And how that is terrible for Louisiana

Gentrification threatens tourism in New Orleans more than shootings on Bourbon Street. 

As the primary economic engine of not just New Orleans, but the entire state of Louisiana, tourism is normally politically protected at all costs.  The recent decision by voters to delay suddenly-sharply-rising property taxes is a step in the right direction, but much more is urgently needed lest New Orleans tourism morphs into a regional, rather than an international, draw.

Make no mistake about it:  New Orleans tourism, though unspoken, is largely Afrocentric.  In fact, the culture of the African American community is the key ingredient in our tourism gumbo.  People come to The Bowl for music, food, architecture and joie de vivre.  None of these exist without the contributions of African Americans.  Gentrification threatens this reality.

Olympians 2nd Line Crew

Cultural Erosion

Local leaders have tried unsuccessfully to convince national leaders that coastal erosion in Louisiana is a threat to national interests.  The loss of seafood production and the threat to oil and gas interests are brushed aside in Washington, D.C., as trivial, replaceable assets the national economy can easily absorb. But as gentrification pushes less-resourced people from inner-city neighborhoods, the future of the city we all love is seriously imperiled. Unlike Louisiana’s relative unimportance nationally, New Orleans’ success is critical to Louisiana. 

Every time a newcomer displaces a native, the whole Jenga structure becomes less stable.

From a distance, all might seem good when a more-resource rich transplant migrates in to town. Nevertheless, one need only look behind the mask of in-migration statistics to understand the precariousness of the impending doom.  Political strategy and long-term planning are essential to prevent catastrophic cultural erosion.  The destruction of our city’s cultural foundations – think second line clubs and brass bands – of tourist dollars can be prevented with smart legislation, based on sound and fair economic principles.

 Other cities, with far less important and influential cultural communities, have enacted safeguards to protect their own cultural assets.  A look at Seattle provides a glimpse of how we can protect our tourism industry, our city and our state.  That city has developed an Equitable Development Framework  which guides how the city prioritizes its work; shapes its budgets, policies, programs and investments; and structures the implementation of targeted strategies and equitable development projects by using clear objectives for reducing disparities and achieving equitable outcomes for marginalized populations.

Equity Drivers

  • Advance economic opportunity. Promote economic opportunities for marginalized populations and enhance community cultural anchors. Provide access to quality education, training and living-wage career paths.
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement. Enact policies and programs that allow marginalized populations, businesses and community organizations to stay in their neighborhoods.
  • Build on local cultural assets. Respect local community character, cultural diversity and values. Preserve and strengthen cultural communities and build the capacity of their leaders, organizations and coalitions to enjoy greater self-determination.
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity. Prioritize investment in effective and affordable transportation which supports transit-dependent communities.
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods. Create neighborhoods that enhance community health through access to public amenities; provide healthy, affordable and culturally-relevant food; and safe environments for everyone.
  • Enable equitable access to all neighborhoods. Leverage private developments to fill gaps in amenities; expand the supply and variety of housing and employment choices; and create equitable access to neighborhoods which offer high access to opportunity.

The consequences of doing nothing are potentially calamitous.  As horrific and petrifying as a shooting on Bourbon Street is, the long-term effects of cultural erosion caused by gentrification are not offset by increased property tax collection. In fact, cultural erosion forebodes doom as the New Orleans which tourists seek out, no longer exists. Instead, NOLA will become more like Savannah: Nice place, but it’s no New Orleans. Without a protected and empowered black community in The Bowl, we might not be here no more.


A Savannah Trolley vs a New Orleans Street Car
15 thoughts on “Why Gentrification is Especially Bad for New Orleans”
    1. The consensus answer is that you can’t, and that a community can only apply bandaids, such as special tax exemptions based on age or income, or provide “incentives” for the inclusion of affordable units in new multi-family structures. Such fatalism is based on the mistaken notion that it’s all a function of supply and demand. But this consensus is wrong, for much of this generated by speculation, external investment syndicates, investment oligopolies, and also by the prevailing ethos that everyone deserves a right to strike it rich with real estate investments, no matter how passive the investment might be.
      What we need is a shelter first approach, property taxes that include both homestead exemptions not connected to state government and circuit breakers tied to several tiers of income. Adopting a Georgist approach, such as that in Fairhope, AL, where land is leased, not owned, and where increased land “value” accrues to the community and not private investors, is also a useful option.

  1. Why are you pimping my city with this nonsensical approach? You’ve lost economic support from business and you think Seattle has the answers? Seattle is struggling to incorporate cultural diversity that New Orleans successfully addressed during my generation. Long ago, neighborhood differences were resolved and the city was holding onto its economic base through the business community’s input. It was a win-win for a community with a good educational system that was having trouble competing nationally. Business took on the challenge, despite waning port support. Tourism is built on more cultural diversity than you’re recognizing and cities need an economic base without prostituting their populations. Check your history regarding transportation, healthy and safe neighborhoods, and citizen self-determination built into community goals. Beware a society built on “bread and circus”.

  2. Rising property values, in many instances, have NO value at all! Particu;larly for those indigenous people who plan on staying in New Orleans. In fact, there is an adverse affect: increased property taxes and insurance premiums, forcing people out of their homes. Something must be done to grandfather in the indigenous people who have been fixtures in this community.

  3. And let’s decide not to call it “gentrification,” which makes it sound like good folks are simply taking the place of not-so-good folks. It’s displacement.

    1. TADA !! YOU NAILED IT ! and many will sell out their city and people and follow a
      pied piper who Beguiles politicians,,, Because there special color is “green”.
      Natural Cultural Progression with time is what works, but when others come along
      with charlatan illusions they scheme with their schemes to get your family stuff and
      send you packing and then sell it under another scheme allowed by politicians with lots
      of word schemes and before you know it, Your under a bridge covered with a refrigerator
      box.

  4. Bro.Jeff ” 504″ Thomas, your assessment & critique on the Gentrification impacting New Orleans is extremely well researched & articulated ! From my perspective many of the new arrivals are primarily interested in gobbling up the existing housings is because when compared to housing cost are fairly inexpensive comparing the housing markets these new comers came from cities where the housing cost are much more expensive! Thus displaced many Black Families, who are really the cultural creators…we are the driving engines of New Orleans cultural scene! Our cultural contributions is reason why people come from the four corners of the earth to observe, participate in this unique experience. Which does exist any where else in the country! When you travel around the country you see different cities trying to duplicate aspects of New Orleans African based cultural contributions to this city!!!

  5. New Orleans the De Facto “Sharecropper”?

    LBRC- New Orleans, majority Black, is a 2019 Louisiana Sharecropper! Tax Base? 

    1. What is a Sharecropper? https://www​.vocabulary.com/- A sharecropper is a tenant farmer (Citizen), someone who works land that’s rented from its owner. The word sharecropper, an American invention from the 1880s, comes from the fact that these farmers would share their crops in return for the use of the land./end/ *Addendum- The above aforementioned is a “Politically Correct” and “Sanitized” version of one of the most despicable and racist Southern Practices ever perpetuated on newly freed Black enslaved peoples! We know the story and are obligated to tell real stories and pass them on thru generations, especially to miseducated Black Youth!

    2. “Keep this Real”. The Black NOLA Political Class controls very little and is willing to do even less! Their betrayals with respect to the indigenous Black population, NOLA’s so- called Bourgeois Class and “Old Heads” have “Trickled Down” everything except results! If what they deliver was a smell test, a Skunk would complain and flee!!!

    3. The Case as Sharecropping? NOLA’s schools are funded via mills and MFP Tax Dollars. De Facto? Who administers and controls tax dollars? What is the “Product” aka results?

    a. There are over 26k so- called “Opportunity Youth” in NOLA and growing? Who are these adolescents/teenagers, 99.999% Black! Opportunity Youth are the precipitate of the NOLA RSD. What is the RSD/Recovery School Dist.? The RSD was formed during Hurricane Katrina while hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes. The RSD fired over 7000 Black Teachers, Support Staff en masse and replaced them with TFA/Teach For America primarily. Since, the RSD amended school passing standards and turned students into commodities aka “Experimental Corporate Pawns” aka so- called Stakeholders! So- called “Big Negro Legislators” served as ‘Massa’s “Tips of Spears”  

    b. Newly elected Mayor Cantrell says- “Hold up, wait a minute”! What happened to our lost “Penny”? Why is it ‘Dat we only receive 7% of 100% of what we we generate? Parishes adjacent, contiguous, incongruous with Orleans are the beneficiaries of Tax Dollars generated in “Majority Black” Orleans? yada…, 

    4. Majority Black New Orleans is a 2019 De Facto Neo “Share Cropper”!

    a. The Tourist Industry is flush with cash! Who Benefits? Is it the underpaid Service Industry indigenous population? Now LOL! Who controls the Blue Ribbon Boards and Commissions? 

    b. Everybody ‘luvs The Saints Team! Who controls The SuperDome Commission? It’s Chair is from which Parish? Hint, hint- Was Tim Coulon? 

    5. Drive around NOLA. Where do you see resources invested? Hint? Stevie Wonder couldn’t believe ‘Dat in 2019, all these Negro Politicos deliver what return on Taxes? 

    6. In 2019, NOLA is an 1800’s version of “Sharecropping 2.0”! 

    a. Black Sharecroppers worked the land, no less De Facto Slaves. What’s different in 2019?

    b. Sharecroppers invested labor and time and were  accessed loans and fees plus ‘Massa’s  “Miscellaneous” concocted fees. What’s different in 2019?

    c. NOLA’s infrastructure is crumbling as fast as a “Slave Hut” after the KKK heard an uppity Negro lived there!

    7. This is not “GasLighting” NOLA! You are a 2019 Sharecropper!!! Respectfully, your Negro Politicos are proven overseers and this is what you elect! Hotep aka Peace Out…

  6. LBRC- Did you miss “Natural Selection” in High School? The “De Facto” 2019 Jim Crow Era? The Skinny?

    1. “Natural Selection”, despicable education outcomes in Prison Pipeline Schools, 13th Amendment Prison Slaves and yada…?

    a. Reproduction is Sexual and Asexual! Males and Females generally produce sexually. The roles of males and females are as distinct as their sexes in The Animal Kingdom.  3rd Grade Science says? Natural Selection- “It’s The Decider” and “Final Arbiter” about Gene Polls ‘Dat will survive! 

    b. “Natural Selection” chooses the best DNA, Darwin, worthy of survival! Who’s more fit?

    2. In 2019, “Education is Paramount”! In this “Highly Technical Age”- Shucking, Jiving and The Raw Hustle is as outdated as Wooden Catapults! Mothers raising boys minus the input of males, mean what to Natural Selection (Anecdotally, always exceptions)? Are Thieves, Burglars, Robbers, Murderers and your common criminals defying Natural Selection Processes? Can they reproduce “Asexually”? In prison?

    3. The Dominant Society has control of the penal system, initially to end! Darwin talked about “The Stupidity of Species” while examining “Mating Practices”! He said, “Natural Selection” selects out for “Stupid” even via DNA. He mentioned a Species called the “F#*^tard. This Species rolled down mountains and slammed into the Genitalia of male mates, eventually becoming extinct.- 

    a. A term for Darwin’s theory, which is a nice way of saying, that a Dutch Fokken was too stupid to live. 

    1. The main process behind evolution, as stated by Charles Darwin. also known as “Survival of the Fittest”. Those with superior traits are likely to pass their genes to the next generation. 

    b.. This is how life on Earth has progressed for eons, driven by instincts encoded into the DNA of all living things. 

    4. In Racist, Jim Crow Societies, man seeks to intervene via “Unnatural Selection” in defiance of natural DNA Encoding. Despite these unnatural procedures and complicit “institutions”, Black Achievement seemingly invisible in Dominant Culture and mainstream media has not been vanquished. Despite disparities in households monetary/other, Institutional Racism, Genocide and on, a significant population of Blacks “Still Rise”- not your common thieves, murderers, burglars or Criminal Class, no matter perception media fosters! Despite police slaughters in 2019, “All” are not conquered yet!

    5. Scientist commonly embrace rational aspects of Natural Selection data driven.

    6. A Spiritual Twist?

    a. “A Fool and his money shall soon part”!/Proverbs. A Fool and his life as well! Who regards Prison Life as living? A 13th Amendment Slave?

    b. Who justifies stealing, murdering, ignorance, Poor Educations? A Fool? Those unwilling to learn despises those who can and do? Hint: Legitimate access to survive portends sustainability! In a system designed to destroy you, play into it? Stupid DNA?

    7. Extrapolation: a. Natural Selection will “Select Out for Fools” via DNA b. The 13th Amendment, Racism and The Prison Industrial Complex will “Separate Out” for Thieves, Murderers, indecency, Common Criminals (Unfortunately, some of whom are innocent)! Scientifically/Spiritually, Fools grow into extinct! Fools move to extinction via  unnatural interventions too! Enlightened Blacks must avoid Fools, lest their DNA become extinct! Grandma- “There is a lid for every pot”! Some lids are warped! Choose well! Peace…

  7. What is “Black Bottom”?

    LBRC- NOLA is on The Way to Detroit’s “Black Bottom”! Black Bottom? How did you get there NOLA? Go here>>>

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iSVgOCiT93Y

    1. The Chrysler Freeway did to “Black Detroit Wall Street” what civilian and police bombs did to “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa. Note: The so- called “Native American” Racist Community, a mixed breed of Caucasion, led the charge. (Damaged Negroes to this day proudly proclaim “their” ancestry! Go figure).

    2. In NOLA, the I- 10 Freeway again demonstrated this Racist Paradigm. How does this happen in a majority Negro City with Negro Politicians manning critical positions? 1 Word- The Negro Politico ‘Stuntin “Coon”! In 2019, Past is Present! 

