French Quarter News

1031 Canal Street In the News

Praveen Kailas' plans for a 205-foot, 570,000 square foot tower to replace the old Woolworth's building at the corner of Canal and North Rampart have animated public discussion this summer.

The City Council will consider the City Planning Commission's (CPC) recommendation in favor of a 190-foot building in September or October. On August 23, the CPC rejected its professional planning staff's recommendation of a 120-foot building (60 feet on Iberville), the height limit recommended in the draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance currently awaiting public review and approval. FQC and most project opponents supported allowing 120 feet.

Mr. Kailas, a successful strip mall developer, purchased the property after Katrina for a very favorable price of about $29 per square foot after, he alleges, then-District C Councilmember Carter agreed to facilitate Council approval for a high-rise building. Mr. Carter has denied the allegation in writing, but the story colored the debate as the project has lurched through the city review process, garnering six rejections before the CPC's 5-3 vote. Mr. Kailas argues that he needs the height and mass (respectively, three times and four times that permitted by current zoning) to make his numbers work. He and his supporters, who include Canal Street business and property owners, some other adjacent property owners, and some French Quarter residents, claim that it will bring needed development to the long-vacant site and economic benefits to the city.

Opponents of the project include French Quarter Citizens, Vieux CarrE Property Owners, Residents and Associates, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Louisiana Landmarks Commission, Smart Growth Louisiana (a leader in the Master Plan fight), and some French Quarter residents and others. FQC and other opponents argue that the height and bulk fail to respect and protect the adjacent French Quarter and theater district. Opponents also point to Master Plan strictures against spot zoning (a concession affecting only one property) and land use changes made outside the Master Plan amendment process.

FQC fully supports appropriate development of the site, calling for a project consistent with the Master Plan, respectful of its surroundings, and considered as part of small area plan for our theater district, centered on the Saenger. We also believe there should be a traffic plan and a rational planning process considered by city agencies according to law.

Even if the Council approves the 190-foot height limit, Mr. Kailas still has to get design approval. Even many project proponents find the proposed design ugly and inappropriate. However, the design is largely dictated by the developer*s floor area requirement: 750,000 square feet (half the size of old Charity) on that lot requires a bulky building looming over N. Rampart and particularly Iberville Street, which will become even more a de facto service alley for the high-rises on Canal.

FQC continues to work for an appropriate project and consistency with the Master Plan, which the voters endorsed to end special deals – shouldn't the rules apply to all and not just a few? We also believe the project should respect its Canal Street neighbors, the North Rampart Street corridor, and provide an iconic building to mark a corner that will become even more important with the North Rampart street car and a theater district with the Saenger as its jewel. Protecting the French Quarter – New Orleans' feature attraction where we happen to live – is as ever FQC's major concern.

2015 Progressive Dining Experience for the Heart of the Vieux Carré

The “Progressive Dining Experience” is French Quarter Citizens’ signature event, and on Friday, November 6 we presented our 19th annual Progressive Dinner held in support of French Quarter preservation. This year’s event celebrated the Heart of the Vieux Carré – our culture, lifestyle, cuisine, art, and music. Our members and guests explored and enjoyed a night in the French Quarter by visiting the three featured private homes serving cocktails and appetizers from some of New Orleans’ best restaurants before gathering to fete our special guests at the Grand Finale at the renowned Bourbon Orleans Hotel Grand Ballroom.

We began the evening with cocktails, appetizers and music as three very generous French Quarter neighbors invited our guests into their private residences, each one evocative of gracious living in the historic Vieux Carré, and each home exquisite and unique with such features as French doors that opened onto lush gardens and brick courtyard settings lit with gas lanterns, one with a carriage way entrance and balcony views. Guests sipped drinks and enjoyed chef inspired hors d’oeuvres while listening to local soloists – pianist Colin Provensal, harpist Sarah E. Burke, and guitarist Michael Desmond were featured entertainers at the “Appetizer Houses.”

The three French Quarter home owners who opened their homes to us were: Bev and John Muraglia, Stephanie and Joe Bruno, and Juliet and Tim Laughlin. Participating restaurants at the Appetizer Houses were Salon by Sucre by Joel, which featured chef inspired appetizers made with Spicy Cajun Caviar from Louisiana Caviar Company, Mandina’s served their famous Shrimp Remoulade, and Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar and Restaurant served Honey Lime marinated Gulf Shrimp over Poblano Grits.

At the appointed hour our guests were escorted to the Bourbon Orleans Hotel for the “Grand Finale,” featuring more fine dining experiences, presentations to our honored guests, live and silent auctions, and dancing to Phillip Manuel’s jazz ensemble.

Gayle Benson

We feted our honorary chairs, Mr. & Mrs. Tom Benson with Gayle Benson in attendance (Gayle Benson pictured with FQC’s President Susan Guillot and Vice President Rodney Villarreal above) to accept French Quarter Citizens’ award which recognized the Bensons “For their ongoing contributions to the historic culture of New Orleans and their passionate efforts to sustain the unique character of the Vieux Carré.”

Our distinguished guest was Dr. Norman C. Francis (pictured below with Edward Bonin and Mason Harrison), whom FQC recognized “For his contributions to education and his 47 years as President of Xavier University.” We also thanked our Progressive Dining Experience Co-Chairs René J.L. Fransen and Mason Harrison for organizing and creating this year’s hugely successful event.

Francis, Bonin and Harrison

We lavished attention on local culture and art, and many French Quarter artists were featured during our live and silent auctions. Top bidders landed exclusive New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans home game packages including facilities tours and club seats. A rare George Dureau photograph, a Freddie Guess original oil painting, a beautiful hand painted etching on handmade paper from Frances Swigart-Steg, a Harouni silk screen, a Jamie Hayes print, and a Sherry Haydel encaustic painting delighted our art lovers. In addition, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lighting, NOLA Couture, Luca Falcone Fine Clothiers, The Hotel Monteleone, Besh Restaurant Group, Mignon Faget, and others donated fantastic items for our auction to entice our guests to bid high.

New Orleans-based sculptor Hernan Caro created original “nature sculptures” in clay and metal, each one unique and made exclusively for French Quarter Citizens’ 2015 Progressive Dining Experience served as centerpieces “inspired by Mr. & Mrs. Benson, two together whose kindness and generosity make our city better” and were available for sale to our guests, with proceeds benefiting FQC.

We celebrated our local cuisine with fabulous participating restaurants serving signature dishes: Doris Metropolitan served Roast Beef rolled with Arugula and Dijon, Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar served Oyster Artichoke Soup, Red Fish Grill brought Blue Crab Cavatelli with Leek Horseradish Cream, Palace Café offered Gulf Fish Ceviche with Passion Fruit, Jalapeno, Cillantro and Mint, Galatoire’s Restaurant served their famous Turtle Soup, Restaurant R’evolution had pickled shrimp spring rolls, Chef Miles Landrem of Johnny Sanchez served up Tuna Tostadas made with locally sourced Spicy Cajun Caviar from Louisiana Caviar Company, Restaurant Stanley! provided shrimp cocktails and Cuban sliders, and an amazing array of assorted delicious desserts were served by Maple Street Patisserie.

And, TREMENDOUS thanks to our 2015 Progressive Dining Experience Committee Members who donated thousands of hours of their time, muscle when and where needed, talent, experience, smarts and resources. Our Committee Co-Chairs are René J.L. Fransen and Mason Harrison; Committee Members Extraordinaire are: Glade Bilby, Angie Bowlin, John Burke, Cathy Espenan, Carol Gniady, Susan and Albin Guillot, Torie Kranze, Sandra Pulitzer, Chad Pellerin, Joseph Burchman Rochelle, Sharon Singleton, B.B. St. Roman, Rodney Villarreal, and Gary N. Wheat.

It was an amazing night in the French Quarter that brought people together in support of French Quarter Citizens’ advocacy efforts for residential quality of life, historic preservation, and architectural integrity. Thank you, everyone, for helping to make this a truly memorable, outstanding event!

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A History of the French Quarter


The French Quarter is the only intact French Colonial and Spanish settlement remaining in the United States. It has been a continuous residential neighborhood since 1718, withstanding hurricanes, floods, fires, yellow fever epidemics, war, neglect, industrialization and commercialization. Its population has varied from 470 people to as many as 11,000. As a registered “National Historic Landmark” the French Quarter has secured an important role in our nation’s history.

To trace the key developments in the French Quarter over the last nearly 300 years, here are some of the more significant dates/decades in its history:


1718 – For at least 10,000 years up until 1718, the New Orleans area had been inhabited solely by Native Americans, primarily Choctaw. Since the land lies between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, both of which are connected to the Gulf of Mexico, the Native Americans realized that an overland connection between the river and the lake would be important for travel and trade. Therefore, they built a portage from the river (at what is now Conti Street) to Bayou St. John, a stream leading out to the lake. The very first explorer in the area, LaSalle, came down the Mississippi River from Illinois in 1682; however, he cruised right by the New Orleans area without stopping. Later, when he tried to find the river from the Gulf, he ended up in Texas. So in 1699 two French brothers, Iberville and Bienville, decided to try their luck and they succeeded: in 1704 Iberville built a fort at Lake Pontchartrain (now called the “Old Spanish Fort”) and wanted to establish a town on Bayou St. John near the portage. However, Bienville preferred the Mississippi River end of the portage, so in 1718 he started building a town at what is now Conti Street.

He and his crew of 80 cleared enough cane growth and dense cypress forest to build one large warehouse and about 100 crude log huts haphazardly scattered along three streets near the riverfront. A major problem during the first few years was flooding.

1721-22 – Bienville teamed up with two French engineers to design a French military-style city street plan, making New Orleans one of the first planned cities in America. This plan, which has remained to this day, featured a central square (now called Jackson Square) surrounded by a grid of 6 x 9 city blocks. Any existing huts not conforming to the grid were ordered torn down. Nature had already made that easy: a 1721 hurricane had leveled nearly the whole town. The forest was cleared just enough to accommodate the plan, leaving alligator and snake-laden swamps surrounding them on three sides. A levee was built along the Mississippi to protect them from flooding. At the square a church, a rectory and a prison were constructed (right where the present day St. Louis Cathedral, Presbytere and Cabildo stand). Along the rest of the streets (Bienville to Ursulines, the river to Dauphine) residences were built in primarily the French Colonial style: the living quarters raised 8′ off the ground, galleries on all four sides, the floodable ground floor used only for storage. The houses were spread out, with fruit and vegetable gardens between them, not close together like today. The only building left from this era is the Ursuline Convent finished in 1745. The house at 632 Dumaine Street known as Madame John’s Legacy, though built in 1788, represents this French style. The population grew from 470 in 1721 to a stabilized 5000-6000 in the 1760-70s, with the boundaries of the city still the same as the original Vieux Carré grid.


A Creole Cottage

A Creole Cottage

1788 – FIRE! Almost the whole French Quarter burned down, over 850 structures, including the St. Louis Church, the rectory, the prison and other government buildings. In the rebuilding process Spanish and Caribbean architecture was introduced, in particular the Creole cottage and Creole townhouse styles. These new residences were built close together with only narrow passageways or carriageways between them. Creole houses did not have interior hallways, so these passageways were the main entrance to the property, leading to secluded courtyards behind the houses where other smaller buildings usually stood, such as kitchens, stables and quarters for teenage boys and domestic help. The courtyards themselves were convenient private spaces for everyday living, for cooking, washing, keeping chickens and the like. This Creole style remained popular through the 1830s. Other Spanish building and rebuilding efforts included a number of stately mansions, a new St. Louis Church, the Presbytere and Cabildo (both still intact), and a palisade with moat and five forts surrounding the Vieux Carré, which only lasted about ten years. Also in 1788, the City of New Orleans officially expanded beyond the French Quarter for the first time: Faubourg St. Mary (now the CBD) was established and the old cemetery at Burgundy and St. Peter was moved across Basin Street (now known as St. Louis Cemetery No. 1).

1794 – Another FIRE! It wiped out the area from Canal Street to Orleans and from the river to Bourbon Street. The Spanish then introduced building codes requiring the use of brick, tile and slate.

1803 – The United States purchased Louisiana and overnight Americans began flooding the city. The overall city population soared from 7000 in 1803 to 24,000 in 1810, to 46,000 in 1830, to over 116,000 in 1850. The French/Creole residents of the Vieux Carré resisted these “foreigners” who spoke a different language (English). The Americans ended up settling across Canal Street in Faubourg St. Mary and the Lower Garden District, which became known as the “American Sector” or “American Quarter.” A competition between the two groups began on many levels.

1830s – This decade brought the French Quarter to its peak of prosperity. Thanks to cotton and sugar, New Orleans became one of the richest, fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Although the “American Sector” was developing rapidly, the French Quarter was still the center of retail trade (along Chartres) and banking (along Royal). Large houses were still being built, such as the Beauregard House in 1826 and the Hermann-Grima House in 1831. Bourbon Street was lined with several elegant mansions and was considered one of the most fashionable residential streets in the city.

