As COVID-19 continues to impact the City of New Orleans, many small businesses have been forced to close altogether or adapt in ways they would never have imagined just a couple months ago. For Simply Dispensary, a local wellness products retailer with locations Uptown, in Mid-City, in the Marigny, and on the West Bank, that meant transitioning into a completely new industry in just a matter of weeks.
Since the beginning of March, Simply Dispensary has harnessed its relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and hard-to-find supplies—hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and 3-ply disposable face masks—to restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses. “When it comes down to it, we are in the business of selling wellness products,” said co-owner and general manager Sean Partridge. “As this outbreak started affecting our city and the people we care about, and you can’t find the supplies you need to stay safe and well anywhere, we knew we had to start offering these products ourselves.” By mid-March, when the City of New Orleans announced the stay-at-home order, Simply Dispensary had already brought in inventory of hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and hand soap.
The Krewe of Bacchus had announced plans to hold its super-parade, before Mayor LaToya Cantrell called off the 2021 parade season. The superkrewe has not given up. It’s just, like many events this year, going virtual. Clark Brennan, captain of Bacchus, announced Monday that Bacchus will have a virtual parade in 2021 using the new “Throw Me Something Bacchus!” mobile app.
As Nathan Lott, the Preservation Resource Center’s policy and research director and advocacy coordinator, put it: Magazine Street — with its architecture, its history and its flock of local business — is a microcosm of New Orleans, one that has acutely felt the city’s economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic. The time from Christmas to Mardi Gras is usually a boon for these businesses. The upcoming holiday season is seen as crucial to whether or not many of Magazine Street’s businesses survive. On Thursday, the PRC hosted an online panel of five Magazine Street merchants to discuss the future of the beloved corridor. The panel consisted of Dirty Coast owner Blake Haney, Perlis Clothing owner David Perlis, West London Boutique owner Mariah Walton Bencik, Guy Williams of Gulf Coast Bank, and Susan Brooks, the new owner of Club Ms. Mae’s.
The annual St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade, held in the Garden District on the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the past decade, has been postponed due to concerns about the spreading COVID-19 virus. This year the walking parade and celebration would have been on Sunday, Nov. 22. In past years, the hat-wearing participants meet in the pocket park at St.
People are getting desperate. Led by an increase in homicides and aggravated assaults, the crime wave sweeping across New Orleans and America can be blamed in large part on COVID-19 and the economic turmoil it has caused. A recent Council on Criminal Justice analysis of homicide rates in 27 U.S. cities found that the sheer number of crimes increased sharply during the summer months. Overall domestic violence and carjackings are also skyrocketing together with drug and gang violence.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s almost singular focus on reducing the virus in Orleans Parish has successfully limited hospitalizations and deaths, especially as the virus’ latest wave is wreaking havoc nationally. We applaud her for those efforts. Yet its accompanying financial devastation is driving up crime in New Orleans as desperate individuals resort to reckless acts to put a few dollars in their pockets.
Along with a very real concern about how to pay the bills during New Orleans’ stalled economic recovery are factors such as an increase in gun sales, mental health issues such as depression, boredom and a lack of interaction with others.
New Orleans is a poor city where the Police Department has perpetually been understaffed and underpaid by regional and national standards.
On Monday (Oct. 26), the city will host a free flu-shot event at the Audubon Zoo, serving the dual purpose of providing flu shots to residents during flu season and helping public health and safety officials test plans for large-scale vaccine administration in anticipation of a future FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps and the NOLA Ready Volunteer Corps are recruiting volunteers to assist in this and future vaccine administration events. Volunteers will be assigned various medical and non-medical duties:
Medical providers are needed to give flu shots. Non-medical volunteers are needed to support vaccination site operations, including patient registration, measuring throughput and flow, supply restocking, and logistics support.