    3. Think The NOLA “ENTERGY MONOPLY” again! How in the Dickens does ENTERGY have more clout than voters and get 11%? How did “The Circle Food Store”, once in a chain of “NOLA’s Black Entrepaneur Class”, get handed on a platter for pennies on the dollar without Negro Politicos knowing? Advertised!!! Councilperson is?  Further- 

    a. What could have been done and what  “Urban Funding” and support could’ve been invoked to save this history? Where was the effort by your Political Cons? Now think Pyrtania uptown! NOLA Negro voters are not only “Echo Chambers” for outside moneyed interest, but they vote against their best interest no less than #45’s Racist Base, less than 45%, but control the “Senate” and De Facto your Cowardly Lion and easily intimated “House”! All rhetoric “No” action! “Saber Rattling” Infinitum! 

    b. How disrespectful, clueless and void of Black Economic History sell- out Negro Politicos, totally unresponsive to those who elected them? When have you seen these shams touring the district accessing needs? You get Facebook and worthless emails aka “Propaganda”, plus Negro Echo Chambers who get off on feeling important because “Coons” return their calls, sometimes, to stroke their poor self esteem!

    4. How does a 40% Black Youth unemployment rate persist (No Legacy Funding to Address!) in a city where “Negro” profits are akin to Sharecroppers? chief tells NOE to wait while the Caucasion Controlled Business Dist. and Racist French Quarter (Killed Levon and arrest children of Negro Police Officers) is flush with protection! When the next Katrina hits? What you’ll get from Politicos are Football Coma Analogies! “Where’s The Beef” for the unemployed, who you know lack funds to eventually return, so poorly educated, their chances of surviving outside of ‘Ignant NOLA is zero to under? More than likely under a bridge! 

    5. Just visit NOLA and look! Negro Politicos bend over for Filthy Lucre, then brag about membership to “Majority Caucasion Control Groupings” and so- called Professional Interest! This impresses the ‘Simps!

    6. Like Detroit, Chicago and nearly every Negro Majority population, control is Filthy Lucre! Your politicos sell you out and they worship entities “Gentrify” where Negroes once thrived! Negro politicos “control” Zoning! Voting/non voting ‘Simps are clueless!  

    7. Here’s the “Ultimate” test-

    a. Once most Negro Politicos assume office? Does where Negroes live thrive or diminish? NOE in NOLA once thrived! What happened when Negro Coons took charge? They tax, Proposition (Single Ballot Issue) for The Zoo and City Park Golf Ranges plus assume debts and “Fees” (Taxpayer Funds)! Negroes  are pounded harder than ever with fees, less population! Lots of cages at the Zoo, maybe…? 

    b. How is stupidity fixed? Gifted young “Blacks” are on the horizon! It’ll take some time!

  8. Who is “Determining” What’s Gold in NOLA?

    LBRC- Reading The Advocate, Wed. July 3/ (Anderson and Vargas), Goes to The Heart of Why NOE and the NOLA Citywide Majority Population has “NO” Advocate/Pun intended, for their “Golden” Existance!!! 

    Re: Writers Vargas and Anderson are “Advocating”, but for Who and What? 

    1. Your Government and so- called NOLA Mainstream Media is Upside Down! How so? Who is challenging this? Where is the Push Back, especially Politicos who control “Your” “Tax Dollars” and monies generated via “Fees”? 

    a. NOE, New Orleans East, is New Orleans’ “Largest” Land Mass. It could exist on its own as a “Major” Louisiana City! Why do “Elected” Representatives sit on their duff and allow New Orleans Advocate writers, to “Designate” what’s “Golden” in NOLA? 

    b. NOE hardly gets returns on its “Decades” of investments in “Tax Dollars” and “Fees”? When asked on WBOK Radio about “Sub Stations” commensurate with The NOE Land Mass, Chief said, “I wish I had the resources” aka “WAIT”! Whose advocating for NOE? Is this all about “Brainless Voting” in NOE? We just ‘Sayin…, WTF aka Who’s Thinking For…?

    2. To the heart of the (C)rap? Citizen Tax Payers are “Standing Tax Payers”, non “Transient”! Lots of “Foreign Dialets” manning Quarter Profits! #45 says this is a “Warped” Paridigm, right? Citizens paved “Streets” and gifted “Amendities” to the French Quarters, including “Buck Dancers, Taps, and 2nd Lines! Track and Cease Citizen Taxes to any French Quarter business or infrastructures to include but not limited to streets, police, garbage Subsidity, ad valorem taxes and yada…! Let’s see autonomy with respect to extricating “Public Dollars” entirely from The Quarter!

    a. Citizen dupes are so accustomed to “Brainlessly” accepting “Ruling Minority Business Narratives”, they never or hardly ever reject hidden “Agendas driving non “Critical Thinkers” (Most not all, as always a Standing 7- 10% are never Silent and “Consistently Challenge “The Status Quo” and their “Lemmings)! Most sit on their duffs and say nothing “Publically”, especially your Politicos! 

    b. What happens when the “Minority Ruling Moneyed Class” in NOLA controls and set priorities, as effective as “Propaganda”, Lemmings and their ilk follow and promote issues against their own! Who doesn’t promote their own interest other than one who is “Void” of “Self Worth”! Sounds familiar? Who “Hates” their own worth? “Are You Gold”? Advocate writers say, “The French Quarter” is where the “Gold” is? Read it “You” decide!

    3. Where is the “Push Back” from those claiming to “Represent” NOE interest, who determine how “Measures” of “Public Dollars” are spent and where? 

    4. An “Alternative” Newsflash?

    a. Sure, The Quarter assesses additional fees for garbage and Police, however- These amount to “Subsidizes” with respect to “Public Dollar” input! Take Garbage- They get “more” pick ups, garbage generated by for “Profit Businesses”! They have additional resources via “Profits”! Which “Population” generates the “Profits” and “Control” who gets in The Quarter to do business? Major Riley, any questions? 

    5. Thought Experiment?  Tire Companies are “For Profit” and generate the same? 

    a. Why are citizens compelled to pay an “Additional” fee to “Dispose of” what Tire Companies Generated “For Profit”? Toxic Rubber Products infused with poison! WTF, Whose the fool? Thank your Politicos! “You” wonder why they ignore you and rip off your “Tax” Dollars like bullies rip off lunch money on Elementary School Yards? 

    b. The “TAPFEODAF” paridigm? Throw a party for ’em or declare a Festival! They just can’t wait to “Buck Dance”, right? This is how “They” cope, right? Majority NOLA is where the Gold is mined, just like De Beers generated Diamonds in South Africa while  the indigenous population dwelled in “Shanties”! You are “African”- American NOE! Mary, Joseph and Marta Caroli! 
    Solution? “Advocate” for “You”!!!
    Peace Out…

  9. […] But that the city administration has been done so little is disturbing and shocking.  Read here about why gentrification is especially bad in NOLA.  As displacement disguised as property renovations continues to plague our great city, the […]

  10. New Orleans culture is a mixture of influences from all the people that have settled it. It’s not a black culture and blacks are not it’s culture creators, but are culture contributors just as the whites that have settled the area since 1718 and beyond. Without the white element, New Orleans culture wouldn’t exist as it does as it’s a mixed, multicultural culture. It’s not a black culture.

