Yoo Hoo, Jennifer!
Good questions! I don't know, but I'll speculate on a few things about the name change.
First, Port Orleans was originally supposed to be one big resort, not Port Orleans and Dixie Landings as it opened. That is why the check-in area at the (now renamed) Dixie Landings has the steamboat/transportation theme: the French Quarter guests were to check in there as well as the Dixie Landings folks.
Perhaps Disney did not want to offend anyone with the Dixie Landings name (emphasis mine) in this day of controversy over Confederate flag/Confederate flag symbols on state flags as being a throwback to racism.
Or perhaps with more and more Disney Resorts now open at WDW, it just made sense from a marketing standpoint to have the one "Port Orleans" name and combine the resorts, rather than having to put extra space in brochures and online for another resort which is very similar to the existing moderate-level Port Orleans. Maybe they felt that would be less confusing for those trying to make a decision on where at WDW to stay.
One thing that they did save money on: Bonfamille's restaurant that had been at Port Orleans (now referred to as the French Quarter section) was closed when they merged the two resorts. I enjoyed the food there and I'm sorry for the loss of a restaurant at that location (although the food court had been great, too). I hope the quality of the food in the food court at the French Quarter remains the same without a full-service restaurant associated with it.
Thanks for the question, Jennifer! Anyone else have any other comments about it?
RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator