pocket, just like the cost of the retail levee system.