By Travers Mackel
NEW ORLEANS (WDSU) — There’s a big push by people living in the historic French Quarter and Marigny for the city to create an “office of night economy” or what’s called a “nightlife mayor.”
Believe it or not — other major cities have added this position.
New Orleans is a party city and this office would operate from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Candidates on the campaign trail right now support the idea.
The historic Faubourg Marigny, adjacent to the French Quarter, is a neighborhood Allen Johnson calls home.
He also doubles as president of the neighborhood improvement association and is pushing an interesting concept.
“If we are going to operate at night and make money at night, then city hall should do the same,” Johnson said.
So, his group is pushing city hall to create the office of night economy or a nightlife mayor.
He’s not alone. The Vieux Carre Property Owners & Resident’s Association also back it.
“The office of nighttime economy or a night mayor could really provide a list of services from 5 p.m. on because we all know that New Orleans, especially the French Quarter is a 24-hour city,” said Erin Holmes with VCPORA.
In recent years, other 24 hour cities have acted.
New York City added a nightlife mayor, as did Seattle and San Francisco set up an entertainment commission.
Those positions, and any one that would be created here, would help residents monitor what cops can’t — are too busy to do.
“We don’t have those services as far as business operations, code enforcement, quality of life enforcement after hours,” Holmes said.
Issues like illegal short-term rentals, improper music being played or street blocking could be addressed.
“I think it would be good for both residents and businesses,” Holmes said.
The two candidates in the District-C council runoff to represent this part of the city like the idea.
At a forum this week in the French Quarter, both Stephanie Bridges and Freddie King III told an audience they are open to an office of night mayor.
Neighborhood groups hope they keep that campaign promise.
“If people had trust in the city and saw an office of night-time economy or night mayor — and they had success there — there wouldn’t be as much push back,” Johnson said.
The French Quarter Business Association said:
“The French Quarter Business Association has been proponents of an Office of Nighttime Economy or a Nighttime Economy Manager since 2017. The benefit is that there is a designated liaison among government, business, and community stakeholders, who is responsible for promoting and branding a city’s social experience and maintaining public safety and quality of life in nightlife districts.”
City halls operate 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The purpose of an Office of Nighttime Economy is to operate 5 p.m. – 9 a.m.
The office should:
Preserve and advocate for the social and economic value of dining and entertainment
Provide suggestions for improving the allocation of resources and updates to legislation
Ensure public safety to reduce crime, harm and disorder while minimizing the quality of life impacts
Maintain communication between government and businesses regarding policy and procedures
Select and train dedicated staff to be leading advocates for a safe and vibrant nightlife
Data collection tools to evaluate and monitor progress over time.
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