    Whites brought Mardi Gras and it’s parades, king cakes and masquerade balls, distinct architecture, drinking culture, the Fleur de lis symbol we all flaunt, the crawfish boils we attend, several different food dishes and culinary influences, the very Catholicism that the Saints football team took their name from and that of which the celebration of Mardi Gras was spawned from and much more. And it was not just the whites of French and Spanish ancestry in colonial Louisiana also, but later waves of other whites such as incoming southerners at the beginning of US statehood, German, Irish and Italian immigrants during the 1800’s. I mean we wouldn’t have muffulettas, baked macaroni and stuffed peppers without the Italians. Two brothers of Cajun ancestry (Martin brothers) invented the Poboy! The Irish even impacted the New Orleans dialect…earl for oil, berl for boil etc…yeah, that’s from the Irish.

    Remember, New Orleans was still majority white before 1980 and it’s only been recent that an incoming wave of blacks from outside of greater New Orleans combined with the small 31% black population of the city replaced most of the local whites who fled to the suburbs to create a majority black city, since 1980. So the white cultural influence in New Orleans culture is present because of this history and is great, do not discount it because local whites have dwindled to small numbers, mainly uptown, mid city and Lakeview.

    New Orleans is always changing and evolving. There were no poboys and muffulettas or jazz and second lines in 1750. New Orleans is always evolving and will continue to do so with the new white residents moving into the city, they will add to the culture just as those before them, white or black. New Orleans culture is multicultural, it’s not white or black. It’s a mixture and belongs to all in the greater New Orleans area, including its suburbs. The culture of New Orleans and it’s suburbs has not finished evolving and will continue no matter how bad some want to freeze it in time.

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Whenever we finally have the next election in Louisiana, there will be constitutional amendments on the ballot.  Didn’t know?  Aware but not sure of the details?  We got you.  Read on for a concise and easy to understand breakdown of the 4 amendments you will see.

Amendment 1

Authorizes streamlined electronic filing, remittance, and collection of sales and use tax 

 “Do you support an amendment to authorize the legislature to provide for the streamlined electronic filing, electronic remittance, and the collection of sales and use taxes levied within the state by the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission and to provide for the funding, duties, and responsibilities of the commission?”

YES VOTE  Creates a new statewide tax commission that would collect all sales taxes handle all electronic tax filings and create new policy for all state and local sales taxes. The appointed commission would replace all current tax commissions and take away any and all local control of sales tax collections.

NO VOTE Leaves things as they currently are. 

Shallow Dive into the Issues

Most states have a central collection agency that passes money back to the local municipalities.  Big businesses would view the state more favorably.  The current system has every parish and even cities in parishes collecting their own taxes. This is unfair complex and oppressive. Supreme court rulings probably make the system unconstitutional.  But taking away local control means outsiders control not only collection but policies, rules and regulations. 

Amendment 2

Lowers maximum allowed rate of income tax and allows providing a deduction for federal income taxes

 “Do you support an amendment to lower the maximum allowable rate of individual income tax and to authorize the legislature to provide by law for a deduction for federal income taxes paid?”

YES VOTE Reforms and updates Louisiana’s tax code

NO VOTE Maintains Louisiana’s current tax code that dates to 2003.

Shallow Dive into the Issues

The current system is at odds with the federal tax system.  When federal taxes get lowered, then individual Louisiana state taxes are actually increased.  And when federal taxes are raised, then individual Louisiana state taxes are reduced but state revenue is also reduced.  If you are interested in tax reform for Louisiana then a vote yes will implement a cascade of tax reform.

Amendment 3

Allows certain levee districts to levy an annual tax for certain purposes

 “Do you support an amendment to allow levee districts created after January 1, 2006, and before October 9, 2021, whose electors approve the amendment to levy an annual tax not to exceed five mills for the purpose of constructing and maintaining levees, levee drainage, flood protection, and hurricane flood protection?”  

YES VOTE Allows  5 levee districts created after 2006 to raise property taxes without a voter approval.

NO VOTE Requires the 5 Levee districts to get voter approval before raising taxes

Shallow Dive into the Issues

Older districts can raise taxes by 3 mils without voter approval.  But these 5

  • Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority (Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion Parishes)
  • Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane and Conservation District (Iberia Parish)  
  • Squirrel Run Levee and Drainage District (Iberia Parish)  
  •  St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District (St. Tammany)
  •  Tangipahoa Levee District (Tangipahoa Parish)

Must get voter approval.  The whole state votes. The districts and the state must approve the change for it to go into effect.

Amendment 4

Increases amount of allowed reduction to certain dedicated funds when a budget deficit is projected

“Do you support an amendment to increase the amount of allowable deficit reductions to statutory dedications and constitutionally protected funds from five percent to ten percent?

YES VOTE Lets the governor transfer more dedicated funds to fix a budget deficit.

NO VOTE Keeps the current 5% cap on use of dedicated funds

Shallow Dive into the Issues

The state’s budget must be balanced. When there is a deficit, the governor can take raid dedicated funds to the tune of 5%.  This change increases that to 10%.   

Now you know! #Geaux Vote

The NFL is about a 1/4 of the way through the season. The Saints have battled through displacement, injuries, inconsistency, and an adjustment period. Here’s a statistically based assessment of where they stand.

Offense:

The offense has been terrible this year, one of the worst of Sean Payton’s career. They’re down in almost every statistical category – points per game, total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing yards per game. 5 games into the season, the offense has just struggled to move the ball, especially through the air.

At quarterback, Jameis Winston is only completing 60% of his passes for 178 yards a game. That’s near the bottom of the league statistically. His overall QB rating is skewed by the fact that he has 12 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. But 4 of those came in one game where he threw goal line touchdowns after the Saints ran the ball down the field. 4 others have come on big plays. Simply put, the Saints have had few sustained drives through the air. In a quarterback driven league, there’s no way you can consider yourself a SuperBowl contender with stats like that.

Part of it can be chalked up to the Saints missing both starting wide receivers. And part of it can be chalked up to Winston just not reading the coverages, or bad play calling on Sean Payton’s part. Whatever the reason, the Saints have got to get the passing game together in order to make the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year.

Saints All Pro Receiver Michael Thomas

Reason to be optimistic: Michael Thomas is coming back. There’s no getting around it. The Saints’ season hinges on Michael Thomas. On paper, he’s not only the best player on the team, but he’s one of the best in the league. The last time we saw a healthy Can’t Guard Mike he was the 2019 Offensive Player of The Year, leading the league in yards and receptions. That year he caught 80% of the balls thrown to him for an average of 9 receptions and a 107 yards per game. To put that in perspective, Jameis Winston barely threw for over 107 yards in each of the first 3 games this season.

