A water hammer tower, which is designed to be used when pressure gets low, is still under construction with ice on the ground at the Sewerage and Water Board Plant in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. The East Bank of Orleans Parish is under a boil water advisory because of lower water pressure due to cold weather.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

The concept of prime time, the evening window when television networks broadcast their biggest shows, is pretty dated. These days, when people want to watch something, they just call it up and hit play. And when they use the word prime, they're often talking about the popular bundle of services offered by online giant Amazon.

Under the old usage or the new, though, south Louisiana's not exactly looking ready for prime time.

Boil water advisory issued for East Bank of Jefferson Parish as water pressure drops

New Orleans, south Louisiana not among finalists for new Amazon headquarters

After two nights of brutal cold, even many New Orleans area residents lucky enough to have intact, unfrozen pipes woke up Thursday to news that they were under a boil water advisory and needed to conserve energy, for risk of overtapping the system and prompting outages.

They also woke up to news that the region did not make Amazon's short-ish list of 20 finalists for its game-changing second headquarters. This should surprise exactly nobody, given the area's relatively small population, poor public transit and much more. We already knew it was a reach to prove we belonged in the big leagues. 

We also already knew vulnerable infrastructure was a problem, certainly after deep challenges facing the city's Sewerage & Water Board emerged following last summer's floods. But even if New Orleans had gotten better news Thursday, can you imagine how the struggle to keep the most basic services flowing would play with out-of-town site selectors looking to locate a project of this scale? If the area had made the list, I'm guessing it would have been scratched by noon. 

Which is not to say that people who work for governments and utilities aren't doing their best. By all appearances, they are. And there are plenty of other cities, including some on the finalist list, that have their own significant infrastructure woes.

But face it: To the outside world, what's happened over the last couple of days isn't a good look. And this is one area where appearances really do matter.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.