A Victorian Shotgun

A Victorian Shotgun

1840s – The Americans began to win in their rivalry with the French/Creoles, and with that the decline of the French Quarter began. Large stores moved to Canal Street, banks moved out of the quarter to Camp Street, and the Garden District became more fashionable than Bourbon Street. A new house style was introduced: the American townhouse, featuring interior hallways and stairways. Greek Revival and Italianate architectural details were becoming popular across America and were often applied to the facades of these townhouses. This decline continued for the rest of the 1800s and into the 1900s. New Orleans as a whole also began to decline, partly due to the ravages of yellow fever epidemics in the 1850s and the Civil War in the 1860s. In the late 1800s industrialization came to New Orleans, and in the French Quarter structures close to the river turned into warehouses, sugar refineries, rice mills, breweries and saw mills. Many beautiful large residences turned into laundries, small factories and rooming houses for the workers. Even the lovely historic Beauregard House had become a wine warehouse by the early 1900s. A smaller house style was used in the 1870-90s: the shotgun, which was one-room wide and three to six rooms deep, usually constructed of wood, a departure from the brick and masonry of earlier styles.

1950‘s – After World War II the French Quarter began to change rapidly. It soon became a battleground between developers and preservationists, which has continued to this day. On one side, developers have come in, attempting to demolish old structures in the name of “progress,” e.g. the plan to build an expressway along the riverfront. Although that plan was defeated after a ten-year battle, many old buildings have unfortunately been torn down elsewhere in the quarter. On the other side, preservationists have succeeded in obtaining “National Historic Landmark” status for the Vieux Carré, which has created a means of helping to preserve it. Lovely old residences, which had become rooming houses and warehouses, have been restored to their original charm and single-family status.

Today – Restoring the beauty of the quarter, making it safe and fun for visitors, has created a great interest in tourism. However, recently the commercial development has gone too far in that direction. Now many large residences and mansions are being sub-divided yet again, this time into condos primarily for out-of-town vacationers. Hotel expansion, though helpful for the tourists, has diminished some of the original character. The residential population has dropped from 11,000 in 1940 to 4000 in 2000.<

The chance for visitors to get to see this living treasure is wonderful. However, there must be a way to accommodate both the tourist AND the attraction. By now most of the original French families, the Italian and Sicilian families, the artists and writers have left, largely due to rising rent and real estate costs. That leaves the preservationists and those admirers who appreciate the historical quality of the Quarter to take charge of its future.

Analysis of CM Ramsey’s amendments to the recently passed CZO

As many of you know, CM Nadine Ramsey introduced a package of amendments to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance the same day (May 14th) that the CZO itself was up for a vote by the City Council. The last-minute timing of the introduction did not allow the public the chance to read and digest, or make fully-informed comments on the proposed amendments.

Now, however, we, along with many other citizens, organizations and land use and zoning experts, have had a chance to carefully review, research and analyze these technically-worded amendments. Below is that plain-language analysis, along with the implications not just for the French Quarter, but for the entire city.

To reiterate, these changes are not limited to the Quarter, but would change the land use rules for bars, restaurants and nightclubs citywide.

City Council action on these amendments has now been deferred twice, so the likely date for a vote is Thursday, August 20. We will keep you informed as the date draws near.



A series of amendments proposed by District C Council member Nadine Ramsey would have profound effects not just on the French Quarter, but all neighborhoods of the city.

In the French Quarter, these amendments would:

Allow entertainment outdoors in courtyards

Allow the creation of numerous new entertainment venues and of a new de facto entertainment zone along the riverfront

CITYWIDE, these amendments would:

Remove requirements for alcoholic beverage outlet (ABO) applicants to provide noise, security and operations plans

Remove requirements for ABO applicants to disclose proximity of churches, schools and playgrounds

Lift limitations on “holding bars” which would make it easier for restaurants to morph into bars

Remove the requirement that entertainment venues keep their doors and windows closed during performances to contain noise overflow

Allow all standard restaurants to become package liquor stores

A cursory read of these amendments reveals several individual problems. But when taken together, it is clear that the cumulative effect would drastically alter the delicate balance of businesses coexisting within New Orleans neighborhoods by allowing the proliferation and expansion of alcoholic beverage outlets and entertainment venues without adequate public input or review.

NOTE: The amendments are titled according to their author’s initials; hence, CM Ramsey’s amendments are NMR followed by a number.


French Quarter-only

Would allow live entertainment in all restaurants in the French Quarter.

In the new CZO, “musical accompaniment” is allowed in restaurants citywide with the exception of the French Quarter. The rationale for that exemption was the fact that the Quarter already has the highest concentration of entertainment venues in the entire city. Combined with the fact that there are many other uses in the French Quarter neighborhood, business and well as residential, the CZO’s new regulations are an acknowledgement that further expansion of entertainment venues could harm the delicate balance that is part of the value and appeal of the Vieux Carré. As the City Planning staff noted in their report, “Given the amount of existing live entertainment in the French Quarter and the potential conflict with nearby residents, the staff does not support permitting musical accompaniment at restaurants in all Vieux Carré districts.”

NMR 17 (Section VII)

French Quarter-only

Would allow live and recorded entertainment in French Quarter courtyards

Currently, entertainment is prohibited in Quarter courtyards. The reason is simple: these open-air areas by their nature offer no means of containing sound. Given the built environment of the French Quarter, with buildings sharing walls and commercial and residential uses often abutting each other, allowing sound in courtyards would mean adjoining uses would receive that sound, whether they liked it or not. It could also lead to “sound wars” between neighboring venues who are trying to drown out the entertainment from the courtyard next door. No studies have been done to assess the impact of this proposed change, or to the potential detrimental impact to neighboring owners and occupants, who must often share multiple common walls. Furthermore, the wording of the amendment would allow entertainment venues to pop up in nearly every zoning district in the Quarter, whereas entertainment is currently allowed only in the VCE districts (parts of Bourbon Street and the area around House of Blues). Allowing entertainment in courtyards would be disastrous for the French Quarter, harming the viability not just of residences but of many businesses as well. The economic impacts would be felt across the city.

French Quarter sound map

Graphic showing potential sonic footprints of French Quarter bars, restaurants and nightclubs with open doors and windows and/or entertainment in courtyards if NMR-17 is passed. The circles have radii of 200’, reflecting the distance that acoustician David Woolworth estimates sound travels before attenuating 20 dBs. (Bass sounds only attenuate 13 dBs in the same distance.) In other words, if the decibel level at the source is 90 dBs, at 200 feet away, it will be 70 dBs.



Would change the definition of “restaurant, standard”

Currently, sales of alcohol at all New Orleans restaurants must be incidental to sales of food. That means an establishment has to be selling food while it is offering alcohol. The proposed amendment would do away with this language and use only the standard of 50% +1 of sales coming from food. That may sound like a minor distinction, but imagine a restaurant that does a bustling lunch business, and then closes the kitchen in the evening and operates as a bar. Without the “incidental” language, there would be nothing to prevent that from happening.

NMR-17 Part- VII Art. 20, Sec. 20.3G 1


Would delete requirements for ABO applicants to provide noise, security and operations plans

Would delete requirements for ABO applicants to disclose proximity of churches, schools and playgrounds

Two of the most common complaints about ABOs have to do with noise and safety. Recognizing these potential negative impacts on surrounding land uses, the new CZO seeks to head off problems by requiring such establishments to provide written plans for security and operations, as well as noise abatement. Part of NMR-17 would delete these reasonable and neighborhood-friendly requirements.

Another portion of NMR-17 would delete the following language: “Bars shall submit a summary of the number and location of places of worship, educational facilities, and parks and playgrounds within three hundred feet of the proposed locations.” The impact of that deletion would be far-reaching. The language in the new CZO is written to preempt or mitigate the possible detrimental effect and impact of alcoholic beverage outlets (bars, package liquor stores, entertainment venues) on churches, schools, parks and playgrounds. As has been the rule in the previous CZO, the new CZO makes it the responsibility of the applicant to supply information on such uses within 300’ of the proposed ABO. NMR-17 would shift that burden to city staffers, which would stretch CPC staff further, and more importantly, shift the liability for errors from the applicant to the city.

NMR-17 Part 6 (VII 20.3.ZZ .6)


Would remove the maximum square footage requirement for holding bars

Currently, there are two means of ensuring that restaurants don’t morph into bars. The first is that over 50%+1 of the revenue must come from food. The second puts a square footage limit on the size of holding bars (small bars in restaurants that “hold” patrons waiting to be seated), and allows their operation only when the kitchen is open. The size of holding bars under the old and new CZO are capped at 15% of the floor area of the public seating area, and an overall limit of 300 sq. ft. NMR-17 would delete the size limit on holding bars entirely. The City Planning Commission staff, in its analysis, calls this a “loophole” and says, “The staff believes that without a concrete standard in which to differentiate bars and restaurants, a loophole exists for restaurants to morph into bars.”

In conjunction with NMR-16, which changes the definition of restaurants so that liquor service is not tied to food service, this amendment would greatly increase the potential for restaurants to operate as bars.

NMR -17 20.3.ZZ.4


Would allow entertainment venues to leave doors and windows open during performances

There are many examples of entertainment venues coexisting peacefully with neighbors. In almost every case, these venues ensure that sound stays inside. The CZO codifies this “good neighbor” policy by requiring that any venue offering entertainment must have its doors and windows closed during performances. This is particularly important considering that under the new CZO, restaurants citywide* will be able to offer “musical accompaniment.” The rule now becomes important not just for existing live entertainment venues, but for many restaurants as well. NMR-17 would delete the closed-door-and-window policy, which would remove an important protection for the balance of residential and commercial use in New Orleans neighborhoods. City Planning staff objected, noting that “deleting this requirement would allow for any live entertainment venue to have its doors and windows open to the street which could impact adjacent uses.”

*with the exception of the French Quarter, although that exception would be deleted if NMR-14 is passed.

NMR-12 Art. 20.3ZZ.5


Would allow standard restaurants to sell package liquor

Currently, package liquor sales are limited to certain zoning districts and are highly regulated because of the often-negative impacts that these outlets can have on surrounding areas. This amendment would allow every standard restaurant in New Orleans to become a package liquor outlet.

The wording is as follows: “restaurant, standard, which may sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises or which may sell alcoholic beverages for consumption off-premises when sold in conjunction with meals to go.” However, there is no definition or standards for “in conjunction with meals to go.” In the past, the city and the courts have interpreted the zoning code broadly, which could allow any restaurant that offers take-out food to sell packaged liquor to anyone. The lack of clarity in this amendment extends to the question of enforcement, which already bedevils neighbors, neighborhood groups, and governmental agencies seeking to reign in problem ABOs.

The City Planning Commission staff recommended against this amendment, saying that “the sale of alcoholic beverages at restaurants in conjunction with meals to go is regulated by Chapter 10 of the City Code. The Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance should not imply that something is allowed that might be in conflict with City Code.

Armstrong Park

Armstrong Park is open daily to the public and is a lovely place for a picnic or a stroll.

Bike Share – A Petition to keep bike stations on the PERIMETER of the French Quarter

Bike Share Program

The City of New Orleans, is developing a Bike Share Program set to kick off in autumn 2017. SoBi, an out-of-state company, has been awarded the contract and will be permitted to use public streets, free of charge, to install bike rental stations s throughout the city, including the French Quarter.  French Quarter Citizens is opposed to any Bike Share stations, advertising, kiosks or Bike Share parking in the interior of the French Quarter, from the riverside of N. Peters and Decatur to the Lakeside of N. Rampart , and from the downriver side of  Canal St. to the downriver side of Esplanade Ave. 


Find out more and sign the petition:

Call 911. Really! It’s Important

During NOPD’s end of year budget hearings, it was reported that, compared to other police districts, the 8th District has a low percentage of 911 calls.

As a consequence, the 8th District’s budget was cut because its needs were not perceived to be as great as those of other NOPD districts.

To provide a more accurate reflection of the 8th District’s resource needs, if you observe or experience any activity in the 8th District that merits a 911 call, please report the situation to 911 instead of looking the other way.

Call to Action! Take Pictures of Tourists!

FQMD Vice-Chair Kim Rosenberg has put out a call for action to all French Quarter Residents as part of efforts to improve our sanitation services.

We need visual proof that a significant number of tourists go throughout the Quarter on tours and on their own. This is important in order to show that it is in the City’s best interest to provide improved sanitation services throughout the Quarter because tourists are everywhere in the Quarter.

Please photograph tourists in the residential sections of the Quarter. For this purpose, “residential sections” are all areas of the Quarter not included in the section bounded by Canal, Bourbon, St Ann, and Decatur/N. Peters Streets.

Examples of tourist activities include:

  • Haunted House tours on Dauphine or Governor Nicholls Streets.
  • Segway tours on Burgundy Street.
  • Carriages on Barracks Street.
  • Crowds spilling into street at Lafitte Blacksmith’s Shop.
  • Bike tours on Dauphine.
  • Carriages stopped at Lafitte Blacksmith’s Shop and the Corn Stalk Inn.
  • Tourists wandering through the Lower Quarter with Hand Grenades.
  • Packs of tourists wearing team colors in the Lower Quarter (or on Dauphine or Burgundy).
  • Tourists using the sidewalk or street in lieu of a restroom.

Please send your photos to Kim Rosenberg at

Carol Gniady new Executive Director

French Quarter Citizens is proud to introduce our new Executive Director, Carol Gniady. Carol is a native New Orleanian who has a proven record of effective non-profit management. Click here for the remainder of her bio.

Catherine Hill

Catherine Hill, PhD, moved to the French Quarter 13 years ago. Her career in healthcare took her to many places across the US but when she arrived in New Orleans, she decided to make it her home. It was the history, beauty, charm and sense of community that shaped her decision. Catherine served on the French Quarter Citizens Board from 2009 through 2012. She held the position of Treasurer for two years, Secretary for two years, and Co-Chair of the Progressive Dinner for 2011-2012. In August 2013 she was asked to join the Board again as Treasurer through the end of the year. She is the FQC’s representative on the VCC. Catherine is an avid gardener and enjoys life in the French Quarter. Her home on Royal Street which she shares with her three adopted cats provides her with a front seat to the activities of the French Quarter

Check it out! FQC Dinner in the TP

The Times-Picayune has a profile of the site of the 2012 FQC “Progressive” Dinner. The former Cabrini House and home of Dr. Carlos Trujillo and FQC Board Member Brian Drude.