Thomas’ presence should open up the offense. With less attention thrown his way, Marquez Calloway should shine as a 2nd option. Alvin Kamara should see more favorable matches coming out the backfield. And in pressure situations, Thomas should serve as a security blanket for Winston when no one else is open or he has trouble reading coverages down the field.

Reason to be concerned: Who knows which Michael Thomas will return. His consistency on the field has been matched by his inconsistency off of it. The last 2 years, his tweets have risen to Antonio Brown levels. Last season, he was suspended for fighting. And this year, he stubbornly waited until training camp neared to have ankle surgery, which is why he’s not on the field now.

Defense:

The defense has been carrying the team. And if you had to pick a MVP so far, it would have to be defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Since 2017 all Allen has done is scheme up the best defense the Saints have had since the Dome Patrol.

Reason to be optimistic: The defense is actually slightly better this year. They’re only giving up 18 points per game, 3 points less than the 21 they gave up last year. They’re also only allowing 79 yards rushing. That’s down from 93 last year. And despite going up against 3 of the best running backs in the league – Aaron Jones of the Packers, Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers, and Saquon Barkley of the Giants, they have yet to give up 100 yards to a single back.

This means that opposing offenses have been forced to be one dimensional. And even with teams resorting to throwing the ball more, the Saints D hasn’t been giving up big plays down the field consistently. They also rank 3rd in creating turnovers, up a spot from last year.

Reason to be concerned: They’re not sacking the quarterback. The Saints rank 29th in sacks so for this year. Last year they were 8th. They loss an elite pass rusher in Trey Hendrickson. And no one has stepped up to replace him. Cameron Jordan is in year 2 of a late career slide. Marcus Davenport is inconsistent when he does manage to stay on the field. Carl Granderson and Tanoh Kpassagnon have shown flashes. But this lack of a pass rush is partly why the Saints failed to close out the Giants game. This may become a big problem when they step up in QB class later in the season.

Special Teams:

Punter – Blake Gillikin has made us forget all about Thomas Morrestead.

Kicker – absolute disaster. The Saints are now on their 3rd kicker – 5 games into the season.

Reason to be optimistic: Wil Lutz will eventually come back.

Tidbits:

*  Alvin Kamara is averaging 3.9 yards per carry, down from 5.0 last year, but he’s a much better runner now.

*  Malcolm Jenkins is actually playing good football. He’s projected to finish with 86 solo tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 pass defenses, and 10 tackles for a loss.

*  11/14 – 12/2. @ Tennessee, @ Philly, then home against the Bills, and Cowboys. Those 4 weeks will tell you all you need to know about this team.

Prediction:

This team most likely has a ceiling of 11-6. But they’re a disgruntled Michael Thomas or an injury away from being 9-8 or 8-9. In the meantime, sharpen your teeth. Because this should turn out to be a nail biter of a season.

Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

What you learned to do isn’t working. 6 ways to begin to turn your life around.

KEY POINTS

  • We often struggle because our old coping styles no longer work.
  • Knowing your old dysfunctional patterns helps you know how to begin to run your life better.
  • Discover what you can’t do and experiment with acting differently.

Life can deliver its share of troubles and we step up and handle them as best we can. But, for some, their struggles seem never to end. While they, too, are doing their best, what often fuels their difficulties is how they are running their lives. They seem to repeatedly fall into the same potholes, replicate the same dysfunctional patterns, and react to problems in old ways that no longer work.

If this seems to be true for you, maybe it’s time to step back, stop doing what isn’t working, and begin replacing this outdated psychological software with upgraded versions. Here are some of the most common potholes and patterns to stop alongside their new-and-improved replacements. See which resonate most with you:

Stop being a victim

You’re upset because your partner always brings up that incident at Christmas that he knows makes you angry. You’re tired all the time because you’re always going a hundred miles an hour juggling work, kids’ demands, and everyday life. The core problem here is that you see yourself as a victim of others and their reactions, a victim of the life that you have created.

What to start doing: Yes, you can’t control your partner; you feel trapped in a lifestyle that drains you. But most of all you’re not taking responsibility—for your emotions and your reactions, for the choices you make even when you feel like you are not making choices.

Stop being emotionally driven

Being emotionally driven easily overlaps with feeling like a victim. What we’re talking about here is you running your everyday life based on how you feel. You’re tired, so you don’t mow the lawn or do your taxes; you’re overwhelmed about the new project at work, so put off tackling it; it’s already 2:00 pm, the day is shot, and so you mentally kick back and coast—you’ll tackle it tomorrow.

Folks who have high anxiety or who have AD/HD are often emotionally driven: They do what they do based on how they feel. The problem with this is that you understandably avoid what you don’t want to do, what is uncomfortable, and don’t follow through when the going gets tough.

What to start doing: The underlying problem is that your emotional brain is driving your life rather than your rational brain. It’s time to stop your rational brain from being a passenger and to allow it to become the driver: time to learn to act despite how you feel; time to develop some perseverance, some discipline so your feelings aren’t constantly derailing you from success.

Stop being passive

It’s okay; that’s fine; no problem; whatever. If you find yourself saying these often, you probably get kudos for being laid back and accommodating, and as an extra bonus, you avoid a lot of conflict and confrontation. But it comes at a cost: by going along and essentially letting others make choices for you, you are living the life of a child rather than an adult who shapes his life by making his own decisions. Periodically, you may find yourself feeling resentful; you may flare up and be self-destructive. Rather than living a life that reflects your unique purpose, the moral of your life is to not make waves, not get into trouble.

What to start doing: While those who are emotionally driven pay too much attention to their emotions, those who are passive tend to not pay enough attention to them. If you feel like it’s time to stop being passive, you have two skills to develop: One is listening to your gut, paying attention to what you don’t like, don’t want to; two is doing something with it.

Speak up, be assertive, tell others how you feel and think. Even if it takes three days to figure out how you feel, that’s fine; it’s okay to take baby steps. All you have to do is act. Not perfectly, not because you expect some magical outcome, not because it will make someone else happy. Simply speak up and act rather than leaning back and doing nothing.

Stop being a martyr

You volunteer for every committee; you’re always doing for others. That’s fine if that is part of your values, your vision of a good life. But all too often, it’s about anxiety, walking on eggshells. While the story you tell yourself is that you are just being a good person, you’re being over-responsible and being good so others like you, to avoid the conflict that may come from saying no. You can tell when you are losing control of your life when you get burned out, or, like those who are passive, you periodically feel resentful that others aren’t appreciating what you’re doing or are not pulling their weight. If this happens to you, your life is out of balance; you’re being a martyr.

What to start doing: Like the others, realize and acknowledge when this is happening. Next, do what you struggle to do. Keep your hand down when they call for volunteers; learn to say no. Change your expectations about what you expect from others in return. Use your burnout as a wake-up call to tell you that you are not living your life.

