Why? Well, a spokesman for the management company that runs Beale lays part of the blame on Katrina, which produced a new type of entrepreneur:
"We've started getting a different kind of individual, a lot of vagrants that came out of New Orleans and other places, displaced by Katrina. They're professional vagrants, more aggressive than what we used to see,"Professional vagrants. Wonder if they have a society or a website? They must have a lobbying group, since people used to disaffectionately call them hobos, bums, panhandlers, riff raff, etc. Whatever, they still tick off the business owners by scaring the tourists and townsfolk.
The story mentions that Memphis has been chit-chatting with representatives from other cities about their entertainment district problems:
Officials from Fort Worth, Texas, and Richmond, Va., have spoken with Elkington and other city officials about Memphis' work to protect Beale Street.Can't speak for Richmond, but I've been to Fort Worth, and Fort Worth is no Memphis. Tourists can have a decent evening down in Cow Town thanks mainly to the private security force around their Sundance Square entertainment district, verified by yours truly on several recent trips. It's more likely Memphis was asking for advice rather than giving it. Hopefully our fearless leaders will keep their minds open.