Cherry’s Test Post

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City Planning: project approval process

The city planning process, especially applied to the controversial high-rise at 1031 Canal Street, is much in the news these days. The outcome is uncertain as I write this article, but the debate has highlighted – mostly unfavorably – the often confusing and seemingly overlapping city planning and project approval process. This article will hopefully shed some light on the process and discuss why it’s important.

The key is the Master Plan, which now has the force of law and sets out a vision. It provides a rational, consistent and transparent plan for considering projects and modifications. The Master Plan grew out of public disgust with the traditional New Orleans “kiss the ring” process, especially for important projects, that was highly subjective and politicized. Developers would make an arrangement with the sitting Councilmember, who would engineer Council approval. Laws and legal criteria meant little or nothing. By contrast, the Master Plan prohibits changes inconsistent with the Plan and provides for a rational, once-a-year process for making changes. This process is currently underway, as is the re-writing of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

But even before the Master Plan with the force of law, New Orleans has defined in law the zoning and land use criteria to be applied to guide development and created bodies to review and apply the law. Most of us are familiar with the Vieux CarrE Commission (VCC), which governs exterior modifications and land use in the Louisiana-defined French Quarter. Other bodies also have a say in project approval:

  • The Vieux Carré Commission (VCC), legally a State body, rigorously administers regulations governing uses and exterior building modifications to protect our historic built environment. It is assisted by a professional staff, and advised by an Architecture Committee. Most Quarter residents and property owners are generally familiar with its operations and mandate.
  • The City Planning Commission (CPC), aided by professional city planners, determines whether projects conform to the legal requirements for height, bulk, and other specific dimensions set out in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The CPC has important zoning and land use responsibilities in the French Quarter itself, but plays an even greater role in adjacent areas. In the downriver 100 block of Canal Street (the CBD-3 District), the law mandates the CPC to maintain the scale and height of existing development, foster a sense of historic continuity and protect the adjacent Vieux CarrE from tall buildings on its boundaries. Decision-making criteria more generally require consistency with the Master Plan, compatibility with existing and planned adjoining uses, and the character and integrity of the neighborhood.
  • The Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) reviews projects for consistency with the specific provisions of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and decides whether or not to permit specific exceptions according to established criteria. By law, each request to waive some aspect of the ordinance must meet nine criteria, including several aimed denying exceptions constituting a special favor to one applicant not readily available to others. Provisions also provide that waivers must not be granted to only serve the convenience or profit of the owner, but must address a demonstrable hardship (not just convenience) nor alter the essential character of a locality, be detrimental to the public interest, or injure other affected property owners.
  • The Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) is divided into the CBD HDLC and the NO HDLC. Each commission is aided by an Architectural Review Committee which evaluates projects in the fourteen historic districts outside of the French Quarter. Their new, award winning, Design Guidelines contain the standards adopted by the Commission to ensure that work under their jurisdiction such as new construction, exterior alteration, signage and demolition achieves the broader goals of the Code of Ordinancs for Historic Preservation in New Orleans.
  • The City Council must approve CPC decisions, and the decisions of other boards and commissions may be challenged in court and/or overruled by the Council. The Council has no separate expert staff and no specific criteria for evaluating projects.

Rigorously and professionally applied, the separate mandates of the various boards and commissions ensure that the major elements of a project are each reviewed for consistency with the law. This process becomes arbitrary and capricious only when the boards and commissions, and individual commissioners, fail to respect the mandates established by law. This is signally the situation in the 1031 Canal Street case. Can anyone rationally argue that a 205 foot building “protect(s) the adjacent Vieux CarrE from tall buildings on its boundaries,” the test established by law? Or that the “general design, scale, gross volume, arrangement of the site plan, texture, material, and exterior architectural features” is “in harmony with its surroundings”? The issue, thus, is not that the process is fundamentally flawed but that appointed commissioners and board members fail to respect and apply the scope and limits defined in law.

It’s important. French Quarter Citizens and community advocates across the city look to application and enforcement of the laws to help protect our neighborhoods. We lack the deep pockets and political connections of developers, and their access to legal resources and paid staffs. Law and rational city planning criteria are thus our shield, and often our only resort. The laws and process are basically good, but too often we have been failed by the people appointed and elected to represent and safeguard our interests and our quality of life. French Quarter Citizens is deeply engaged in zoning and land use within the Quarter and on our borders because we have to * no one else is going to do it.

The French Quarter is listed on the National Register of Historic Places to include the 100 block downriver of Canal Street. Louisiana law excludes this block from VCC jurisdiction.

CoCo Garrett

CoCo Garrett was raised in Shreveport, LA, but maintains roots in New Orleans from her maternal side of the family. She graduated from Loretto Heights College, Denver, CO and returned to Shreveport and lived there until 1985 when a job opportunity initiated a move to Chicago. After 11 years of working in the franchise consulting business, a new marriage with a relocation to Idaho brought a new perspective to the term “rural”! In 2002 a move to New Orleans and the French Quarter introduced her to a life she had never envisioned. She feels that this experience has truly been the best! The most interesting and diverse group of people live here as one big family. Getting involved with FQC in 2006 was the beginning of a new era in her life of volunteering. She served as President in 2008 and 2009, Vice President in 2010 and 2011, and she chaired the Progressive Dinner one year. She has enjoyed trying to help with all the issues the residents face while living in the heart of the City. While the work will never be done, it is worth the effort to try and improve it “brick by brick.”

Congratulations to our 2015 Board of Directors and Officers!

The following slate of Officers for 2015 was voted on and approved at the regularly scheduled French Quarter Citizens, Inc. Board of Directors Meeting on Monday, January 12, 2015.

President: Susan Guillot

Vice President: Rodney Villarreal

Secretary: Angela Bowlin

Treasurer: Gary Wheat

The 2015 French Quarter Citizens Board of Directors follows, including Committee chairs.

  • Glade Bilby, Communications
  • Angela Bowlin, Co-chair, Fund Raising
  • Gail Cavett, Planning and Historic Preservation
  • René Fransen, Membership
  • Susan Guillot
  • Chad Pellerin, Legislative Affairs
  • Rodney Villarreal, Co-chair, Fund Raising
  • Gary Wheat, Budget and Fiscal Affairs
  • Rob White, Legal

View bios

Council defers vote on NOLA Patrol (videos)

Local news coverage regarding the deferred City Council action on adopting NOLA Patrols.

Fox 8

FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports



Council delays vote on Civilian Patrol

Crime Cameras In French Quarter – Video – WDSU New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — A nonprofit group wants to add more cameras to the French Quarter to make the streets safer, but some preservationists are against it.

More and more businesses are using technology to help curb violence. In Marigny, a number of businesses have jumped on board and installed surveillance cameras.

“I think that it’s important for us to have the cameras for both our employees and for our customers to feel safe,” said Kina Joshua-Jasmine, of Café Rose Nicaud.

The devices were installed with the financial assistance from ProjectNOLA. Its executive director, Bryan Lagarde, said the nonprofit agency has set up 52 cameras in high crime areas across the city, except for the French Quarter.

A preservationist group, the Vieux Carre Commission, refused to give ProjectNOLA a permit to install surveillance cameras in the French Quarter.

“At one point, they said they didn’t like the mount. It didn’t look historic enough for them, and other times, they said, ‘We don’t like the entire camera,'” Lagarde said. “When you walk around the French Quarter, our cameras are actually smaller than most any other cameras.”

Read more:

CZO Public Meeting Announcement: Once in a generation, we get this right, or we blow it.

Right now, literally once-in-a-generation decisions are being made at City Hall – yet too many citizens are tuned out. Because they think it’s, uh, well, boring.

I refer to the “CZO” – the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, part of New Orleans’ broader master planning process.

What is the CZO? Think of it like the DNA of our city. What activities should be permitted on YOUR block? How darn-big should buildings in YOUR neighborhood be? You think you know what a restaurant is, but it’s not always obvious: Can it be a neighborhood joint that mostly sells liquor and has live entertainment late into the night? Just as your DNA dictates most of what you will look like and important aspects of your future , it’s the same for the CZO for our beloved city.

I’ve lived in New Orleans over 30 years. The last time we re-wrote New Orleans’ CZO was before I was here. This is a rare occurrence. We dare not get this wrong. Yet, multiple neighborhood leaders fear we are indeed on the verge of getting it wrong. Perhaps, dreadfully wrong. If we do, there’s a good chance you won’t like how New Orleans will change.

But, it’s not too late. Please come to this presentation & public meeting to learn more. Bring your neighbors. I promise you: It will NOT be boring…

Multi-Neighborhood Public Meeting: featuring 4 ways we must FIX THE CZO

7 p.m., this Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Holy Angles Convent, 3500 St. Claude Avenue (at Gallier Street)
Ample free parking available
Hosted by the Riverfront Alliance, a coalition of six New Orleans neighborhood organizations

Does This Pass the Sniff Test? No.

FQC Board Member and co-chair of the FQMD Sanitation Task Force Brian Furness reports that solar-powered compacting trash cans (as reported last week) will not be coming to NOLA any time soon. It seems the City decided the program would cost too much.

February 19, 2014 Appreciation Dinner Photos

The Appreciation Dinner for yearend appeal was held Wednesday, February 19th at the home of CoCo Garrett.

FQC Endorses NOLA Patrols and the FQ Improvement Fund


We’ve waited an awfully long time for action on some of the most crucial quality of life issues facing the French Quarter. With little enforcement of existing laws, codes and regulations violations have run rampant in our neighborhood, allowing for a continuum of bad practices and brazen scofflaws whether it’s problems with trash, panhandlers, oversized buses on our streets, merchants not following the rules, and zoning non-compliance. Now, FQC and others are supporting a City Ordinance that funds NOLA Patrol and the French Quarter Improvement Fund, which we hope will bring much needed change.

As most of you are aware, in 2013, the Louisiana Legislature authorized hotels in New Orleans to add a voluntary 1.75% assessment to hotel bills at participating hotels. Of that, 1.5% was slated to be split evenly between New Orleans Tourist and Marketing Corporation and the Convention and Visitors Bureau for marketing purposes, with 0.25% going to the City for services for the French Quarter. Monies have been collected and now an Ordinance has been submitted to City Council which creates a new French Quarter Improvement Fund for the receipt and accounting of the contributions to the City of New Orleans from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB). The money allocated for the French Quarter would be governed via a multi-year Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the NOCVB, which must be approved by City Council.

Although the CEA is still pending, the City Council will vote on the Ordinance establishing the French Quarter Improvement Fund on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Pursuant to the Ordinance, these funds will be used only for the following repairs and improvement: Public safety and law enforcement;

  1. Quality of life enforcement measures, code enforcement measures, and violation identification, ticketing and court measures relative to ordinance compliance;
  2. Sanitation;
  3. Infrastructure repair or improvements; and
  4. Historic lighting

The quality of life enforcement measures will include the creation of NOLA Patrol, a new initiative to enhance the New Orleans Police Department’s presence and effectiveness in the French Quarter (click here for the Fact Sheet with additional information). NOLA Patrol officers will be able to respond to non-emergency calls for service, quality of life complaints, and City code violations. They will also be able to enforce taxicab and “for hire” vehicle laws, city ordinances, and zoning ordinances. Board members of FQC met with the Office of the Mayor to discuss the proposed Ordinance, and the benefits to the French Quarter. Following additional discussion at FQC October Board meeting, the Board of Directors voted to endorse the plan as set forth by the City and the NOCVB.

This is great news for the French Quarter and we are looking forward to addressing, at long last, many of the quality of life and infrastructure issues confronted by French Quarter residents and visitors. FQC will keep you updated as more information is available.

FQC Endorses the EDD for Public Safety

French Quarter Citizens Members

Crime is the worst problem facing us in the French Quarter today. October 24th will be a VERY IMPORTANT DAY! It is the day registered voters who reside and vote in the French Quarter are being asked to cast their vote on the creation of an Economic Development District (EDD) that will create funds for hiring State Police to patrol the French Quarter. Here are the most important things to know about the EDD:

  • The funds will be created by a sales tax levied on goods sold in the French Quarter, NOT a property tax.
  • The funds generated from the sales tax will be used to form a French Quarter Economic Development District in order to fund full-time Louisiana State Police trooper patrols in the French Quarter for the next five years.
  • The sales tax equates to .2495% of 1 penny (¼ of 1¢). This means that for every $100 spent in the French Quarter, visitors and residents will be taxed only an additional 25¢.
  • Nine million tourists spend money in the French Quarter each year which is calculated to generate $2,000,000 each year for public safety.
  • If voters pass the EDD, the hospitality industry will contribute matching funds of $2,000,000 per year, along with the City of New Orleans which will contribute $500,000 per year. This equates to a total of $4.5 million dollars which will support a minimum of 30 full time State Troopers. Without all of these funds, the State Troopers presence will not be possible.