Stop settling

The vacation your partner planned was “okay.” The salary increase wasn’t what you expected but “understandable.” Good for you for not overreacting and being critical. But…if you are doing this a lot, if your life is an endless series of compromises and watered-down experiences, if you are always settling, eventually it’s going to back up on you. Yes, it is good enough, but like that poor woman who in old age regretted eating too many beans and not enough ice cream, do you too need to learn to slow down on the beans and try going for more ice cream?

What to start doing: Speak up and try not to rationalize that what you get is good enough, or that it’s probably what you should only expect. You deserve more than you think; you can get more than you believe you can. And you have to believe it and try living it to find out.

Stop cutting and running

The relationship isn’t working out—you ghost him. Your supervisor is awful, and you quit. Your mother makes some nasty comments about your partner, and you decide you’re done and never want to talk to her again.

This is about coping with hurtful situations by cutting them off—the situation, the pain, the person. The problem here is your anxiety and your coping style works so you keep doing it. But the downside is that your life becomes a series of emotional cutoffs and unresolved problems; the hurt isn’t ever really resolved. You never learn the lessons that life can teach you. You stay the victim; your life is an accumulation of problems swept under the rug.

What to start doing: Don’t run; talk. Don’t run; tackle the problem. Your supervisor may still be a monster, your mother sticks to her nasty ways, but you’ve pushed back. You’ve been that adult rather than the scared, angry 10-year-old who runs away. At some point, what you say will be heard and the problem will be fixed.

The theme here is clear: Figure out what you can’t do, where you settle, resign, go on auto-pilot, or avoid what is hard. Stop doing it. Try doing the opposite.

The NOLA Project theatre company is getting a new leading artistic

voice.

Ensemble member Brittany N. Williams (HARRY AND THE THIEF, SPARE MISSION 1) has

been tabbed as TNP’s first-ever Co-Artistic Director. She will assume the role in January of

2022.

Brittany N. Williams

“I’m thrilled to be joining The NOLA Project team as Co-Artistic Director,” Williams said.

“Working with this brilliant group of artists as an ensemble member has been wonderful and I’m

excited to help us grow and evolve as a company and as part of the greater New Orleans

community.”

Williams, is an actor, singer and writer. You last saw her on stage in TNP’s last in-person production,

HARRY AND THE THIEF (Vivian), at the Contemporary Arts Center in 2020. During the

pandemic, she penned one of the company’s four original PodPlays as well as provided her

voice for it and two others. Outside of TNP, Williams’ credits include Stage Door Songbook: Cole

Porter (Susan), Mary Full of Gray (Mary/writer) and she was the The National World War II

Museum’s 2019 Stage Door Idol winner.

Williams will share Artistic Director duties with current AD A.J. Allegra.

“I couldn’t be happier to announce the addition of Brittany N. Williams to our new shared

leadership model at The NOLA Project,” Allegra said. “She is a passionate, smart, and creative

theatre artist with an incredible depth of knowledge and experience. The pandemic-forced

pause in our work allowed our ensemble to look inward at ways in which we could strengthen

and improve our organization. And, I am so pleased that in the tradition of NOLA Project, and the

spirit of ensemble, we selected one of our own to co-lead the next era of The NOLA Project.”

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Williams performed across three continents – including a year

spent as a principal vocalist at Hong Kong Disneyland – and several US states prior to

relocating to New Orleans in 2017. Some favorite out-of-town credits include Universal Robots

(Helena), Margaret I (Joan of Arc), Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Nansi – Helen Hayes Award

nom.), Antony and Cleopatra (Soothsayer/Clown), and Lear (Cordelia/Fight Captain). Williams

holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Howard University and an MA in Classical Acting from the

Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.

Last time we saw her

Williams’ latest work will be on display this fall when The NOLA Project and the New Orleans

Museum of Art present her new play, TELL IT TO ME SWEET, in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

For more information on the original outdoor production, running October 29-November 14, please visit

NOLAProject.com. PRESS CONTACT: kclaverie@nolaproject.com | 504.913.5057

 In an unprecedented move, two opponents endorse each other during an election

District “C” Councilmember Kristin Palmer and District “D” Councilmember Jared Brossett announced that they are taking the unprecedented step of endorsing each other for the Council At-Large before the November 13th Primary. Palmer and Brossett are running against each other in a four-way race for the Division 2 Council At-Large seat that includes former State Senator JP Morrell. Typically opponents in the same race do not endorse the other until after one loses.

Why would they do this?

The opponents see an opportunity to move voters away from their primary opponent JP Morrell.  Polling shows Morrell making the runoff with either of them.  For Palmer this is a political calculation.  In addition to politics, the personal dispute between Brossett and Morrell just got revved up significantly. 

Brossett and Palmer have worked together on the Council on multiple issues, including the $15 an hour minimum wage for city employees. They worked on the growing Airbnb problem. But this unforeseen action is not only shocking but politically risky for each of them.  

We will see how or if this unprecedented move affects the primary.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Wait, the party out of power was complaining about the party in power trying to raise the debt ceiling? What year is it? I feel like we’ve been here before. Some would call this deja vu. Others would call it a glitch in the Matrix. But this is the debt ceiling debacle.

This episode played out predictably. I had trouble deciphering if it was a new one or just a re-run. At the heart of it all was the funding of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better budget.

Democrats, the party in power, we’re trying to rally two holdouts in the Senate. And Republicans were running around talking about how the budget would usher in the total ruination of the country. This all made for high drama.

Senators Sinema and Manchin contribute to the Debt Ceiling Debate

HOLDOUTS 1 & 2

Senator Krysten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, also known as holdout #1, got jacked up in a bathroom by some citizens who still actually take national politics seriously. Not like literally jacked up, but you know, confronted, politely questioned in public about why she’s stalling President Biden’s budget.

Holdout #2, Senator Joe Manchin, a Republican who identifies as a Democrat, did what he usually does in highly partisan showdown. He got squeamish when Democrats started asking how he’ll be voting. Manchin subjected his fellow Democrats to a lot of public foot stomping over the green energy policies included in the budget. This shouldn’t be surprising. He’s a Democrat from West Virginia, a coal mining state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 2000.

Meanwhile, Republicans were dealing with their own internal drama. In one breath, it wouldn’t make proper partisan sense to be seen voting with the Democrats. But in another, it also wouldn’t make much political sense to sit back and watch the Democrats nuke the filibuster.

The filibuster is the only weapon a minority party in the Senate has to influence legislation. It takes 60 votes to break one, which is something no party in recent memory has had. So, a compromise is forced. Naturally, the threat of losing the filibuster scared the bee gee bees out of Mitch McConnell. So, he did the unthinkable: he rallied votes on behalf of the Democrats.

In the end, McConnell betrayed his party (their words) and did just enough to throw Democrats some cover fire until December. Instead of actually voting to raise the debt ceiling to cover the budget, Republicans and Democrats agreed to raise it just enough to cover the bills until December. The price – $480 billion.

People who try to make sense of this ask: why when they vote to spend money we don’t have, they just don’t also raise the debt ceiling to cover it?

The answer: because there’d be no incentive to curb spending. Imagine if every time you were about to max out your credit card, the bank just increased your credit limit. You know all the trouble you’d get into?

