New Orleans (WVUE) – New Orleans makes a lot of money at night. In fact, according to the city, more than a fifth of his economic activity occurs after the normal workday is over.
That’s why we created the Nighttime Economy Room.
“Culture is the economy of the city of New Orleans, but more importantly the state of Louisiana,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a news conference Monday.
Cantrell appointed Howie Kaplan as the new City Hall Director. Kaplan has been a vocal advocate for musicians and venues, especially during the pandemic.
“This is, ‘How do we get to be the world-class city we know,'” Kaplan said. “This is how we invest in our future, how we invest in the entire cultural economy, and how we invest in the bearers of our culture.”
Kaplan’s background has given reason for optimism to some who might otherwise have been apprehensive about a new city agency getting involved in nightlife matters.
Tyler Daly, owner of the Royal Frenchmen Hotel, said: “Knowing it was Howie brought me a lot of relief and hope.” is good.”
Daly’s venue is facing issues with permitting live music after receiving noise complaints from neighbors. He hopes this new office will help.
He also hopes the city’s street performers will need some help when it comes to disputes with venues.
“New Orleans is a truly community-driven city, and maybe that’s been lost a bit over the years,” said Daly. “It’s where you see these exaggerated divisions between street musicians, venues, artists and residents.”
The mayor’s office said the role of the new department would not be enforcement.
“We’re looking at new ways of dealing with it,” Kaplan said. “I think it’s mediation. It’s about catching the problem before it becomes a problem at 3 a.m.”
This is an advocacy role, Kaplan said, providing a direct line of communication to learn about the needs of businesses and performers, communicate them to the city, and influence enforcement.
“I don’t think there will be one overarching theme,” says Kaplan. “I think it’s about quality of life and what you can do to improve it.”
There are similar positions in other major cities across the country. Philadelphia and Atlanta announced this year. In New Orleans, offices have been built over the years. The mayor and city council approved a budget of $500,000 last year.
The state ethics committee is considering Kaplan’s appointment because he owns the venue. Kaplan said he would step down whenever necessary.
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