The EDD will be governed by a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement which has been signed by the City and the Office of the State Troopers: The CEA contains the following agreements:

  • The money generated by the sales will stay in the District and be used in the District which includes the French Quarter, Armstrong Park and one row of properties in the Marigny on the Lake Side of Esplanade. This is consistent with the French Quarter Management District boundaries.
  • No supplanting. NOPD officers will not be taken out of the French Quarter and replaced with State Troopers. The State Troopers will be in addition to the current NOPD officers.
  • Sunset Provision. The EDD sales tax will expire in 5 years on January 1, 2021, at which time, another vote of the FQ residents is required to renew the sales tax.




FQC News: Jan 18, 2013 Edition

FQC eWrite
Jan. 18, 2013
Banner Image
FQC Goals – 2013
FQC LInda Malin shares the goals the Board established at their January meeting.

During the Board orientation meeting this last Saturday, each Board Committee discussed and set its principal objectives for 2013, which I outline below. I want to share these with the FQC Members and ask you for your review of and comment on those objectives. We encourage you to become involved in FQC activities to the full extent you wish to do so. Please contact me directly with comments and let me know what you would like to become involved in by writing me at president@

Budget and Fiscal Affairs – Increase fund raising proceeds to $100,000


  • Make the Website a valuable/live asset for FQC.
  • Continue to maintain the momentum of/improve the eWrite.


  • Establish and improve lines of communication with outside counsel and counsel for VCPORA.
  • Strive for early identification of legal issues affecting French Quarter and FQC.
  • Work with e-write to educate FQC members on legal issues affecting French Quarter and FQC.

Legislative Committee

  • Promote better relationships with state and city leaders and their staffs.
  • Begin supporting policies and legislation that we are for rather than just opposing what we are against. For instance, the FQC Board just voted support for Mayor Landrieu’s modest request to fund streetlight repairs with a small increase in Entergy’s franchise fee (averages about $2 or $3 per month).
  • Host council and legislative staff to “meet and greet” the FQC Board and officers.
  • Continue to invite politicians to speak at quarterly membership meetings.
  • Continue to support an alliance of French Quarter entities on important issues such as the hospitality zone.
  • Form Joint VCPORA-FQC Legislative Committee to examine state legislation and take appropriate action.
  • Draft positive legislation for consideration at the next session on important FQ issues.


  • Increase membership by 25%.
  • Maintain a “Ready-to-Act” list of member volunteers who will quickly join together and act in areas requiring quick action.

Planning and Historic Preservation

  • Work with VCC, VCPORA and FQMD in setting long term vision and related objectives.
  • Monitor and effect best outcome for text and maps on new (Comprehensive Zoning Ordinances (CZOs).
  • Expand Committee with other volunteers, of spin off with other committees.
  • Work with VCC and VCC Foundation in publication of French Quarter Historical Preservation Guidelines.
  • Obtain member volunteers to attend important meetings of all VCC activities.
Quality of Life
  • Press for sound controls promoting French Quarter residential quality of life while sensitive to New Orleans’s cultural heritage in conjunction with other French Quarter organizations.
  • Support more intensive sanitation and trash collection services, and have enacted and implemented initiatives aimed at current problems, including large-animal waste, roll carts, and commercial trash collection.
  • Implement a pro-active campaign against illegal short-term rentals.
  • Strengthen enforcement of quality of life ordinances in the French Quarter.
  • Strengthen the FQC Quality of Life Committee, including through participation in the efforts of other French Quarter organizations.
FQC Relationship with FQMD
French Quarter Management District represents a unique opportunity for long term improvement in the quality of life in the French Quarter. The FQMD is an institution founded by the State that cuts across many FQC issues and committees. Many, but not all, of these issues are covered by the FQC Quality of Life Committee.FQC has a unique opportunity to increase its effectiveness in the quality of life area because FQC’s representative on FQMD is Brian Furness, a Director and past President of FQC and present Co-Chairman of the FQMD Sanitation Task Force, along with Robert Watters, the current President of FQMD. Brian reports directly to the President of FQC, insuring a highly effective relationship between FQC and FQMD.Brian and I plan to work, together with FQC’s Quality of Life Task Force, to insure that FQC plays an active role in helping FQMD set and implement FQMD’s quality of life objectives and promote an active FQMD role in the enforcement of quality of life issues.Vice President

  • Attend the biweekly city of New Orleans city council meetings.
  • Member of the FQMD security task force.
Call to Action! Take Pictures of Tourists
FQMD Vice-Chair Kim Rosenberg has put out a call for action to all French Quarter Residents as part of efforts to improve our sanitation services.
We need visual proof that a significant number of tourists go throughout the Quarter on tours and on their own. This is important in order to show that it is in the City’s best interest to provide improved sanitation services throughout the Quarter because tourists are everywhere in the Quarter.

Please photograph tourists in the residential sections of the Quarter. For this purpose, “residential sections” are all areas of the Quarter not included in the section bounded by Canal, Bourbon, St Ann, and Decatur/N. Peters Streets.

Examples of tourist activities include:
  • Haunted House tours on Dauphine or Governor Nicholls Streets.
  • Segway tours on Burgundy Street.
  • Carriages on Barracks Street.
  • Crowds spilling into street at Lafitte Blacksmith’s Shop.
  • Bike tours on Dauphine.
  • Carriages stopped at Lafitte Blacksmith’s Shop and the Corn Stalk Inn.
  • Tourists wandering through the Lower Quarter with Hand Grenades.
  • Packs of tourists wearing team colors in the Lower Quarter (or on Dauphine or Burgundy).
  • Tourists using the sidewalk or street in lieu of a restroom.

Please send your photos to Kim Rosenberg at

Quick Links
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E-Write Ideas?
If you have ideas for future articles in this E-blast, please email Gioia Furness Petro at gioia@french
Does This Pass the Sniff Test? No.
FQC Board Member and co-chair of the FQMD Sanitation Task Force Brian Furness reports that solar-powered compacting trash cans (as reported last week) will not be coming to NOLA any time soon. It seems the City decided the program would cost too much.
Call 911
Really! It’s important.

During NOPD’s end of year budget hearings, it was reported that, compared to other police districts, the 8th District has a low percentage of 911 calls.

As a consequence, the 8th District’s budget was cut because its needs were not perceived to be as great as those of other NOPD districts.

To provide a more accurate reflection of the 8th District’s resource needs, if you observe or experience any activity in the 8th District that merits a 911 call, please report the situation to 911 instead of looking the other way.
Check it Out!
The Times-Picayune has a profile of the site of the 2012 FQC “Progressive” Dinner. The former Cabrini House and home of Dr. Carlos Trujillo and FQC Board Member Brian Drude.
Krewe du Vieux
Carnival is here! Krewe du Vieux rolls Saturday, 6:30 pm, starting at Port St. in the Marigny. They will be immediately followed by the Krewe Delusion. Click here for route maps and more.
Super Bowl Closures
The craziness begins!
CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square: Decatur Street from Wilkinson Row to Madison will be closed from 12 am-4 am on the following days:
  • Tuesday, January 15
  • Wednesday, January 16
  • Thursday, January 17
  • Tuesday, February 5
  • Wednesday, February 6
The closures will also affect the horse carriages along Decatur Street. They are preparing to be relocated on the following days:
  • January 14-16, 2013
  • January 21-22, 2013
  • February 4-5, 2013
The current crew hours for broadcasts and/or taping is as follows:
  • Sunday, January 27: 7am – 11pm
  • Monday, January 28: 8:30am-1am
  • Tuesday, January 29: 4am -1am
  • Wednesday, January 30: 6:30am-12:30am
  • Thursday, January 31: 3am-12:30am
  • Friday, February 1: 3am-12:30am
  • Saturday, February 2: 3am-11:30pm
  • Sunday, February 3: 4am-end of day
The CBS main compound will be at the French Market parking lots behind Washington Artillery Park so visitor parking will be limited.
ESPN at Jax Brewery Lots: ESPN will be filming over 120 hours of broadcasts the week of Super Bowl from the Jax Brewery parking lots off Decatur. There will not be any full road closures during the load in period; however, there will be Intermittent Traffic Control administered by the NOPD beginning on Thursday, January 23, at 12:01am until midday to bring large trucks onto the site.
For more information, (includes closure maps, Mardi Gras closures).
Katie Williams of the Film New Orleans office is your contact for film crew issues: (504) 658-0923 (office), (504) 329-0665 (cell),

FQC Quarterly General Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner, Thursday, October 23

French Quarter Citizens Quarterly General Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner will be held Thursday, October 23, 6 – 8 the residence of Karen & Bobby Major, 914 rue Bourbon. Our guest speaker will be NoraAnn Winbush from the Neighborhood Engagement Office (NEO) who will discuss the mission and vision of this program. The newly-elected Board for 2015 will be introduced. Please bring your favorite dish and serving utensil. Preservation-minded neighbors are always welcome.

Gail Cavett

Gail Cavett grew up in Morgan City, LA, which was like growing up in Mayberry. She was active in high school sports, band, and student activities. She attended LSU in Baton Rouge after which she was a flight attendant for TWA based in New York, where she met and married her former husband, an Entertainment Lawyer in Beverly Hills, California, where she lived until divorcing and returned to Louisiana. Later, Gail took a job in Iran to run an oil service company owned by friends that she had grown up with. She left Iran when the revolution broke out and the Shaw was deposed. She returned to Louisiana and started her own business, La. Gourmet Seafood and Catering, based in Morgan City, which she owned and operated for 25 years. She retired after Katrina. She maintained a part-time residence in the French Quarter for 25 years and has been a full time resident since Katrina. Two years ago she purchased her new home, the Antoine Cruzat House, at 1009 St. Louis Street. Last year she received the FQBA Ambassador Award for volunteer work in the Quarter. Currently she chairs the French Quarter Management District Infrastructure Committee, working on initiatives that include the On-Street Bike Corral Pilot Program for the FQ, the development of a Comprehensive Transportation Plan for the FQ, and the FQBA-inspired Vieux Carré Graffiti Abatement Program.

General Meeting

Join FQC for their next General Membership Potluck meeting!  Date, Time and Location soon to be announced. Bring a friend to introduce them to the FQC members!

Get Well Wishes

Past Board member, Sandra Callender, is on the mend due to a fall while walking the streets of the French Quarter. We all wish Sandra a speedy recovery!

Graffiti prevention tips from the NOPD

Via Sergeant Jonette Williams, Eighth District Community Coordinator

In recent weeks, members of the 8th District,   acting on information received from community members, have made arrests   in connection with graffiti in the French Quarter. The issue continues   to remain a priority, as officers actively seek individuals committing   this act while on patrol. Below you will find information regarding   preventing and controlling graffiti, authored by Martin E. Weaver.

The following is an excerpt from a Preservation   Brief written for the National Park Service and can be found in its   entirety at :

“Experience shows that prompt removal of graffiti is one of the most effective measures against its recurrence.   Graffiti that is not removed quickly tends to attract more graffiti.   Often motivated by a need to have their work seen, graffitists tend   to be discouraged from repeating their efforts in a location where their   work is quickly removed. Graffiti is less likely to occur if graffitists   can be clearly seen. It is often recommended that accessible, graffiti-prone   areas be illuminated with floodlighting or spotlights. If they are historically   appropriate and compatible with historic property, soft barriers in   the form of low, possibly thorny, shrubs and bushes or other forms of   landscaping and planting may be effective deterrents. Such plantings   can make it difficult to reach the property by any route other than   the approved secure one.”

We ask that citizens continue to remain   vigilant and notify the police of any suspicious activity.

Groups Continue to Urge City to Side With the Law

Preservation and resident groups said they are stunned that the Vieux Carre Commission’s Architectural Committee again granted conceptual approval to Sean Meenan’s controversial restaurant and bar proposal at the most prominent corner of the lower Quarter’s residential district.

These preservation groups said the project still violates the VCC’s own rules as well as constitutional protections afforded a national historic landmark.

Quarter and preservation groups contend the project, though renamed and reconfigured, is still too large a development for the historic area.

“What we continue to fail to understand is why Mr. Meenan is intent on bringing a development way out of scale for this National Historic Landmark, rather than opening a standard restaurant, which would meet city and VCC rules,” said Rene Fransen, a spokesperson for those questioning the development.

It has been nearly a year since Mr. Meenan withdrew plans for a development known as “Habana Outpost”. Habana Outpost is a Brooklyn-style event venue which serves food and alcoholic drinks from open, trailer-style kitchens on disposable plates, regularly hosts neighborhood festivals and flea markets that spill patrons into the streets, and operates from a multi-level, open-air configuration, which sometimes hosts concerts, movies and burlesque shows.

Mr. Meenan’s latest New Orleans “café” proposal remains a two-story, open-air development across multiple lots, which preservationists argue violates zoning rules for the lower residential end of the Quarter just as the original design did. The project’s capacity and intensity has also not been diminished.

Mr. Meenan failed to provide a Fire Marshall report on the new proposal’s capacity and was also not asked to explain why there were significant design differences between drawings provided to residents, the news media and the VCC.

Chain restaurants, like Habana Café, which operates in several cities, are against zoning rules for the lower residential end of the Quarter, and zoning in the historic area prohibits the bundling and consolidation of separate properties into mega-developments. The Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA), French Quarter Citizens, Inc., the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, preservationists and residents have repeatedly urged the VCC to review city laws, zoning ordinances and its own rules when considering the Habana project.

Resident and preservation advocates were stunned that the Architectural Committee gave only cursory review to the new drawings.

Attorney Sonny Shields said, “It is surprising that the Architectural Review Committee which is charged with the protection of the historic charter of the Vieux Carre would allow this excessive use for the quietest part of the Quarter.”

