Propeller, New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, ThriveNOLA, New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) and The Collaborative have compiled a working list of local BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) contractors in response to recovery needs post-Hurricane Ida. The comprehensive list derives from lessons learned over a decade ago from Hurricane Katrina, in which Black-owned companies only received 1.5% of contracts in storm recovery work, despite over $100 billion in property damage largely due to catastrophic flooding. In contrast, large non-local and non-Black contractors were afforded the opportunity to lead recovery efforts. This fueled the organizations’ collective desire to combat this inequity following Hurricane Ida by locating, gathering, and promoting BIPOC small business contractors in the Greater New Orleans area and connecting them with individuals, homeowners, organizations and corporations also aiming to prioritize BIPOC-owned businesses. “As residents and businesses are looking to rebuild or even ‘build back better,’ many have been looking for BIPOC contractors because New Orleanians are increasingly aware of the importance of everyone’s participation if we hope to see equitable recovery,” says Adele London, Director of Community Economic Development at Propeller.
Viewpoint: Time is running out to file for increased property tax reductions due to Hurricane Ida
Thousands of New Orleans homeowners are currently reeling from the high costs of repairing roofs, gutters, sheetrock and other physical casualties of Hurricane Ida. With a higher insurance deductible because Hurricane Ida was a “named” storm, some are turning to low-interest loans to help fund repairs.
Reducing expenses is another option. Just like after Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago, Assessor Erroll Williams has opened up the tax rolls through Thursday (Oct. 7) at 4 p.m. to accept applications for 2021 property tax relief. Owners of residential property are automatically receiving a 5% deduction.
Viewpoint: Don’t rush to hire a lawyer to help with your insurance claim
Many members of the legal community are aggressively marketing their services in the wake of Hurricane Ida to assist businesses or homeowners and renters with getting the money they deserve from insurance companies. After all, most of us pay thousands of dollars annually for coverage and should be compensated whenever legitimate claim arise. Not so fast, say other lawyers. At least two local attorneys, Megan Kiefer and Sal Brocato, are advising that citizens retain lawyers only if they feel their insurance carrier is not operating in good faith. “It’s premature to hire a lawyer right now,” Kiefer said.
food and drink
Cavan Restaurant closes after five years on Magazine Street
Acclaimed Uptown restaurant Cavan announced its closure Thursday after five years on Magazine Street. The decision came after 18 months of struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic. Robert LeBlanc of local restaurant operator LeBlanc+Smith announced the closure on social media. “In the wake of Hurricane Ida and after a prolonged period of instability in our industry, we have made the decision to close Cavan Restaurant and Bar,” he said in a statement posted on Instagram. He noted the historic building at 3607 Magazine St.
Viewpoint: Hurricane Ida exposes what it means to live in New Orleans
The Big Easy ain’t so easy no more. Across the board, almost all of today’s citizens are paying for 150 years of benign neglect during which those who had money led a “laissez les bon temps rouler” lifestyle while many others struggled just to get by.
What’s gotten under my skin? Evacuating during Hurricane Ida to a town where potholes are at a minimum; no one is looting, panhandling or carjacking; and residents are not automatically carrying concealed weapons for personal protection. I stood in a long line at Walgreens on St. Charles Avenue yesterday to fill a prescription and listened to local residents complain about the piles of garbage and debris in front of their homes while also claiming much of the Garden District and St.
parks and greenspace
Audubon Park attractions are reopening Saturday
Audubon Park is reopening on Saturday (Sept. 18), although the jogging paths are open now for limited use. Bicycles will not be permitted until the entire park opens. The Audubon Nature Institute announced a two-phase plan for reopening its facilities following closures due to the impacts of Hurricane Ida. The Uptown park is in the second phase.
Krewe of Iris
Krewe of Iris celebrates its new home with disaster relief event
The Krewe of lris and Kern Studios announced last month the completion of the Krewe of lris dens at 3038 Earhart Blvd. and 1212 S. Roman St. To mark the grand opening, the Krewe of Iris and Kern Studios had planned to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring the Krewe of Iris Dens on Monday (Sept. 13). Given the recent impact of Hurricane Ida on the krewe’s members and Louisiana home, the event has been postponed.
Storm recovery updates: City details ongoing Hurricane Ida relief efforts
On Wednesday (Sept. 8), Mayor LaToya Cantrell lifted the curfew for New Orleans residents and the Army Corps of Engineers began installing its blue roofs, two signs that recovery from Hurricane Ida is progressing. Waste water treatment operations have returned to normal, the Sewerage & Water Board has announced, so residents can do their laundry, run their dishwashers and take long showers again. Trash continues to fester in front of homes, however. The city is issuing an emergency contract to bring more trucks and hoppers onto the streets, said Ramsey Green, the city’s infrastructure chief, at a press conference Wednesday.
Viewpoint: Returning tourists drive New Orleans business recovery
City College of San Francisco biology professor Jonathan Siekmann was enjoying his visit to New Orleans when he spotted Meyer the Hatter, known to be the South’s largest hat store. Within minutes, Siekmann was sporting a new Panama-style straw to shield him from the Louisiana sun. “The pandemic has been a struggle. It was the worst business climate I’ve ever seen in my 46 years selling hats,” said Paul Meyer, a fourth generation hatter. “We depend on tourists and, until recently, there just weren’t any.”
Meyer’s great-great grandfather Samuel H. Meyer started the business in 1894 on St.
Viewpoint: Displaced hospitality workers can learn medical-industry skills through Goodwill
Like many New Orleanians, Tiffany Turner has been having a tough time during the pandemic. She was eager to train for a different career when she saw a Facebook post about Goodwill Technical College’s new Hospitality to Healthcare program for displaced tourism industry workers. “As a driver for Uber and Lyft, I am used to making a good living taking passengers to and from the airport, but it got much harder to make a profit,” she said. Armed with a love of accounting, Turner quickly realized that Goodwill could help her achieve her goal of transitioning to a well-paying job in medical billing without expensive college loans. “I am so thankful for this opportunity,” Turner said.
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, 56,000 individuals in the state have been displaced during the pandemic. More specifically, about 25,000 workers in New Orleans are faced with a difficult decision to pivot current skills into other sectors and career pathways, according to Goodwill.
Viewpoint: Who will help build a more equitable New Orleans?
As America come to grips with the inequities that have held back our country and many of its citizens, individuals, educational institutions and businesses large and small are beginning to envision what they can do to help right historic wrongs and build a more vibrant economy. Visionary leaders like Michael Fitts, president of Tulane University, have stepped up with promises of scholarships and meaningful programs. Late last week, Fitts and his wife agreed to donate $100,000, a little less than 10% of his annual salary, to fund scholarships for students who show leadership in racial equity and diversity activities. Fitts also pledged that Tulane would take transparent, measurable steps to further anti-racist goals including a race equity education initiative, develop a new hiring and management strategy aimed at the recruitment and retention of minority faculty members and establish a Health Equity Institute. On the national level, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin recently unveiled a $120 million gift to two historically black universities and their parent organization, which is headed by former Dillard University President Dr. Michael Lomax. St.