New Orleans City Hall

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hundreds march against Trump in New Orleans and "inaugurate the resistance"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 9:15 PM

Hundreds of protesters march on Canal Street Jan. 20.
  • Hundreds of protesters march on Canal Street Jan. 20.

A day of protest in New Orleans began with a mock funeral at the Mississippi River and ended with dozens of protesters linking arms at Duncan Plaza. On Jan. 20, as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President, hundreds of New Orleanians marched in the streets, offering satire in the morning and a massive call to organize against threats to marginalized communities in the afternoon. On Jan. 21, a Women's March in solidarity with similar events around the U.S. is expected to attract thousands more people,

"Staying at home and being a political armchair quarterback — that's not going to work," said Chuck Perkins, addressing a crowd after dark in Duncan Plaza. "We have to organize."

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Orleans rental registry and inspections gets City Council support, but debate will continue

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM

New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.
  • New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.

A program to register and inspect most rental units in the city will head to the New Orleans City Council, but councilmembers are likely to make changes to the measure in the coming weeks.

A 4-0 vote from the Council's Community Development Committee Jan. 18 sends the 15-page plan — an ordinance outlining the fees for rental unit registration and requirements for inspection — to the full Council for a vote, but councilmembers, residents and landlords raised several questions about how it'll work and whether there could be significant negative impacts to the city's affordable housing stock. "The bottom line is, our citizens deserve better," said District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, who co-authored the ordinance with At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams. "Housing that doesn’t meet quality standards impacts everybody."

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Friday, December 23, 2016

American Can and the future of affordable housing in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 2:00 PM

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New Orleans housing advocacy groups demand the owners of the American Can Company apartments halt evictions after low-income tenants there were told to leave their homes, with an end-of-2016 deadline.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), representing Michael Esnault, a Vietnam War veteran and tenant at the building for more than six years. and other tenants at the Mid-City apartment building, demand the owners extend the deadline and help ease affordability options for the dozens of tenants facing the loss of their housing.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Y@ Speak: "fake news"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 6:15 PM


The U.S. Senate race is closing, short-term rentals are going to explode, Louisiana mourns Joe McKnight and fights for justice, Mike Pence stumps in New Orleans, and the Saints are a very fun, anxiety-free football team.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Short-term rentals in New Orleans get City Council approval

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:15 PM

At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."
  • At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."

Airbnb now has a framework to operate, legally, in New Orleans. After months of debates and public meetings over short-term rentals (STRs), their proliferation, and the impacts they've had in the city over the last several years, the New Orleans City Council on Oct. 20 passed a measure — introduced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration this week — that sets up permits, fees, taxes and an infrastructure for short-term rentals advertised on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

The motion prohibits full-time whole-home short term rentals in residential areas — but it will allow whole-home "temporary rentals" up to 90 days a year.

The vote followed a week of compromises laid out by Landrieu's administration, which initially supported the practice of whole-home rentals in residential neighborhoods, but backed off in favor of "temporary rentals" up to 120 days a year, then, ultimately, 90 days. Housing advocacy groups and residents — disappointed with the compromise vote — have demanded the city prohibit all whole-home rentals. Opponents, in red, wearing "shame" buttons and holding up signs, called councilmembers "sellouts"; proponents cheered.

The motion serves as a starting point to amend the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the city's massive rulebook for land use through which all property manners adhere. It now will incorporate STRs.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Orleans City Council moves short-term rental vote to Oct. 20

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 6:00 PM

City Councilmember caricatures on the steps of City Hall during a protest on Sept. 27.
  • City Councilmember caricatures on the steps of City Hall during a protest on Sept. 27.

Following years of debate and several studies, the New Orleans City Council was set to vote on a framework for regulating short-term rentals advertised through platforms like Airbnb. The vote was scheduled for Oct. 6. Today, the City Council announced it's moving the matter to Oct. 20.

But if the Council misses its Oct. 20 deadline, that could table the issue for good, at least until the next administration steps in.

The City Council is looking at a lengthy report and recommendations from the City Planning Commission (CPC) outlining four potential types of short-term rentals, a practice that currently is illegal but rarely if ever enforced. The CPC voted to prohibit whole-home rentals in residential areas, which account for nearly three-quarters of all short-term rentals in New Orleans and 2 percent of the city's entire housing stock.