VCPORA’s Executive Director Meg Lousteau said, “We believe – and city ordinances require – that when you decide to do a project within the boundaries of the French Quarter, you must abide by the regulations that have been put in place to safeguard the architecture, the zoning, and the tout ensemble. This precious, tiny, irreplaceable historic neighborhood must be protected, and its long-term health and viability must remain the prime objective of our city?s regulatory agencies.”

Preservationists have reiterated in various public hearings for more than two years that the Meenan concept violates City Zoning Code (Section 8.1), threatening the historic character and value of the Quarter as a unique place of interest.

“What is a bit of a mystery to us is why Sean Meenan should be able to do what the City forbid Mary’s Hardware from doing on Rampart Street,” said Mr. Fransen. “Mary’s was not allowed to combine two properties of record into one. If the zoning code was enforced for that local businessman, why not this one?”

Mr. Meenan purchased three separate properties at the corner of N. Rampart and Esplanade. Two of the properties host buildings which have both commercial and residential uses. The third property housed a former gas station, which has not been cleared by the State of Louisiana as environmentally safe for development as an eatery.

Preservationists have suggested Mr. Meenan limit his café to a restaurant that meets VCC rules, and develop each property separately. Some residents have even offered to buy the properties so that Mr. Meenan could consider relocating his mega-development in another area of the city, where it would be legal.

Preservationists continue to point to Section 134 of the City’s Code of Ordinances and, Section12.3 Article 2 of the City’s Zoning Ordinance as outlawing the Meenan Habana concept.

KIPP McDonogh 15 News

If you are interested in reading to students to help raise their reading and comprehension levels, please contact Leslie Perrin at


Krewe du Vieux

Carnival is here! Krewe du Vieux rolls Saturday, 6:30 pm, starting at Port St. in the Marigny. They will be immediately followed by the Krewe Delusion. Click here for route maps and more.

Letter to Mitch Landrieu – Return State Police to New Orleans

view PDF version

December 31, 2014

Sent via email & USPS

The Honorable Mitch Landrieu
Mayor City of New Orleans
1300 Perdido Street – 2nd Floor
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

On behalf of the board of French Quarter Citizens, Inc., I am writing to urge you to request the return of the Louisiana State Police to New Orleans in an effort to enhance the police presence in the French Quarter and the City at large. Furthermore, the protection needs to extend throughout the Quarter beyond the confines of Bourbon Street. Many residents of the French Quarter are afraid to leave their homes. The recent rash of violent crimes is taking place throughout the neighborhood, not solely on Bourbon Street, and is severely impacting our quality of life. Ultimately, this crime wave will negatively impact the tourism industry that feeds city and state coffers.

We applaud the fine work of the New Orleans Police Department, however, we don’t have enough “boots on the ground” to deter crime and keep our neighborhoods safe. While we appreciate the efforts to recruit new officers and build the police force, something needs to be done in the interim while new officers are recruited and trained for duty. Before another violent crime occurs, we again urge you to immediately request the return of the State Police to help protect our residents and visitors from further harm. Thank you!

Most sincerely,

CoCo Garrett

CC: City Council Members FQC Board of Directors FQC Membership

Mary’s Ace Open

Mary’s Ace Hardware, located in the 700 block of North Rampart is open!  They offer Benjamin Moore paints, top of the line house wares, hardware, building supplies and more, with plenty of expert advice.  Drop by to peruse the goodies that Mary’s has to offer.

Mary’s Ace Open

Mary’s Ace Hardware provides French Quarter residents a wonderful selection of hardware, tools, top of the line housewares and gifts! Stop by and peruse the two floors. You won’t eave empty handed!

Message from the President – 2015 – Susan Guillot

It is with honor and excitement that I address you as the incoming President of French Quarter Citizens for 2015. However, I accept this honor with great humility, knowing that I have very big shoes to fill. Our outgoing President, CoCo Garrett has worked tirelessly with our organization for nearly ten years, four of which she served as our Board President. We appreciate the enormous time and effort she has put towards furthering the goals of our organization, while steering us through some rough waters, and bringing us out on the other side, stronger than ever. She will indeed be a hard act to follow. Please join me in wishing her all the best.

As many of you know, French Quarter Citizens hired Carol Gniady, as our new Executive Director last fall. Those of you who have not met her yet will have an opportunity to meet her at the French Quarter Citizens pot luck in March. Please make a point to introduce yourself. Carol has already proven herself to be a great addition to our organization and her presence allows us to expand our efforts to preserve the quality of life in the Vieux Carré, and preserve its historical character as never before. The entire Board of Directors and I look forward to working with her this year.

Many of the issues and challenges we faced in 2014 are following us into 2015. As you are aware, the number of violent crimes perpetrated against our residents and visitors has reached epidemic proportions. For that reason, crime continues to be our number one priority and we continue to work with the Office of the Mayor, the City Council, various commercial entities, and other FQ organizations to find a workable plan that will put more police officers on the streets. And that means not only on Bourbon Street, but in the residential areas of the French Quarter as well. NOLA Patrol, one of the City’s initiatives to put more trained eyes and ears in our residential areas is scheduled to begin in March. Other options are being discussed as well and we will keep you informed as details become available.

As you may know, the Proposed Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance will be voted on in the coming months. The proposed ordinance represents the culmination of over five years and thousands of hours of collaborative work on the part of residents, neighborhood organizations and our elected representatives to overhaul the city’s zoning. However, along with many regulations that will protect and enhance our neighborhoods, the proposed ordinance also contains several issues which will have negative effects. We are working to correct this by advocating to 1) reinstate language into the CZO which gives the Vieux Carré Commission the authority to protect the historic character of the French Quarter, 2) Remove language which allows greater height and density in new building construction in historic areas, and 3) remove language which allows any restaurants to have expanded hours, and live music. A “Fix the CZO” Public Meeting will be held on these and other issues in the CZO this Thursday, January 29, 6 p.m., at Holy Angels, 3500 St. Claude Avenue, and I encourage you to attend and make your voice heard.

Short Term Rentals is another issue that is severely impacting the quality of life in the French Quarter. Although renting property out to visitors for a weekend or a festival seems innocent enough on the surface, many property owners who engage in short term rentals do not reside on site, and there is no accountability when short term renters become rowdy and destructive. Furthermore, many owners have decided to make their properties available as a short term rental on a full time basis, rather than on the rare occasion. We’re not talking about someone renting out their spare room every now and then. Apartments and condos stay empty during the week, contributing to a ghost town effect, bereft of residents and neighbors, while simultaneously raising rents and creating a shortage of affordable housing. The negative impact is causing many residents and small businesses alike to leave the quarter. FQC is part of a Short Term Rental Committee that is working with the City Council to find a plan that allows for enforcement of existing laws and careful creation of new legislation that will preserve our neighborhoods.

In conjunction with these quality of life issues French Quarter Citizens continues to fight to preserve the historic character of our neighborhood. We continue to oppose the Habana Café project that is proposed for the corner of Esplanade and Rampart Street. Despite the quaint and cozy name, in reality the project plans depict an event venue that has standing room for approximately 400 people. This event venue will dwarf and overwhelm the corner of the last mostly residential street in the French Quarter. Although the project has been approved by the Vieux Carré Commission to move forward, we were recently successful in convincing the City Planning Commission to defer approval of the re-subdivision of lots until more details are made available for review. A vote is forthcoming next month!

Meanwhile, our fundraising committee will soon be gearing up for our 2015 Progressive Dinner! The tireless efforts of our fundraising committee and their results enable us to advocate effectively for our members and our neighborhood. I hope you will be responsive when you are called on to volunteer your time to making this year’s Dinner a smashing success!

So, there we are. As we go into this New Year, we have many serious issues confronting us, but we are better equipped than ever before to achieve positive outcomes. We also have a great deal of fun to look forward to as well. I look forward to seeing you during the year, and encourage you to become active by joining a committee and working towards our goals. Margaret Mead said it so well. We are indeed a group of thoughtful, committed citizens and together, we can change the world!

Most sincerely,

Susan Guillot

Message from the President 2014

As one chapter ends, so another begins. Thus it is for me this year as French Quarter Citizens proudly completes another very successful year. I am passing the gavel on to the incoming Board who will choose their newest leader to take them into another challenging and rewarding chapter in the life of this fabulous organization! Why fabulous? ~ Because it is composed of the most caring, generous and dedicated people that I have ever had the privilege to know. Starting with the founders, Fran Flurry, Carol Greve and Nathan Chapman, French Quarter Citizens has grown to represent you, our members and even those who are not yet a part of our community, but who still share a passion for our Mission. We strive to sustain a reasonable quality-of-life while maintaining the historic elements that make the French Quarter a National Historic Landmark! Easier said than done many times, but we keep on keeping on and so far have met with overwhelming success for 20 years now.

To commemorate this milestone French Quarter Citizens celebrated our 20th Anniversary with a spectacular Gala, chaired by Rodney Villarreal. Kudos to Rodney and his committee who were supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! What a great group he assembled to pull this one off! Wow!

We also hired our first Executive Director, Carol Gniady, who jumped in with both feet from day one and has proven to be exactly what we needed in our transitional period of leadership. Carol has spoken eloquently on behalf of French Quarter Citizens at many City entities as well as numerous neighborhood functions. We can feel confident that our voice will continue to be heard ~ even by those who don’t always want to listen.

Gratitude almost seems like a trivial word for how I feel about our counterparts at VCPORA. Such a dedicated group of people who share our vision for the French Quarter while serving as a resource for us many times over. Both Carol Allen and Meg Lousteau have become dear friends and respected allies in our efforts to protect the integrity of this unique neighborhood and I admire and respect both of these women immensely.

Saying good-bye to my Board this year is the most difficult of all tasks as I leave my role of an active participant of French Quarter life to tackle the unknown of life in Shreveport ~ my hometown. Each member has worked tirelessly to strengthen French Quarter Citizens’ position in this community and I congratulate them on their efforts which were not only successful but exemplary. We have accomplished much, but there will always be new challenges to face and more dissenters to convert!

To the Board of 2015 I say, “You have big shoes to fill!” Fortunately the footprints are there for you to follow as we all have done in the past. The “way” is marked. Follow it with your own style. That’s what makes each of us special.

Lastly, I thank all of you, our members for the vote of confidence you have placed in me for several years now to lead this organization. I have grown as a person by being a part of this group and you have each taught me by unselfishly sharing your talents and through your generous outpouring of friendship and compassion along the way. I will miss you all!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!

CoCo Garrett

Moonlight Magic at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans


Friday, November 3rd, 2017
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Susan Guillot, President of French Quarter Citizens and Peter Trapolin, 2017 Honoree

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Coleman Adler II, 2017 Honorary Chair and Rodney Villarreal, French Quarter Citizens Gala Chairman

Our annual Gala, the most important fundraiser, supports our organization’s efforts to preserve the French Quarter and protect it from the daily impact of over nine million visitors each year, graffiti, large vehicles, crime and developers.

We had a delightful evening of live music from The Y’at Pack, dancing, ample seating, fabulous food presented by some of our very best local restaurants, and fabulous  music clubs – Little Gem Saloon, BB King’s, House of Blues

and our wonderful restaurants Red Fish Grill, Tableau, Mandina’s, Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Doris Metropolitan, Koboshi ,

 and delectable pastries with  –  Maple Street Patisserie and Maurice’s Pastries,  coffee from Arrow Café, and a Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from El Gato Negro, an open bar featuring a variety of exciting specialty cocktails and premium liquor and a live and silent auction.

Sponsors and patrons enjoted an exclusive pre-party from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m., with the Gala event following from 7:30 until 11:00.

Coleman E. Adler II, President of Adler’s Jewelry, will serve as the 2017 Honorary Chair. 

Peter Trapolin, FAIA, Founding Principal of Trapolin-Peer Architects, will serve as our 2017 Honoree.

Coleman E. Adler II and Peter Trapolin play important roles as preservationists and philanthropists in our community and have made effectual contributions towards the preservation of the French Quarter.


French Quarter Citizens, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit neighborhood action group and every dollar goes directly to protecting The Quarter.


Mule Waste Issues

Hot line for any problems dealing with mule waste: 658-7176.    Call and let’s keep the French Quarter clean and smelling better.

New Look at Cabrini Park Issues?

Cabrini Park, the French Quarter's only resident-oriented green space, is in the news. Council Member Kristin Gisleson Palmer recently secured Council approval to rezone Cabrini Park from residential (VCR) to park (VCP). Nobody has proposed developing Cabrini Park, but part of the area is owned by the cash-strapped School Board. Changing the zoning is a prudent step that precludes development. FQC testified in favor, and urges new rules limiting outside activities to those appropriate to, and respectful of, the surrounding residential neighborhood.

Changing the zoning also paves the way for initiatives aimed at infrastructure improvements, maintenance, and security. At a recent meeting hosted by Council- member Palmer, New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) Commission Chair Roy Glapion stated that NORD might be able do more to address these long-standing problems.

Hampering improvements, however, are long-standing and deeply felt differences about how the space is to be used. Help for resolving use issues may come from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Engagement (ONE), which NORD has used to help mobilize neighborhood agreement on other city playgrounds. FQC is working actively to promote efforts ensuring that Cabrini Park can accommodate both current and historic uses. Important will be reaching out to community stakeholders, including French Quarter community advocacy groups such as FQC, VCPORA, Lower Quarter Crime Watch, residents, dog owners who have long used Cabrini Park and have contributed to diminishing the impact of dogs on the usability of the park; and officials from McDonogh 15, which was historically located on the Cabrini site and still maintains an interest in using Cabrini Park as children's play and exercise space.

New Noise Ordinance in Final Stages — We Hope

Everybody agrees that noise – too much noise – seriously affects quality of life in the French Quarter. And just about everybody agrees that the present Noise Ordinance, a complicated and difficult piece of legislation regulating almost every sound heard in public spaces by setting decibel limits, hours, and bullhorns, needs work. For some years, ideas have circulated for a new regime that balances support for entertainment businesses, New Orleans’ music traditions, and performers while respecting the right of citizens to the quiet enjoyment of their lives.

A City-sponsored Task Force, led by the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs chief Scott Hutcheson, has heard from many stakeholders and elaborated a set of ideas that were turned over to Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer’s office to be turned into draft legislation. Her Legislative Director, Nicole Webre, has been working valiantly to try to reconcile conflicting ideas – residents’ ideas on acceptable sound may not always square with those of Bourbon Street music emporiums or street musicians – with a view to introducing an ordinance in time for public hearings and comment with passage before the Council takes up the budget in November.

Although French Quarter Citizens and other French Quarter organizations were inexplicably not invited to participate on the City’s Task Force, an informal task force has submitted recommendations to the current draft posted on Councilmember Palmer’s website. These proposed changes include establishing a single administrator, responsible to the Mayor, Council, and public and accountable for all aspects of the program; regular reporting to the Council and public; making 85 decibels the upper permitted limit (Federal OSHA requires ear protection for employees exposed to higher levels over the work day); establishing more objective standards for sound measurement; and other provisions aimed at diminishing the impact of sounds disturbing residential enjoyment.

Newsletter for FQC Membership, April 2014

Alert: Troubling non-Bourbon Street issues added to Sound Ordinance!

On January 16, 2014, New Orleans City Council Members Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Stacy Head said in a joint statement that the city would limit its next sound ordinance to the Vieux Carré Entertainment district (Bourbon Street.)

However, significant additional language – much of it citywide – is in the ordinance to be voted upon this Thursday. Major changes to your rights as a citizen will be changed by City Hall . They have not been publicly vetted.

In today’s Council committee, few people knew these non-Bourbon St proposals below were part of the ordinance! Please read below and then use the contact info at the bottom of this email. Let the City Hall know that you want the Council to keep its promise. Amend the ordinance to vote ONLY on Bourbon Street changes at this time.

Proposed major changes which will be CITYWIDE, not just VCE (Bourbon Street):

  1. Citywide, the ordinance removes time restrictions (also known as the “curfew”) on street performers. The Woolworth study and public debate was overwhelmingly about bars and businesses. People concerned about street performances had no warning that language would be included in this ordinance. Such a change needs to be considered and discussed by the public in its own process and ordinance.
  2. Citywide, the ordinance will remove even malicious sound violations out of Municipal Court. An adjudication officer cannot issue an arrest warrant or send the police to locate someone who fails to show up for a hearing. Police officers will no longer be able to arrest a recalcitrant violator who refuses to turn it down.
  3. Citywide, it eliminates citizens’ right to go to court to seek injunctive relief when the sound ordinance is violated.In a city that often lacks resources for enforcement, to take away citizens’ rights to use the courts is very, very scary. For many, it has been the only remedy.
  4. Citywide, it eliminates an important role of the police. Even with the new (positive) sound-related role for The Department of Health, the police must still maintain a role. The Dept of Health can never be as responsive to time-sensitive situations. The following deleted words should be restored in Section 66-137 Administration 3) “Execute other necessary action, including but not limited to, variance and permit review, and institute necessary proceedings to [“PROSECUTE OR ENJOIN” is deleted adjudicate violators of the noise control ordinance.”
  5. In VCE-1 (near House of Blues) the ordinance proposes the badly flawed system now used on Bourbon Street, but for another part of the Quarter. The 10 dBA above ambient or 60 dBA whichever is HIGHER (as opposed to lower) means there is no maximum. The use of “higher” created “sound wars” on Bourbon.

Please e-mail City Hall: Tell them to “Please keep your promise. Either amend out the non-Bourbon St. changes in the sound ordinance or defer the bill for more review and input.”,,,,,,,,,


Newsletter for FQC Membership, June 2014

Dear French Quarter Citizen Member:

Seeking New 2015 FQC Board Members

The new Board of FQC begins serving its term in January, 2015. While it may seem early to start thinking about nominations to the FQC Board, it really isn’t! The slate of candidates must be presented at the September Board meeting for approval by a majority vote. Ballots listing the candidates accompanied by background information shall be provided to the general membership at least three (3) weeks prior to the general membership meeting in October.

The Nominating Committee is requesting that all members of FQC suggest names of potential candidates to the Board and submit them to a member of the Nominating Committed listed below. The FQC Bylaws state that the proposed name must be put forward within fifteen days of receipt of this notice.

So, please think of someone you know who would make a great FQC Board Member. Maybe someone who has an unselfish desire to see the French Quarter preserved as an historical jewel. Or, a friend of yours who you know wishes to maintain a protected quality of life in our residential community. Are you acquainted with a member who could become a spokesperson for our organization in the community? How about someone you recognize as one who would personally promote and encourage others to join FQC. Perhaps one or more of these traits describes you! You are certainly welcome to send in your own name for nomination.

We look forward to receiving your recommendations within the next 15 days.

Thanks in advance for your help and support in this important matter!

The Nominating Committee

Gail Cavett          

René Fransen      

Catherine Hill      

Marlene Jaffe    

Sou Sanders        


Our Quarterly General Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner will be held on Thursday, June 19, 2014 from 6 to 8 pm at the home of Susan and Albin Guillot,1130 rue Dauphine. Bring your favorite dish and remember, new neighbors and preservation minded friends are always welcome!

Newsletter for FQC Membership, May 2014

As French Quarter Citizens, Inc. proudly celebrates 20 years of advocacy in the Vieux Carré, there are so many opportunities ahead of us to continue working to preserve and improve our quality of life as well as the historical architecture of this unique neighborhood. No wonder we are considered one of the most unique places in the entire country. 9 million visitors can’t be wrong!

By way of a brief apology for our long absence from communication, let me just say, your Board has been very busy! Going from 21 to 9 Board members this year has put a premium on our time as we all do “double duty”. Nonetheless we are kicking “it” down the road and have soooo many things to write home about.

Most recently the hard work of our Board member Gail Cavett, who is also the chair of the Infrastructure Committee for FQMD, has paid off in spades for the French Quarter and ultimately the City.

  • One is the restriction of “novelty vehicles” aka Duck Boats in the French Quarter. Despite the allure of such bizarre modes of transportation, the fact that they simply are not a fit for the French Quarter was reinforced when the City Council opposed their intrusion into our historic neighborhood.
  •  Secondly, the route change for buses over 31 feet will now be on the down river side of Decatur only. Buses (other than those RTA designated) will only be able to traverse from Canal to Esplanade leaving the upriver side more accessible for vehicular traffic, bikes and pedestrians. A big shout out to Gail for leading that charge!!

The Sound Ordinance ~ I SAID THE SOUND ORDINANCE ~ in case you didn’t hear me, is very quiet right now. In spite of the objections, criticisms, personal insults and recriminations made towards many of us who worked tirelessly to bring something positive forward, the Council was deadlocked and it did not pass. Further work will be done on it and hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the truth of why a revision to the current Noise Ordinance is needed will surface. Those continually chanting that “music is our culture” are absolutely right, but no one is talking about diluting “our culture”. That, my friends, has been the red herring from day one. What the revisions create (or try to) is an acceptable way to measure sound and to control its volume while creating an amicable co-existence of both residents and musicians.  And did I say, “One that is enforceable!”  Awe ~ the key to a sustainable quality of life ~ Enforcement of the laws.

On top of this issue, the Mayor announced that the City is not going to enforce the curfew on street performers! Maybe he should make a list of all the ordinances he is not going to enforce so that those who want to disregard them can blatantly go about doing whatever it is that will aggravate the heck out of their neighbors who have to now endure this nuisance.  Mon dieu, as my grandmother used to say!

As we head towards summer we are busy planning our fall fundraiser ~ traditionally the Progressive Dinner. While we all love the Progressive Dinner, it was decided that this year we will do a Gala in celebration of our 20th Anniversary. Friday, November 7th is the date and the Riverview Room on top of Jax Brewery is the place. Please mark your calendars and as things develop you will be the first to know. Rodney Villarreal is our chair this year and he is actively looking for volunteers to be on various and sundry committees. This is such a fun event and if you want to get better acquainted with some of your neighbors, please contact Rodney to volunteer. This is crucial to a successful event, so please offer to help make this a most memorable evening. or call him at 504.289.9770. I know he will be pleased to hear from you. Oh, and by the by, we need “men” too! Not just the ladies. We can put you all to work!

Other issues that your Board is busy working on are:

  • Meet and Greet for CM Nadine Ramsey ~ Co-hosted by FQC and VCPORA ~ Tuesday, May 27th at the home of CoCo Garrett ~ 930 Toulouse Street ~ 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Join us and get to know the new Councilmember for District C. We want her to get to know us and our neighborhood better! Also, CM’s email has been misprinted and it is in case you need it.
  • Short Term Rentals (STR) ~ Various entities throughout the City are plagued by this abuse and we are hoping to curtail some of those who continually abuse the laws and cause a nuisance to the neighbors. Brian Furness has been a champion for this cause and others are joining in. FMIA (Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association) in co-sponsorship with VCPORA are hosting a meeting on Tuesday, May 20th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 2624 Burgundy, 7:00pm, so if you want to learn more, try to attend.
  • Bills we are following in the legislature
    • HB 789 ~ Raises fines from $500 to $1000 per infraction for scofflaws who continually disregard the law. Rep. Helena Moreno brought this to the House and Senator J.P. Morrell in the Senate. This does not affect non-moving traffic violations or parking infractions. It has passed in both Houses.
    • HB 1013 ~ This is a bill which takes care of largely technical and consensus changes to boards and commissions. We noticed that this amendment added a name change for one of the organizations represented on FQMD. Bourbon Business Alliance is changing their name to French Quarter Business League.  While this seems simple enough, it is curious that the FQMD Board was not informed of it nor did they approve this change which is needed for a consensus bill. We have requested a copy of the resolution from BBA or the Minutes from their meeting which proposed this change. We will keep you posted.
    • HB 1083 ~ This is a total puzzlement for novices like me who don’t dabble in politics on a regular basis. Mayor Landrieu asked Representative Jared Brossett to author the bill to assess yet another tax on the tourist. It started out as one thing (a tax) and ended up saying that the money would be spent on bringing back the Ladder 5 Fire truck to the Arabella Station. It’s anyone’s guess on where it will end up.
  • Filming in the Quarter ~ Being known as Hollywood South can have its drawbacks. While we support and endorse the use of our neighborhood for all the inherent benefits of exposure, we also do not want to be inconvenienced even more by the even lessened parking availability, the trash on the streets and the noise at all hours of the day and night. We are working jointly with VCPORA on this and are also discussing our concerns with other neighborhoods, like the Garden District to see how they have addressed many of the same problems. Tax credits are great and they are bringing in much revenue, let’s just make sure that those benefits don’t drive residents out of their neighborhood.
  • Search for an Executive Director for FQC ~ For the first time since we began in 1994 FQC is looking for an Executive Director. We have always been an all-volunteer organization, but as we grow we need to maintain continuity as presidents come and go and we hope to find just the right person to fill this slot. You can check out the job description on our website at If you know of someone who might be interested, please refer them to us. They can send their resumé to  This is a full-time job and offers many opportunities for community coalition building and neighborhood involvement.
  • The Nominating Committee is forming now to vet candidates for the 2015 Board of Directors, so if you would like to be a part of selecting our new Board or serving on the Board yourself, let me know. Email me at I would love to hear from you.

As I said earlier, your Board is busy, but that’s the way we like it. We are dedicated to working for our neighborhood and its sustainability as a living, breathing neighborhood and not one that is a Disneyland-ish one. (Disneyland has its place, don’t get me wrong!) We just hope that the “founding fathers” as they are don’t forget it and that in years to come we will have an increase of residents who live here and not a continuous decline. This is the gem of the south. Let’s polish it up!

Lastly, I know that you all join me in mourning the loss of Dr. Ralph Lupin a strident advocate for many causes, the French Quarter being one of them. Dr. Lupin and the Lupin Foundation have been generous supporters of French Quarter Citizens and his wife, Pam, has served on our Board. We extend our sincerest condolences to Pam and her family at this time.
CoCo Garrett

Newsletter for FQC Membership, November 2014 Gala Edition

THANK YOU to everyone who helped make last Friday’s French Quarter Citizens, Inc. 20th Anniversary Gala a HUGE success! We are still floating on air from this joyous, memorable affair and we have so many reasons for celebration and gratitude. Celebration and joy resonated from all as French Quarter Citizens, Inc. commemorated 20 years of advocating for residential quality of life in the Vieux Carré, historic preservation, and architectural integrity for New Orleans’ most famous neighborhood. This landmark occasion attracted dignitaries, noted preservationists, and friends from across the city as well as French Quarter Citizens’ members and supporters. Attendance was at an all time high with hundreds of patrons and gala attendees enjoying an amazing, elegant night of Dining, Dancing and Delight.