Right now, the federal government is in $28 trillion of trouble, mainly because it has just that – unlimited credit. The debt that incurs is usually only a problem to the party that’s not in control of spending.

Over the years, the rhetoric surrounding the budget and federal spending has degenerated to stomp speeches and red meat for constituents. You can look for this to intensify until one party, probably Republicans, actually do something crazy like block the other party from raising the ceiling. Then all catastrophes will break loose.

But the good people in Washington made sure that is something we won’t have to worry about until Christmas. Think of it as a premature lump of coal in your stocking. In a month and a half, we’ll actually see if they will take all the merry out of Christmas.

By TiOnka Writez

On September 9, 2021,  President Biden signed the executive order to mandate the vaccination of all federal employees and employees operating with one hundred people within the private sector by 12/08/2021. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidelines. Unvaccinated employees are to submit a negative COVID-19 test result every 72 hours before reporting for duty. In true American fashion, the edge of a life-altering event stirs dissent. We understand the need to stop the virus. But the plan of tampering with the working classes’ lively hood is a bit extreme.

The three most common vaccine questions are:

1) Are you vaccinated?

2) When will you get vaccinated?

3) Why won’t you get vaccinated?

Depending on who is asking, you may need to ere on the side of caution when preparing to answer. The decision to vaccinate or not is causing a rift in home and work environments worldwide. The unvaccinated now face hostility. How did we, as a “united” nation, get here?

Now, I know what you are thinking. This COVID-19 virus is no joke. Humans have never faced this before. And you cannot fathom why anyone would object to a scientifically formulated and tested solution. However, The unvaccinated have real issues to consider. Initially there was confusing and mixed messaging. For instance, medical professionals advise patients to take the “shot” to save lives. But a liability waiver is necessary to proceed with vaccine administering. And multiple contracting cases and deaths by COVID-19 are on record in vaccinated individuals. Warnings of use labels, of course, are available on all over-the-counter and prescribed medications. But the difference here is choice and the ability to proceed with informed consent.

The first amendment (“Freedom of Speech”) means freedom of expression. If individuals express their desire not to receive the vaccination, accept their decision. Amidst the debt ceiling debate, now is not the ideal time to threaten Americans’ job security. Stifling employee wage-earning potential and restricting medical coverage for COVID-19 testing is counterproductive to replenishing a depleted economy.

We should develop a solution that considers the position of all parties involved. The most relevant question here is, who or what constitutes a valuable person?” The answer is simple; every living person holds value. And their opinion matters. Don’t bully or shame people for staying strong in their conviction. Placing restrictions on employment is not the best create trust and cooperation with the citizens you are attempting to save.

To vaccinate more people, appeal to what matters to them. Implement a solution to address daily issues like the unstable workforce or unjustly inflated insurance rates in certain areas. Address their concerns without gaslighting them, overlooking how they perceive your message or threatening them with excessive force.

RELATED: For some lack of access is the issue

         

            In my recent pandemic rant, I railed against adults, who, for no good reason, refused to get vaccinated. I argued that it constitutes reckless endangerment of our children. As I write this, yesterday (August 25), a baby and a 14-year-old football player died in Louisiana of COVID.

            My daughter Rebecca, who is a physician and has a nine-year-old, thought my rant was spot on. My son, Jonathan, also a physician and whose 8-year-old just recovered from COVID, could relate to my frustration, but he thought I should be more understanding of the unvaccinated. And my unvaccinated friend V called me up to say I can’t just call her a baby killer. I didn’t, and yet . . . what do the facts say?

            I know V extremely well and love her. But I can’t for the life of me see how she reaches her anti-vax conclusion. She’s not stupid. In fact, she is brilliant. She doesn’t buy conspiracy theories. She’s never been betrayed by doctors or the medical establishment. She’s generous and community oriented. But she’s not a Republican. And yet she’s one of those people I referenced in my rant that you can’t reason with.

            I have to grant, therefore, that my son’s approach may be more useful. He had a patient last week, an elderly woman with underlying conditions, who refused to get the shot because she was sure that the Lord would take care of her. He affirmed her strong faith and said he wanted to tell her a story/joke. You know, the one about a person in dire straits who refuses three rescue offers because she believes God will save her. She dies and then takes God to task for not answering her prayers. And God says, but I sent you X, Y, and Z.

            Jonathan, being a homeboy, gave it the New Orleans spin of a woman on a rooftop after Katrina. Boats and a helicopter came to the rescue, and she waved them away. His patient laughed uproariously and said she’d think about it. He had occasion to call her several times as a follow-up to their appointment asking various questions about her medical history. On the fourth call, she said she had some surprising news. She got the shot.

            “Great!” he said. “What made you decide?” She said she shared the hilarious story with a friend. When Jonathan called, she said that was God’s second message to her. When he called again – that was God’s third message. “I got in my car,” she told him, “To drive to the Walgreens. And if nothing happens on the way, I’ll know that God wants me to get the shot.”

            Jonathan is 1 for 0 on convincing people. I am 0 for 0. So I have to admit, as good and righteous as my rant felt – yes, his approach is proving more effective.

Breakthrough infections are to be expected, but it doesn’t mean the COVID-19 vaccines aren’t working.

by Linda Geddes

As a growing number of people in wealthy countries get fully vaccinated, questions are being asked about why some of them are still becoming infected with coronavirus, in some cases even being hospitalised with COVID-19. Such “breakthrough infections” are to be expected, but just how common are they, and what should you expect if you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 having been fully vaccinated?

Vaccine efficacy

No vaccine is 100% effective. Even the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine – one of the most powerful disease prevention tools we have – is only 96% effective against measles after two doses, while the seasonal flu vaccine is only 45% effective. Still, it is estimated to prevent 130,000 flu deaths in the US alone each year.

COVID-19 vaccines can and do protect the majority of people from hospitalisation and death, which is why as many doses need to administered around the world as rapidly, and equitably, as possible.

Clinical trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines found them to be 94-95% effective against all symptomatic COVID-19 disease after the second dose. This doesn’t mean that we’d expect 5-6 in every 100 people to develop COVID-19, but that there was a 94-95% reduction in new cases of the disease among people who had been vaccinated, compared to unvaccinated individuals. China’s Sinopharm vaccine was 78% effective and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 67% effective in clinical trials. Protection against hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 was even higher.

With large numbers of people being vaccinated, and as almost all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in some countries, it is inevitable that a small proportion of fully vaccinated individuals will become infected. An even smaller proportion will become seriously ill and die. What’s important is that the risk of a serious outcome is vastly lower for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, compared to those who have received no vaccine doses.

Breakthrough infections

In the US, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has been quantifying the number of breakthrough infections, which it defines as cases in which SARS-CoV-2 is detected in a respiratory specimen 14 days or more after an individual has completed all recommended vaccine doses. Between 1 January and 30 April, 2021, 10,262 breakthrough infections were reported from 46 US states. At that time, 101 million people in the US had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For comparison, there were 11.8 million COVID-19 infections recorded during the same period – so these vaccine breakthrough infections represented only a tiny fraction of the total number. Also importantly, not all of these individuals reported feeling ill – 27% of those experiencing a breakthrough infection were asymptomatic.

