Town Hall Meeting to Save the French Quarter’s Protections
The New Orleans French Quarter is a national treasure. Please help save the enforcement that protects this historic landmark neighborhood.
New Orleans City Council member Freddie King has proposed an ordinance that would “prohibit the prosecution of any violation or prevention of the issuance or renewal of any permit” in the French Quarter. This ordinance, which could be voted on as early as May 25, threatens the historic heart of New Orleans — and will generate negative repercussions that would echo across the city.
Please attend a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, May 22, to discuss this troubling proposal that would stop for one year the prosecution of any building violation cited by the Vieux Carré Commission (VCC), including those for demolition by neglect. The proposal would also relax standards for signage and remove rules that prevent businesses with violations from receiving Alcoholic Beverage Outlet (ABO) permits from the city.
During a one-year pause on prosecution, bad actors could do significant and irreversible harm to historic buildings.
Let the City Council know you oppose this devastating and overreaching ordinance.
Here are some reasons why:
- The Vieux Carré Commission was established and empowered by the Louisiana Constitution in 1936 because voters statewide recognized the historic and economic significance of the French Quarter. This proposal to halt enforcement is likely unconstitutional.
- Now is NOT the time to stop prosecuting violations of laws that have been on the books for nearly a century. To pause these prosecutions in New Orleans’ most prominent and visited neighborhood is entirely at odds with the city’s goal to fight blight with fair and timely code enforcement.
- Granting a one-year pause on the prosecution of VCC violations will only worsen the enforcement backlog, forgoing income owed to the city for fines and penalties while allowing historic buildings to deteriorate.
- The majority of French Quarter property owners and business owners follow the rules and maintain their properties. They count on the VCC to protect their investments and quality of life by holding everyone to the same standards.
- Building owners who have been wrongly cited by the VCC already have recourse through administrative hearings and appeals. The system has built in checks and balances.
- By conflating unrelated issues — ABO permits, signage and the enforcement of historic preservation laws — the ordinance creates more problems than it solves.
- If a measure this ill-conceived and problematic is implemented in the city’s most long-standing and best-known historic district, other neighborhoods could soon find themselves in the crosshairs.
There are many challenges facing the French Quarter right now. But limiting the ability for the VCC to protect its historic architecture won’t fix any of the district’s pressing problems – it will only lead to more degradation.
YOU CAN HELP!
This message is endorsed by the following organizations:
Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans
Vieux Carré Property Owners and Residents Association
Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation
Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association
Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses