New Orleans Life

Monday, July 11, 2016

Y@ Speak: #AltonSterling and #BatonRouge

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Twitter allows us nearly minute-by-minute live accounts of anything happening at any time, including the overwhelming, war-like response to protests and marches in the wake of Alton Sterling's death by Baton Rogue police officers last week. Reports from the weekend's protests have used words like "standoff" to describe what was more like a one-sided riot response — where there was no riot. This week's edition follows last week's vigils, rallies and updates from Baton Rouge, all aired on Twitter by the hundreds of witnesses who were there.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New Orleans' National Underwear Day parade is August 5

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Burlesque dancer Trixie Minx is queen of New Orleans' National Underwear Day Parade.
  • Burlesque dancer Trixie Minx is queen of New Orleans' National Underwear Day Parade.

In the new New Orleans, it seems people can't get enough parades or burlesque, and the two public displays are merging in a National Underwear Day parade, announced by organizers Ryan Ballard of the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus and Xena Zeit-Geist, founder of the Society of Sin burlesque troupe. 

The parade is Friday, Aug. 5. There's a pre-party and gathering in Washington Square in Marigny at 6 p.m. The procession departs at 7 p.m. and travels to Castillo Blanco, the Chewbacchus den, where the group will hold its "Free Ball." Organizers have named royalty for the day. Chris Leonard, Executive Director of New Orleans Pride, is the King. Burlesque performer Trixie Minx is Queen. Admission to both events is free.

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Y@ Speak: #OpenForEssence

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:45 PM

Last week Twitter got together for some good old-fashioned online shaming during the 2016 Essence Festival. Also: #MrStealYourGrandma made it to New Orleans, we say goodbye to Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson, and people camped outside a Raising Cane's.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Short-term rental groups push against "burdensome regulations" in New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 7:00 PM

houses.jpg

Short-term rental groups are jumping into this summer's debate to dispel fears that short-term rental growth is pushing out New Orleans residents. And with nearly three-quarters of all short-term rentals in the area comprising entire homes, supporters are pushing the city to keep those types of rentals on the table as regulations are drawn up.

At a panel discussion at The Curtis House on Magazine Street June 28, members of HomeAway, the umbrella group for 40 sites including VRBO, argued short-term rentals' economic impact to the city, particularly in residential neighborhoods, with an average of more than three visitors per home spending an average of four nights per visit, along with students on long-term academic trips, people on business, or families on medical-related trips spending as much time as tourists on vacation.

Travel website Expedia bought HomeAway earlier this year — Philip Minardi, Expedia's Director of Policy Communications, said the company is hoping to integrate short-term rentals into its travel options the same way hotels or cabs are offered with flights. Matt Curtis, Senior Director of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy for HomeAway, said "burdensome regulations" — like those potentially proposed by the New Orleans City Planning Commission and New Orleans City Council in August — are likely to drive the industry underground.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Y@ Speak: "still in the hole"

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 6:20 PM

This week: Irvin Mayfield had a breakfast, Baby Cakes should win by default, and Buddy & The Brow is gearing to be  the best buddy cop flick of 1981. Also: Baton Rouge and England explode simultaneously and the heat is strong enough to bend time.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mayor Landrieu unveils five-year affordable housing plan

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 7:30 PM

CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's annual "State of the City" speeches chart the city's post-Hurricane Katrina gains and, more importantly, glimpse where his administration is headed to address its shortcomings. Crime, poverty and a crumbling infrastructure always are at the top of that list. In his 2016 address, delivered on the roof of the Broad Street Whole Foods on June 21, Landrieu unveiled two reports: a progress report on the criminal justice program NOLA for Life, and — amid contentious debates over the future of Airbnb, the increasing creep of property developers, gentrification fast tracks, rising rents and deplorable housing conditions, all wrapped in stagnant wages and dwindling jobs — Landrieu teased a five-year plan for more affordable housing in New Orleans.

According to the plan, the city will "build or preserve" 7,500 affordable housing units by 2021 — with 4,000 units available by 2018, followed by an additional 3,500 units.

"People are flocking here, but rising demand and job growth means that housing costs have risen by 50 percent since 2000," Landrieu said in a statement. "Now, due to a broader loss of income-affordable rental units along with low-wage jobs and inadequate public transit, many New Orleanians pay more than 50 percent of their income just on housing costs. That is unacceptable and unsustainable. ... We must ensure that working people do not get priced out of New Orleans — they are the backbone of our City."

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Y@ Speak: New Orleans Pride

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 5:30 PM

While Congress is busy putting its thoughts and prayers to work, New Orleans celebrates Pride. Also: the short-term rental debate: Chapter 8,000, and the state Legislature melts into a terrible candle.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Idea Village co-founder Tim Williamson to take over NOLA Media Group

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Idea Village CEO Tim Williamson will become the next president of NOLA Media Group. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Idea Village CEO Tim Williamson will become the next president of NOLA Media Group.

Tim Williamson, CEO and co-founder of the entrepreneur nonprofit The Idea Village, will become president of NOLA Media Group (NMG), the umbrella company that oversees NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, NMG announced today.

Williamson, a native of New Orleans, worked with Cox Interactive Media in Pittsburgh before returning home and launching the now-defunct website InsideNewOrleans.com in 1998. He will take over at NMG Aug. 15, according to a letter from The Idea Village's board of directors, while remaining on the Idea Village's board. Emily Madero, chief operating officer of The Idea Village, will become acting CEO Aug. 1.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The "hotelization" of New Orleans: city planners question Airbnb

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 7:45 PM

Caroline Thomas' Coney Island-style satirical signs in 2015. - PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE THOMAS
  • PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE THOMAS
  • Caroline Thomas' Coney Island-style satirical signs in 2015.

Sometime this year, New Orleans will likely begin legalizing short-term rentals, creating some kind of framework for permitting and taxing properties on websites like Airbnb. It's been a long, drawn-out debate among residents feeling the squeeze from increasingly tourist-filled neighborhoods, Airbnb operators trying to make a buck, indecisive city officials and departments, and now hotel operators, who fear not only losing business but the hospitality industry itself, pushed further from the heart of the city, unable to afford it.

And despite continued objections from many residents, the City Planning Commission (CPC) and members of the New Orleans City Council, the city planning staff keeps floating the legalization of renting out entire homes — "principal" residential short-term rentals — per the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration. The CPC's June 14 meeting was set to vote on those staff recommendations for changes to the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, but the Landrieu administration requested moving the vote. The CPC agreed to move it to Aug. 9, which could mean a vote could come from the City Council, who has the final say on policy, as early as Aug. 11.

A packed crowd inside City Council Chambers on June 14 stuck through several hours of comments, mostly coming from residents from the Garden District and French Quarter and representatives from the city's hotel and tourism industry. Commissioners largely agreed Airbnb's creep could deal a crushing blow to the city if not legislated, enforced or regulated properly. "This is an emotional and complicated issue," said CPC Chair Kyle Wedberg, "This is a hyper-local issue. It happens house by house, block by block, neighbor by neighbor. ... An issue that's not only vital for us to solve but vital for us to get right."

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Y@ Speak: hate won't win

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 5:30 PM


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