Last week we asked our readers in our Weekly Poll to weigh in on the most important issues our new mayor could address–and actually implement–for the music community of New Orleans within a four-year period.
The answers sort of surprised me. I didn’t think most readers would consider asking the hospitality industry to help supporta fund for the music community (this was the number one choice—see below). Of course, the question didn’t include what the fund would be used for. Grants to pay individual musicians or bands? Band travel expenses? Promotional or advertising costs? Special projects? Costs of recording? That’s something that’s going to take some deep consideration, assuming, that is, that the hospitality industry would be amenable to parting with any of the hotel taxes that fund the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s operations and the efforts of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation to promote and market the city. That’s going to be interesting.
Note, though, that the hospitality industry is the backbone of our city’s economy, and that music is such an important part of our attraction, so it’s not such a far-fetched idea.
I thought that our readers’ least-important factor in the poll (“Hire a ‘Night Mayor’ of New Orleans to deal with issues related to the nighttime economy, including music-related issues”) was misguided. Or perhaps most people don’t know enough about the concept to give it much credence.
I mentioned this in a column a few months ago, and it’s an idea that’s been adopted by a growing number of cities throughout the US and the world: Amsterdam, London, Orlando, and now even New York City. I think it’s a concept that our new mayor should look into and evaluate.
We have a pretty extensive”nighttime economy” that’s basically not monitored or administered by anyone who has a clue about the totally different issues and problems that this evening economy generates, or the opportunities we have to create a new, better model of governing this side of New Orleans. It can do nothing but make New Orleans a better place to live, work, party, and to make music.
Personally, I’m annoyed at some of the stupidity and recklessness that takes place vis a vis musicians, bands, clubs, and more. Problems are either ignored or swept under the rug. We need a new way of thinking about what happens at night in this city. After all, we are one of the few 24-hour cities in the US. Why aren’t we paying more attention to getting it right? The NOPD isn’t equipped to handle all the issues with which they are presented. I’m for the “night mayor”: an idea whose time has come.
Last week’s Weekly Beat Poll results:
We will have elected a new mayor of New Orleans by the end of this year. What do you think are the most important issues our new mayor can address–and actually implement–for the music community of New Orleans within a four-year period. Please rank in terms of importance, with 1 being least important and 10 being most important. [These are sorted by readers’ choice of importance]
Work with hospitality and tourism officials to create a fund from the current hotel tax to support the local music industry. 6.8
Develop a strategic plan to determine what goals we need to achieve within the next four years regarding music. 6.6
Make sure there is parity for SAPCs, Mardi Gras Indians and other parading culture bearers in terms of permit and parade fees as compared to traditional Mardi Gras krewes 6.2
Create, fully staff, and fully fund an official Music Office for New Orleans. 5.9
Maintain and expand the current Office of Cultural Economy to include a Music Liaison. 5.9
Commission a study to determine the economic impact of music on the New Orleans economy. 5.7
Commission a study to determine what issues in New Orleans are most critical for the music community. 5.3
Re-evaluate the usefulness of cultural “overlays” and districts and adjust if necessary with zoning officials. 4.6
Hire and place more NOPD in entertainment districts such as Frenchmen Street and Bourbon Street. 4.4
Hire a “Night Mayor” of New Orleans to deal with issues related to the nighttime economy, including music-related issues.3.7