Since 1 May, the CDC has only been identifying and investigating those breakthrough cases in which the individual was hospitalised or died due to any cause (i.e. not just as a result of COVID-19). As of August 2, 2021, more than 164 million people in the US had been fully vaccinated. In that time-span, the CDC identified 7,525 patients with a breakthrough infection who were hospitalised or died.

Shorter milder illness

Another recent analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, analysed breakthrough infections among almost 4000 essential and frontline workers in Arizona, USA, vaccinated with either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Of the 205 coronavirus infections identified, the majority occurred among unvaccinated workers – with only five fully and eleven partially vaccinated individuals testing positive between mid-December 2020 and mid-April 2021. Those who had received at least one vaccine dose had a 40% lower viral load (the amount of live virus a person carries) on average, a 66% reduced chance of testing positive for COVID-19 for more than a week on a PCR test, and a 58% lower risk of experiencing fever, compared to unvaccinated individuals. Their other symptoms also subsided about six days earlier and they spent two days fewer ill in bed, on average.

“The mechanisms by which vaccination attenuates COVID-19 are largely unknown, but the effect is probably due to recall of immunologic memory responses that reduce viral replication and accelerate the elimination of virally infected cells,” the researchers wrote.

Delta variant

The initial clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines were conducted before the emergence and spread of new variants, such as Delta, which are able to overcome the immunity afforded by COVID-19 vaccines to some degree.

In a recent study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research explored the possible reason for an increased number of breakthrough infections reported across the country. They collected nose and throat swabs from 677 individuals who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after receiving one or two doses or India’s Covaxin vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, or the Sinopharm vaccine. Genetic analysis revealed that in 86% of cases, the breakthrough infection was triggered by the Delta variant – although this could simply be a reflection of the variant’s prevalence at that time.

Other research also indicates that the vaccines may be less effective at preventing coronavirus infections in the face of the Delta variant. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective at preventing symptomatic infections, whereas the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 67% effective. A single dose of either vaccine was only 37% effective, underscoring the importance of receiving both doses.

However, COVID-19 vaccines still appear to be highly effective at preventing hospitalisation and deaths from the disease. Data from Public Health England, where the Delta variant now accounts for most COVID-19 cases, suggested that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 96% effective against hospitalisation with Delta after 2 doses, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 92% effective after 2 doses.

Living with the virus

Most experts agree that COVID-19 is now effectively endemic, meaning it will continue to circulate in pockets of the global population and trigger outbreaks, although it may pose less a danger over time. Many had hoped that once a certain proportion of the population had been infected, or vaccinated against the disease, herd immunity would kick in, meaning those who hadn’t encountered the virus would be buffered from infection by those who were already immune to it. The spread of Delta, and other variants that can partially escape the immunity provided by vaccination or previous infection has raised the threshold for herd immunity, with some even questioning whether it can be achieved at all. However, COVID-19 vaccines can and do protect the majority of people from hospitalisation and death, which is why as many doses need to administered around the world as rapidly, and equitably, as possible.

Could New Public Board Do a Better Job?

In New Orleans, the city council regulates the power company.  This is a unique occurrence.  Everywhere else across the state, the state-run Public Service Commission regulates the power companies for local municipalities.  The commission regulates insures that every district has safe and reliable power at reasonable rates.  Utility regulation is complex and important.  Utility commissions make life changing decisions.  Should the city council regulate Entergy?

The state’s Public Service Commission has  five commissioners that represent different parts of the state. In New Orleans, while the entire council must approve any regulation, the utility committee interacts directly with the power company.  This unique authority provides citizens direct access to all of the regulators.  That council members are the regulatory body, a heightened sense of politicization affects the policy decisions. 

Is this the best solution? 

The notion of local control seems great.  Now, council members have direct management of the power company with access to the company executives circumvents excessive bureaucracy.  And for the company, New Orleans officials directly hear their concerns.  Win-win right?

The complexity of utility regulation is significantly high.  Even the state’s commission hires advisors and experts to help it understand their choices.  And the New Orleans City Council annually spends over a million dollars on utility consultants and attorneys.  Finding the sweet spot – a financially strong and profitable power company that provides safe, reliable and affordable electricity – is an extreme challenge.  Add in climate change and the stakes get higher.  Our Hurricane Ida experience exposes our vulnerability.  100% of the metro was out of power. 

Role of the City Council

The council is the legislative and partly administrative branch of city government.  New laws, potholes, marijuana laws, city budget, crime, internet and cable TV, housing, water and land use are some of the important work done by the council.  Our members serve four-year terms.  The approve the city budget.  The council has several subcommittees that meet regularly in addition to the normal every other Thursday regular meeting.

Entergy New Orleans(ENO) is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, the city’s only Fortune 500 company.  ENO has been the power company in New Orleans for 99 years.  And ENO is guaranteed a reasonable profit. They must provide always on electricity and gas to homes and businesses. Additionally, the company must maintain the power grid for the city.  ENO attempts to maximize its’ profit through efficiency and minimizing expenses while continuing to provide high quality service.

Justice and Beyond Meeting Headed by Pat Bryant and Dr. Dwight Webster

Relationship Issues

The very nature of this business partnership requires informed and committed regulation.  Business intends to make the most profit possible providing desired service or products.  In the case of Entergy, cutting costs to increase profits might result in potential calamity.  Some have claimed the tower that collapsed during the storm is a prime example. They say the rusted and twisted metal indicates lack of proper maintenance.  Though not a part of ENO, this example provides insight into the difficulty regulators face.  How to oversee the wide and complex power grid.

But the New Orleans City Council is much more than just a regulatory body.  The city council must provide public policy, laws, budgets, and a host of other responsibilities. And the complexity of utility regulation is immense.  Even our state commission hires consultants and law firms.  Furthermore, none of the current council members is a utility expert.  The field is a specialty that requires specific skills and knowledge. We ask too much of council members. They are already burdened with everyday city stuff to oversee a powerful company.  Combine term limits to this equation and it’s no wonder that the same questions come up year after year.

Entergy is able to monetize our city government structure.  Council members cycle off every eight years.  New council members usually have no knowledge of the utility committee’s actions. Sometimes the new members’ campaigns were supported by ENO. Their ability to regulate may not be compromised. However, they may have more information about Entergy’s desires than the city’s position.

Therefore a diverse new board comprised not only of City Council members, but also citizens, independent industry experts, Entergy representatives, the New Orleans representative on the Public Service Commission, and university representatives should serve staggered 8-year terms.  This board should only regulate ENO.  This relieves burdened and inexperienced council members.  This new board will ensure that the threats of climate change are mitigated.  In other words, if we can not keep the lights on, then we no longer exist. 

The new power and gas board of New Orleans means we have a strong city for another 100 years.