If anyone recalls, the Times-Picayune evolved from 4 papers (actually, more than 4, but I don't wish to go back more than 80 years), and by 1950, those 4 had become 2, The States-Item (the liberal afternoon daily paper) and the Times-Picayune (the conservative morning daily and Sunday paper). Newhouse bought the T-P and the States-Item in 1962 but kept them as independent papers. Newhouse merged them in 1980 to become the Times-Picayune/States-Item, the famous "Tipsy". The nickname, I believe, caused them to streamline the name to the Times-Picayune. Farewell States-Item.
I am one of those who hold The T-P (toilet paper, in local parlance) in low esteem (Hell, Baton Rouge has a much better paper, The Advocate, and that is a backwater town if ever there was one) but I subscribe to it, and have for at least 30 years. The online version, nola.com, is dreadful, and I cannot imagine anyone paying for it. So this is a very bad development for the city.
The T-P is a rag, but, 4 times a year, a crew of reporters would tackle a story, do an in depth research on the subject then publish a 5 or 7 part story and win a Pulitzer. Will alternative media do that? Yes, the T-P was a monopoly and fully vested in the old-line elites and monied classes, but it published good reporters and great writers--need I mention James Gill?
I do not think the void will be so easily filled. The main problem with the demise of the T-P is that only 36% of New Orleans's population have home internet access, so alternative media will not reach many people.
There is also another problem: we need newspaper to eat crawfish! If that statement baffles you, google "crawfish boil".