Coca-Cola plans to donate $10,000 to the Mayor's Office of Cultural Economy, according to Kel Villarrubia, senior public affairs director for Coca-Cola New Orleans. The donation comes in the wake of last month's illegal sidewalk-stencil advertising campaign in and around the French Quarter right before the Final Four basketball tournament, a move which drew fury from residents.
The company initially had planned to make two donations of $5,000 each to the French Quarter Business Association and the Downtown Development District. Villarrubia told Gambit the company decided to go with the city office instead. He said he hopes the donation, routed through the office, will be used for graffiti eradication efforts throughout the downtown area. "We wanted it to be much broader than the French Quarter," Villarrubia said.
The Mayor's Office Of Cultural Economy was formed in 2010, and much of its work has focused on attracting the "Hollywood South" film industry to New Orleans. — Charles Maldonado