Only a few City Councilmembers have spoken out against whole-home rentals — District A Councilmember Susan Guidry told Gambit in July that they're "the biggest threat to the quality of life of our long-term residents." District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said he's concerned about the "commercialization of residential neighborhoods as a result of whole-house short-term rentals." At-Large Councilmember Stacy Head said they would likely be "heavily regulated" if they're approved.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Four-story Hampton Inn hotel planned for Elysian Fields Avenue in Faubourg Marigny

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 1:25 PM

One of Banksy's New Orleans works included this piece at 501 Elysian Fields Ave. - INFROGMATION OF NEW ORLEANS / CREATIVE COMMONS
  • INFROGMATION OF NEW ORLEANS / CREATIVE COMMONS
  • One of Banksy's New Orleans works included this piece at 501 Elysian Fields Ave.

Developers plan to construct a Hilton Hampton Inn hotel in the Marigny at the corner of Elysian Fields Avenue and Decatur Street. A Sept. 29 letter sent to residents outlines plans for a four-story hotel with 119 rooms, front pedestrian entrances on Elysian Fields and onsite parking accessed by driveways opening on Decatur Street, with landscaping to provide a "visual barrier." Francisco Alecha of Alecha Architecture writes that it would take about 18 months to construct after plans are approved.

Developers will host a community meeting at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17 at St. Paul Lutheran Church (2614 Burgundy St., at Franklin Avenue), where residents "are invited to ask questions or pose concerns about our project," according to the letter. The building requires a conditional use permit for construction, which must be approved by the City Planning Commission and the New Orleans City Council.

Developer Amit Patel — through his group 501 EFA Hotel, which has developed several hotels in the New Orleans area — bought the building for $3.5 million last month. The building previously was held by developer Sean Cummings, who bought it for $1.1 million in 2007 with plans for the "Elysio Lofts," a $20 million, six-story condo project that opened a debate with neighbors and the city over its high-rise future, potentially opening the doors for similar developments downtown. In 2012, the City Council effectively killed the plans.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"RIP affordable neighborhoods": New Orleans residents stage protest and "funeral" as the City Council prepares for short-term rental vote

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 1:30 PM

A political theater protest against whole-home short-term rentals in New Orleans included coffins for "affordable housing" and "actual neighbors."
  • A political theater protest against whole-home short-term rentals in New Orleans included coffins for "affordable housing" and "actual neighbors."

From the steps of City Hall, the Treme Brass Band provided the soundtrack for a funeral march following the deaths of "affordable neighborhoods" and "actual neighbors," casualties of the proliferation of short-term rentals in New Orleans. At least that's the future to come, according to several neighborhood groups, if whole-home rentals through companies like Airbnb are allowed to operate in New Orleans.

Staging a political theater protest and march Sept. 27, artists and neighborhood groups (including Neighbors First for Bywater, the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association and Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association) carried two caskets, placards illustrating short-term rental listings, and signs representing each New Orleans neighborhood saying "no" to whole-home rentals. The march turned into a dirge as the band played "A Closer Walk with Thee" before disbanding at City Hall, where caricatures of New Orleans City Councilmembers lay on the steps.

In August, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) agreed to prohibit short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods, but commercially zoned areas don't fall under the same restrictions. The City Council will have final say on new short-term rental rules when it votes on the CPC's recommendations on Oct. 6,

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Orleans City Planning Commission votes to ban whole home short-term rentals

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 10:15 PM

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Whole home rentals in residential neighborhoods are off the table in the short-term rental debate — for now — following the New Orleans City Planning Commission's (CPC) vote unanimously agreeing they should remain illegal. Following months of debate and years of discussion, the CPC approved a framework for short-term rental listings like Airbnb on Aug. 9. The recommendations from the CPC's staff now head to the New Orleans City Council, which could change up the new rules before a final vote — those recommendations are just that.

Following five hours of public comment and an hour of discussion among commissioners, the CPC approved its staff recommendations for three types of short-term rentals and voted to ban the controversial practice of renting out entire homes in residential areas. The CPC rejected those types of rentals earlier this year, but they were put back in play by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration.

Several New Orleans City Council members have been critical of whole home rentals — District A Councilmember Susan Guidry told Gambit last month they pose "the biggest threat to the quality of life of our long-term residents." Councilmembers Jared Brossett and Stacy Head also expressed concerns about homes used as short-term rentals year-round in residential neighborhoods.

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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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