View the Gala Photo Gallery

Our Honorees, Dathel and John Georges were gracious, kind, and truly engaged and interested in French Quarter Citizens’ success. Mary Louise Christovich was a fantastic Honorary Gala Chair, supporting our event and FQC’s preservation focused mission. At mid point in the evening, French Quarter Citizens presented preservation recognitions with Board President CoCo Garrett providing remarks and presenting Honorary Gala Chair Mary Louise Christovich with her award while Vice President Susan Guillot shared Dathel and John Georges’ profiles and presented their award. District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey provided proclamations signed by all members of the New Orleans City Council.

French Quarter Citizens’ President CoCo Garrett accepted on behalf of the organization a stunning sculpture from RHINO artist Sean Dixon, who hand crafted two “VooDooBots” in a tableau setting depicting “old” and “new” working together to preserve the French Quarter. The robots are finely detailed with moveable arms, legs and heads. The piece is proudly on display at FQC’s North Rampart Street office.

Many dignitaries were in attendance, mingling with our members and patrons, including State Representative Louisiana House District 93 Helena Moreno, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Jr., and Mrs. Cannizzaro, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, representatives from both Councilmember Jason Williams’ and Stacy Head’s office. Also in attendance were representatives from fellow preservationist organizations including the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents, and Associates, and others. Guests included two of French Quarter Citizens, Inc.’s founding members, Fran Flurry and Nathan Chapman, as well as a host of FQC friends, including Virginia Boulet and Alvin Albe, Jr., Chuck Garber, Edward Bonin, Ann and John Koerner, III, Karen and Bobby Major, Jeff Morgan and Jason Waguespack, Michelle Zembo and Glade Bilby, C.J. Blanda, Chad Pellerin, Lary Hesdorffer, Lisa Suarez, and many, many more.

We are most appreciative for the generous support of our sponsors…

Virginia Boulet and Alvin R. Albe, Jr.

Friends of French Quarter Citizens, Inc.
New Orleans Hotel Collection, representing: Bourbon Orleans, Dauphine Orleans, Melrose Mansion, Hotel Mazarin, Hotel Le Marais, Audubon Cottages

Friends of French Quarter Citizens, Inc.
Premier Security
Stuart H. Smith and Barry J. Cooper, Jr.

Seth M. Babineaux/Southern Constructors
Fran Flurry
Susan and Albin Guillot
Marilyn and Robert F. Tarpy, M.D.
A.D. Wynne Co., Inc.

CoCo Garrett
Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation

Margot and Ralph Benson
Libby and Ben Benton
Edward C. Bonin
Amanda and David Bunney
Dr. Joyce and Sascha Burland
Capital One
Gail Cavett
Yvette and Rufus Cressend
Cathy Espenan
René J.L. Fransen
Friends of French Quarter Citizens, Inc.
Craig A. Gentry, Esq.
Virginia Gould and David Speights
Craig M. Guidry and Gary Wheat
Susan and Jimmy Gundlach
Kathryn and Hub Harrington
Catherine Hill
L.K. Hoff
Mary Jo and Calvin M. Johnson, Jr., M.D.
Blake Jones Law Firm, LLC
Susan and Paul Klein
Judith and Melvyn Kossover, M.D.
Karen and Bobby Major
Josie and George Markey
Catherine and Kevin McMichael
Kathleen Metzgar and Rob White
Jeff Morgan and Jason Waguespack
Mourain Construction
Mary Pepitone and Brent Baumbach
Gregory B. Pierce and Wade Gillham
Lynne and Hugh Uhalt
Michelle Zembo and Glade Bilby
Trez and Jim Zotkiewicz

Doris Metropolitan
Ernst Cafe
Le Foret
Little Gem Saloon
Maple Street Patisserie
Ole Saint

Flowers by Cheryl Bostick
Deuce McAllister
Rick’s Fine Jewelry

Special Thanks to the Riverview Room and Twilight Band


Dining! Our restaurant sponsors provided an array of delicious, exquisite food and we are so appreciative for their contributions: Ole Saint’s Chef Alfred provided several appetizers at our Patron Party and later items including shrimp and grits were prepared at their serving table for our Gala. Doris Metropolitan offered wraps of prime aged sirloin, Ernst Cafe provided seafood puffed pastries, Galatoire’s served deviled eggs garnished with caviar provided by Louisiana Caviar Company, Le Foret served seafood salad, Little Gem Saloon offered roast beef debris on biscuits, Tableau served turtle soup, and Maple Street Patisserie provided a beautiful, sumptuous array of desserts and a 20th Anniversary commemorative cake, and there was a full bar and an Irish coffee station.

Dancing! The Twilight Band had everyone on the dance floor, kicking up their heels, dancing to the oldies, or getting down and getting “crunk”. Gala Chair Rodney Villarreal called on the band to play the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” as he led Gala Committee members and joyful attendees in a celebratory dance at the end of the official presentations and recognitions program.

Delight! The Riverview Room overlooking the Mississippi River was an elegant setting that was staged to perfection, including dramatic lighting in the 20th Anniversary Gala colors of red, white and gold, and stunning floral arrangements on every table from Flowers by Cheryl Bostick of red and white flowers, accented with spindle twigs of gold, providing the perfect accent on every table. Beautiful jewelry from Adler’s — a silver hammered cuff bracelet, and Rick’s Fine Jewelry — a pearl necklace with silver oyster shell with centered pearl as well as a silver crab necklace, were the prizes delighting winners of our extra special raffle featuring blinking light cubes in hand painted wine glasses.

French Quarter Citizens’ 20th Anniversary Gala was our most successful fundraiser ever, thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to a very memorable night.

We thank our Gala Committee for their hard work and outstanding results: Gala Chair: Rodney Villarreal. Committee: John Burke, Cathy Espenan, René Fransen, CoCo Garrett, Carol Gniady, Susan and Albin Guillot, Rebecca Massa, Joe Rochelle, Danielle L. Pellegrin, Sharon Singleton, B.B. St. Roman, Gary Wheat.


The city of New Orleans is filled with wonderful sounds: jazz music, church chimes, second line parades, carriages, streetcars, and street performers. But unmonitored and unregulated, some of these sounds deteriorate into noise.  Attend the Bourbon Live hearing on March 9 at 8am in Judge Paul Sens Court at 727 S. Broad.


Other Issues

The scope of French Quarter Citizens activities is as vast as the many challenges affecting our historic neighborhood. Recent efforts include ensuring that legislative re-districting maintains the French Quarter as a single unit, helping to ensure our city and state legislatures focus on our problems. We have participated in efforts to call attention to our deficient and deteriorating infrastructure; the Mayor has promised money to repave at least some streets but has not found resources to address the deplorable state of many of our sidewalks — or to mount effective efforts to keep them from being damaged by heavy delivery trucks. French Quarter Citizens has played an important role in bringing street cars back to North Rampart Street, and is working hard to ensure that track alignment and kiosk designs reflect our special situation. We continue to expand cooperation with city and other French Quarter groups, partnering with the French Quarter Business Association, Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates, Bourbon Business Alliance and others to promote common objectives. French Quarter Citizens always seeks to achieve its objectives through negotiation and education, but some situations require, and will continue to require, our challenge through the legal system. We are fortunate to have the cooperation of attorneys willing to support us pro bono and partners with which we can share other costs.

Our Members

Our members are key to achieving our mission to “… preserve the quality of life in the Vieux Carre neighborhood, its historical character and architecture …” and to contribute to the resolution of problems confronting our neighborhood. We reach out to our members publishing the French Quarter Write four times per year. Our website is being reworked to improve communication with our members, and our Facebook presence provides still further opportunities to let the Officers and Board know what members think. FQC Alerts inform members of FQC activities and important community events and initiatives. Most members have attended at least one Quarterly Meeting and Potluck, as much an opportunity to get to know your neighbors as to exchange views with FQC Officers and Board members, and with special guests, often key elected and appointed officials. Recent guests have included NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas and 8th District leadership and Helena Moreno, our representative in the Louisiana House. Our Progressive Dinner, our major fund-raising event, has long been one of the best parties in the French Quarter, and makes a major contribution to our ability to reach our objectives.

Planning and Historic Preservation

The Quarter’s architecture plays a key role in its desirability to residents and visitors alike. FQC efforts contribute to and support the Vieux Carré Commission’s work protecting our historic buildings and way of life. Since Katrina, we’ve focused on city planning; the vote approving a Master Plan with the force of law was a major step forward. Most recently, FQC is participating in key initiatives to draft a new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and develop a new community participation system giving citizens more say into city decisions affecting their lives. FQC takes positions on zoning and permitting issues affecting the French Quarter supporting initiatives and uses consistent with preserving the character of the French Quarter. No other French Quarter organization has played a stronger or more supportive role in the efforts of North Rampart Main Street, Inc. to promote revitalization of this key corridor and gateway to the French Quarter.

President’s Report, April 14, 2014

March 10, 2014 – Joint meeting with VCPORA to discuss parameters to an upcoming meeting with Katie Williams, Director of the Film New Orleans, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy. In attendance: Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau, Marlene Jaffe, and Erin Holmes. We used the Guidelines established by the Garden District and made changes to meet the situation of filming in the French Quarter. Some of the suggestions were:

  • We need to count the “Block Days” used per month by the film industry
  • Determine who they use for Enforcement
  • Fees for parking by meters need to be increased from $1.25 an hour to $20
  • The film crews should be responsible for un-bagging the meters when they leave
  • No parking on the sidewalk is allowed
  • There should be a Security Deposit
  • There should be a fund established which could be managed by either the City Council or the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy (Filming division) to deal with infrastructure repairs as a result of any mishaps by the film crew
  • Film New Orleans should print out the Guidelines and provide them to the Location Manager
  • Inquire as to the “working relationship” between the Garden District and the filming crews

March 20, 2014 – Gail Cavett hosted our Quarterly Pot Luck at her home at 1009 St. Louis. The weather cooperated and it was a delightful evening. CM (elect) Nadine Ramsey joined us for dinner and made a few comments on her role as our new councilmember. We look forward to future gatherings where we can become better acquainted with CM Ramsey.

March 21, 2014 – Met with Carol Greve to discuss co-hosting with VCPORA an “Orientation” for the new Council members / or possibly all of the Council members to familiarize them with the French Quarter. Carol was instrumental in organizing and hosting a similar event in the past as well as one for the Legislator’s wives at one time. The event generally included either a tour by carriage or mini-van with specific locations of interest pointed out. In the past Nathan Chapman and Ann Masson provided much of the background on the places of interest. Either a lunch or dinner was provided after the tour. Some suggestions made by Carol included:

  • Including ALL of the Council Members in our Quarterly Pot Luck events / this could include the Mayor as well
  • Try to do this in mid-May if possible

March 23, 2014 – Conference call to discuss upcoming meeting with the Mayor on the Sound Ordinance. On the call were: Wilma Heaton, Nathan Chapman, Stuart Smith (who was not able to attend the meeting at the last minute) and myself.

March 24, 2014 – Met with CM LaToya Cantrell. Meg Lousteau and Jeff Morgan from VCPORA arranged the meeting. We primarily were there to discuss the upcoming Sound Ordinance and the role all of the vested groups play in its development. We discuss FQC, VCPORA and FQMD and the fact that CM Kristin Gisleson Palmer has “appointed” them to be the “voice” of the Quarter. We explained why this wasn’t a true representation of the residential element of the Quarter and explained the structure of the organization as it is today. We also explained the fact that the commissioners on the board of FQMD do not “represent” their appointing body, but instead they strictly vote as individuals. We primarily discussed the 200 – 700 blocks of Bourbon Street. CM Cantrell suggested that there should possibly be a workshop with the business owners to discuss ways to insulate their clubs to lower the sound in the neighborhood. We felt that CM Cantrell understood why we were objecting to certain elements of the proposed ordinance and also saw us as “reasonable” which was good.

March 25, 2014 – Meeting with Mayor Landrieu at City Hall. The Mayor called for meetings with 4 separate groups to discuss the proposed Sound Ordinance, as well as the relationship between the organizations working on the ordinance. In attendance were: The Mayor, Scott Hutchinson, Advisor to the Mayor on Cultural Economy, Leslie Stokes, Board member of the VCC, Bob Simms, Chair of the Security Committee of FQMD, Nathan Chapman and myself. The Mayor was charming and clever and engaged everyone in the conversation. He started out by defining the “inhabitants” of the FQ to be: a) Residents, b) Club owners, c) Traditional music venues, i.e. Preservation Hall and Snug Harbor, and d) Antique and novelty stores. He stated that his goal was to have an “elegant” solution for everyone so that everyone came away satisfied with the compromises. Some of his comments included:

Understandable frustration with the current lack of enforcement • Questioned who will supervise or govern the new Sound Ordinance – stating that the putting this back into the Health Department was a good start

Encouraged us to speak with ALL of the councilmembers, not just District C

Mentioned that Dave Woolworth is the “expert” charged with providing specifics for the ordinance

Suggested some type of “voluntary compliance” by the clubs causing the most problems. (It was noted that some of the clubs have a sound meter that monitors the bands who must stay within acceptable limits

At the end of the meeting, the Mayor said that he wanted to schedule another meeting and that we were to choose one person from our group to attend. Leslie Stokes, Carol Allen and I recommended Nathan Chapman. Bob Simms was very disappointed and wrote a letter stating that “Nathan did not speak for him.” A second meeting was to be scheduled.

March 27, 2014 – Carol Allen and Meg Lousteau met with Stephen Perry, President & CEO New Orleans Convention and Tourist Bureau and their attorney, Robert Walmsley, Jr. (I was out of town and unable to attend.) The meeting was to discuss the pending CEA agreement between the NOCTB and the City regarding the proposed new tax ~ part of which was to go towards infrastructure repairs in the FQ. (You might recall that this is the Bill that was endorsed by last year’s FQC Board and against the strong recommendation by Brian Wiggins that FQC ask for this caveat to be included in the bill. Linda Malin, former president refused and supported the Bill as presented. To date, this CEA has not been approved or signed by the Mayor. (One year later.)

