New Orleans already has a community of food & taco trucks roaming the city, but could it support the "flea-market" like atmosphere of food cart clusters? The success of vendors throughout the year, (and especially during festival season) tells me this is viable. Even more so when you consider the variety of public spaces scattered about the city that could be used for such a purpose.
[C]ould temporary businesses like food carts occupy peripheral parking lots, increasing pedestrian traffic in the short term while the areas develop? The hope would be that new, permanent businesses would eventually follow and redevelop the properties more fully.
Narrow parking lots seem like good candidates, where new construction might be cost-prohibitive for spot infill with so many larger and more flexible lots available.
But as with all things New Orleans, the permitting process here could stifle this type of innovation; while in Athens it comes down to ambivalence of the city's zoning.