Sounds like she doesn't know anything about Downtown Mobile. Has she been down there in years. Many successful restaurant/bars have been there for years. And let her know a box store like Macy's would never survive. That is a old way of thinking.
Retail is needed but smaller pop up retail is more likely and more chance of success.
The Royal scam restaurant had their best day Saturday in 6 years. So obviously someone is spending money on Loda on entertainment in a slower economy.
You know Downtown Mobile really isn't for everyone. If its not your cup of tea Fairhope and West Mobile will be more than happy to see you.
As to being a "French Quarter" - we don't have the tourism numbers to even remotely look like the French Quarter. Other than Mardi Gras - Art Walk is the largest crowds monthly in Downtown. Are you really scared of 40-60 year olds walking down Dauphin Street with their wine?
These entertainment districts are very successful in many budding cities in Mobile. It is a low cost amenity this city can use to help attract more tourist and more importantly larger conventions. I applaud Mobile for trying something new instead of following old ideas that don't work.