Long gone are the days when the Louisiana Legislature is willing or even able to solve New Orleans’ financial problems, especially in the years of ever-tightening budgets and Republican dominance of the upper and lower chambers. Though we appreciate you asking state leaders for an extra share of available federal dollars, surely you knew in advance it was a futile attempt.
Every city and town in Louisiana is hurting, especially those that have been hit once or even twice by storms this season. Legislators are elected to bring home the bacon. How could they explain to constituents that additional funding for New Orleans should be their priority?
The very people that can save New Orleans from even greater economic disaster are the citizens of New Orleans – the business owners small and large who are desperate for customers; the Saints fans who want to watch the games from inside the Superdome; the music lovers who want to dance at Tips, the Maple Leaf or on Frenchmen Street; the foodies who want to linger inside their favorite bistros or savor chef Meg Bickford’s new Sunday brunch at Commander’s Palace.
The ongoing regional and national media coverage detailing New Orleans still-strict COVID-19 restrictions has scared away many potential visitors. It has put a damper on conventions returning, on national developers’ willingness to invest in our city, and on the ability of too many citizens to eat, pay the rent and keep their utilities on.
We’re proud of your role in ensuring that Louisiana is one of the few states that has handled COVID-19 effectively and that cases are not exploding in our city.
In a decision that critics say speaks directly to corporate greed, Churchill Downs is challenging the Louisiana State Racing Commission’s emergency ruling that requires Churchill to temporarily take in 500 horses displaced from Delta Downs by Hurricane Laura. The showdown will take place Friday, Sept. 11, in front of Judge Sidney Cates in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.
Churchill Downs, the owner of the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots since 2004, grew from a one race-track company to a publicly traded conglomerate with multiple tracks, casinos and the country’s leading online wagering operation. They offer 800 video poker games at 13 facilities in Louisiana.
Horsemen are puzzled because they know Churchill has the extra barn space needed for Delta’s horses and that it would be compensated for the additional operating expenses. But Churchill would not reap the same profit from horses as online wagering and video poker.
The city is offering free walkup COVID-19 this week at two Central City churches. Testing at the New Zion New Zion Baptist Church, 2319 Third St., will be held today (Sept. 1), Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or until tests run out. An hour after Monday’s site opened, city officials sent out a message that there was no line for the tests. The non-invasive nasal swabs are offered at this site by LCMC, LSU, New Orleans Health Department.
Researchers with the Tulane University School of Social Work are conducting a survey to determine the extent of compassion fatigue among of doctors, nurses and other front-line workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey is the work of disaster mental health experts Leia Saltzman, Tonya Hansel and Charles Figley, the latter of whom was among the scholars who coined the term “compassion fatigue.” Figley is also director of the Tulane Traumatology Institute. “Compassion fatigue is related to the concept of burnout,” said Saltzman, an assistant professor. “It is something we see sometimes in caregivers and emergency responders, particularly in disaster scenarios. “Most often compassion fatigue can be thought of as an emotional exhaustion that manifests as the reduced ability of a caregiver or responder to engage in empathy and/or compassion for the survivor they are working with.”
The study seeks input from medical professionals, mental health professionals, such as social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists and other first responders.
Armed with the ruling yesterday (Aug. 5) by U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, which returned control of the Orleans Justice Center to Sheriff Marlin Gusman, the sheriff said he is moving ahead with his push to build a new facility to house inmates with severe health and mental health needs and to repurpose Templeman V as a temporary facility for COVID-19 inmates. “I’m trying to save lives,” said Sheriff Marlin Gusman after Wednesday’s ruling, as he discussed plans for new or repurposed health facilities for prisoners.
Court-appointed monitors reported in July that the OPSO was in partial or substantial compliance with the majority of federal reform provisions. Though Judge Africk returned control of the Orleans Justice Center to Gusman, the consent decree continues.
On Wednesday, Gusman said his immediate concern is containing the spread of the coronavirus within the prison walls. “NOPD officers are bringing known COVID-19 positive patients to the Orleans Justice Center,” Gusman said.