I have decided to stay at the JW Marriott this year as it is closer to French quarter for going out. The last TechEd in New Orleans I stayed at the Lowes and did not find any problems with the shuttle. That said, Not sure what you mean by lack of shuttle service, as there has always been shuttles to the conference. Never had much of an issue getting there and back, although some years it took a little longer due to traffic.
FYI, I checked it out last night and the hotels closest to the are starting to sell out.