I am including an excerpt from a recent email from Stephen Perry re the CEA Agreement.

March 17, 2014 – Under the referendum terms, the assessment will now commence on April 1, 2014 and will be charged to visitors beginning on that day.

Each hotel files its hotel taxes on the 20th of every month and we have designed our assessment form to be virtually identical to that form, so that there was no learning curve for the hotel community, and so that the assessment would be due and filed the same day as taxes. This made it very simple for all. The first payment should be filed on the 20th of May and disbursed to recipient parties early in June.

While regular hotel taxes will go as usual to the state and city, the assessment, as a CVB dues assessment, will be transmitted simultaneously to a CVB owned separate restricted account in a local bank, segregated from our normal commercial banking. The dollars may not be used for any other purposes and may not be used as operating capital by any organization prior to disbursement.

By the tenth of the following month, the bank will disperse the allocation per the .75, .75 and .25 percentages to the CVB, NOTMC and city of New Orleans’ restricted account for this dedication. The collections will start slowly this summer as start-up expenses are deducted first, then the collections that flow will begin slowly as some tourist stays are not applicable due to pre-existing contracts, pre-paid status, etc.

The CVB will provide monthly collection reports for transparency purposes to the GNOHLA, NOTMC, city of New Orleans and will be happy to send you guys the monthly collection amounts being deposited to the city as well.

There have been no suggested changes to the CEA we all discussed last September. I know the city was waiting for a new city council before taking it up for consideration. Dollars should begin flowing this summer. I’ll contact Andy this week about getting the CEA wrapped up.

We are unwaveringly committed, as were you in our discussions that the dollars raised should be in a separate, tractable account, not mingled with other city dollars, be appropriated by the Council following public discussion and debate, that the dollars may not supplant existing dollars from the city….they must be incrementally above current appropriations, that the dollars may only be used for public safety and policing, quality of life enforcement measures, sanitation, and infrastructure repair and maintenance ….all within the confines of the French Quarter….and solely as determined by the City Council after public debate.

It is nice to be on the same side with you as we move forward and work together to see that the dollars raised for the FQ go for the purposes you and we so clearly agree upon.

James Stephen Perry

Shortly after this meeting the news of HB1038 surfaced regarding yet another tax on the tourist recommended by the Mayor and this is Stephen’s response to it.

April 3, 2014 – We are vehemently opposed to this bill. It is travesty for them to come with this…..but this is the story……..The mayor is desperate for money due to the consent decrees and firefighter judgment. He got lots of bills filed at the end over many groups’ objections just to have options.

If passed, this bill would bring our tax to an 18.21. % effective rate with the occupancy taxes blended in. We would be the highest in the nation. Total revolt by our guys right now. The entire industry has been working it and the good news is it has no chance. Most of our delegation is opposed and even the author isn’t crazy about it. Not likely to be heard at all. If it is heard, we know we have the votes to kill it easily on the House floor. Nobody wants this. Even the Mayor…we all went to see him to voice our adamant opposition this week in person.

We’ll let you know if this thing gets any kind of life, but we don’t see how based on our work this week. Just a pain and time consuming.

Very best,

Stephen James Stephen Perry
President & CEO
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
2020 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, Louisiana USA 70130
(504) 566-5049

March 27, 2014 – The announcement that a new FQ neighborhood group was being formed by Bryan Drude and Linda Malin called French Quarter Advocates surfaced. They intend to be the residential voice of the French Quarter.

April 5, 2014 – Graffiti Clean-up sponsored by French Quarter Business Alliance, FQC and VCPORA. Vincent Marcello was instrumental in this effort. I have no report on the success of this effort at this time, but have asked Vincent for one.

April 8, 2014 – Met with Rodney Villarreal and Cathy Espenan to look at locations for our “20th Anniversary Gala”. Unfortunately Jackson Square would not let us use the location in spite of an intervention by Scott Hutchinson on our behalf. As alternatives we went to Riverview Room at Jax Brewery, Beauregard Keyes House and The Mint. Rodney will report on this.

April 8, 2014 – Met with Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau, Brian Furness, Susan Guillot and Nathan Chapman, Carol Greve, Jim Babst, Wilma Heaton, Brian Wiggins and Tony Marino to discuss our continued role with FQMD. Several things were discussed:

We need to have Long term and Short term goals with FQMD

The FQMD meetings need to be recorded

We need to reschedule the meeting with Robert Watters and Kim Rosenberg, but before doing so, we should meet with Senator Ed Murray who was the author of the Bill that introduced FQMD and ask his suggestions

We need to focus on Policies and Procedures and the current system in place for FQMD

April 9, 2014 – Attended the Lakefront Reception of the Louisiana Landmarks Society’s Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation. FQC made a $250 donation towards this event. There were 15 businesses and homes that received awards. The renovated Lakefront Airport is to be commended for the restoration of this historic structure.

April 11, 2014 – Film Meeting, part 2 – Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau, Marlene Jaffe, Evelyn Rodos and I met to revamp our original list of concerns with the Filming industry. Evelyn was formerly a Location Manager in Los Angeles and brings much insight to the table on how these companies work. Following is the list of concerns/suggestions to clarify prior to meeting with Katie Williams.

  • A FQ rep needs to be included in the meetings held with the Location Managers
  • A deposit should be required by all companies
  • Since the Location Manager is not a “local”, someone should be hired from the film office who has FQ experience and can advise them
  • Who has the authority to close down a project?
  • What would cause a project to be closed down?
  • What is considered a “non-essential” vehicle?
  • Each company should be asked to carry $5M in liability insurance
  • Security goes through Marlin Defilo who hires off duty Sheriff Deputies. We decided that we need to meet with him to discuss enforcement when incidents happen and education of his deputies so that they are aware of what is and isn’t acceptable in the FQ as it relates to filming. We are aiming for April 21, 22 or 23 depending on his schedule.

President’s Report, June 9, 2014

May 13, 2014 – Meet with Brian Furness regarding Short Term Rentals. In attendance were Meg Lousteau and Carol Allen, VCPORA and Susan Guillot. Meg reported that she had met with Miles Swanson, President of FMIA, regarding STR. (The previous day, Sunday, May 12, 2014, FMIA hosted a home tour and featured many legal STR locations.) Brian reported that there are many who complain about STR’s but few will work towards documenting the actions of those who are breaking the law. Meg and Miles have set a date of Tuesday, May 20th for an “informational meeting” to be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. This is NOT a rally or a call to action. There will be media present. CM Stacy Head has been invited as well as Andy Kopplan. Meg suggested that it would be best to dissolve the joint chairs from FQC & VCPORA to spearhead this group and reach out to the entire city for support. Targeted areas are the Marigny, Algiers, and the Garden District initially. Brian also mentioned that members of PAI,Inc. (Professional Association of Innkeepers, Inc.) might also provide volunteers. Mavis Early, Executive Director of The Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association and Mark Romig, President & CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation might also offer some assistance since this affects their “bottom line”.

At the recent Morrison Lecture, Pratt Cassidy reported that there are over 600 illegal STR’s in operation in New Orleans, denying the City of approximately $1M in unpaid taxes. It was discussed that we could possibly solicit insurance agencies to donate money to do a study. The insurance industry is one that continually has to pay claims on these locations which are reported as “homeowners” when the location is being used commercially, which is fraudulent. Louis Faust who works with Southwestern Insurance Agency was mentioned as a possible contact.

May 15, 2014 – Went to the Riverview Room to sign the contract for Friday, November 7, 2014. Rodney Villarreal and Cathy Espenan and I met with Mary Quarls, Event Coordinator. (Contract attached to my file should you wish to review it.) FQC gave a deposit / Balance due on October 31, 2014 – one week ahead. This covers 200 guests. We can go to 249. We reserved the room from 7:30 – 11:30pm. (We might need to change our times, but Mary is very flexible.) are leaning towards “heavy hors d’oeuvres” now instead of seated dinners. They can accommodate 300 seated, but it would be crowded. Ticket price will be $175 per person.

Friday, May 16, 2014 – Met with Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau, VCPORA; Carol Greve and CoCo Garrett, FQC to prepare for our upcoming meeting with Robert Watters and Kim Rosenberg. We wanted to discuss the concerns expressed by FQC & VCPORA which resulted in both organizations “suspending their participation” in FQMD. It was decided that as a founding member of FQMD, Carol Greve would initiate the conversation with Robert & Kim by asking what has happened to FQMD that has caused it to go from a very homogeneous group to one with so much contention.

Monday, May 19, 2014 – Met with Kim Rosenberg and Robert Watters of FQMD. Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau, Brian Wiggins, Susan Guillot, Carol Greve and CoCo Garrett attended. Carol Greve began the conversation by asking about “how things have changed” and basically Kim said she didn’t think they had. We went on to list our concerns including:

  • Absence of Bylaws – therefore there is no structure to follow and it is strictly at the whim of the “chair” as to how things proceed.
    o There is no appeals process for issues that need are not universally accepted
  • Members treat others with great disrespect and have resorted to name calling and insults in some cases. This is totally unacceptable to us. We must maintain civility and professionalism in all instances.
  • Lack of process for adding/renaming groups, i.e. the name change of BBA in the Enabling Legislation to French Quarter Business League was not properly done and there was no notice given to any commissioner prior to petitioning the legislature for the change. While we didn’t object to a group changing their name, BBA actually disbanded and FQBL is a new organization and therefore needed to be vetted by the entire commission. Robert told us that “BBA had been defunct for quite some time and that FQBL is a new group comprised of 16 members that represent 65 businesses on Bourbon Street.” Because of this we referred them to the process that took place when FMIA pulled out of FQMD and new groups were soliciting the vacant seat.
  • Attendance policy not adhered to
  • Voting at committee meetings doesn’t follow best practice guidelines
  • Rotation of leadership
  • Lack of Committee Meeting minutes
  • Committee Appointees – Term limits, attendance and geographic requirement
  • Untimely release of documents to review prior to Board meetings

We mentioned that because each commissioner on the FQMD Board is an appointee of their representative organization and does not represent that group, it is unclear how FQMD can represent that they are “the voice of the French Quarter”. The only two groups that vet any of the issues with their Boards are the residential groups, i.e. FQC & VCPORA.
At the end of the meeting, Robert passed out a copy of an email sent to him by Stuart Smith “demanding that Robert resign from FQMD or Stuart would expose information about him.” Robert’s comment to us was, “How can you associate with someone like this?” We responded that we were not going to discuss Stuart Smith and that he is one of several attorneys that we work with.”

Robert and Kim agreed to work on developing Bylaws and said they would review the other issues we discussed; most of which could be addressed by proper Bylaws. They said that they would bring up our concerns at the next FQMD meeting, June 2, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – VCPORA & FMIA Co-Sponsored “an informational session” on Illegal Short Term Rentals at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Over 100 people attended. Meg Lousteau, Executive Director VCPORA and Miles Swanson, President of FMIA chaired the event. Freddie King of Cm. Nadine Ramsey’s office was also in attendance. After a review of STR’s on Airbnb and VRBO, there are a reported 678 illegal units available in the New Orleans area. According to

Short Term Rentals

The City of New Orleans is committed to providing the best possible experience for all visitors and residents in New Orleans. We offer opportunities for visitors to stay in locations across the city, which range from modern hotels to historic bed and breakfasts. These rentals are collectively defined as Short Term Rentals, which cover any location renting rooms for 60 days or less in the French Quarter, or 30 days or less outside of the French Quarter. Short Term Rentals include:

  • Bed and Breakfast Family Home – any establishment having no more than two (2) sleeping rooms.
  • Bed and Breakfast Guest Home – any establishment having three (3) to five (5) sleeping rooms.
  • Bed and Breakfast Historic Home – any establishment with up to five (5) sleeping rooms and can be approved for up to nine (9) sleeping rooms by the City Council.
  • Bed and Breakfast Inn – any establishment having six (6) to nine (9) sleeping rooms.
  • Hotel or Motel – a building containing one or more individual sleeping rooms or suites having each a private bath attached thereto, and rented to a person or persons for the purpose of providing overnight lodging facilities to the general public for compensation with or without meals.

Rules and Regulations

New Orleans residents wishing to rent out an apartment or room must apply for the correct permits, and where applicable, pay the correct sales and hotel occupancy taxes.

  • For more information on required permits and licenses, see the Bed & Breakfast License information page.
  • For more information on City of New Orleans tax codes for hotels/motels, see New Orleans City Code .

It should also be noted that “legal” B&B’s have an “on site” person who lives at the location. Possible remedies to the abuses would be:

  1. Talk to the renter.
  2. Contact the mortgage company who holds the mortgage for the location. To determine if there is a mortgage, go to or call 504.407.0091.
  3. Report them to the Insurance Commissioner. It is illegal to rent out rooms without having “commercial coverage”. These people probably only carry “residential” coverage since they are not reporting their additional income.
  4. Report illegal activity to the City – Ed Horan, Zoning Administrator with Safety & Permits, . 504.658.7125. (It is a zoning issue to run an illegal STR. The law allows for 1 legal STR per block.

A follow-up meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 11th at 6:00pm (location TBA) and will be soliciting participation by those willing to take an active role in working on this problem.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – BGR (Bureau of Governmental Research) hosted a breakfast meeting at the Westin Canal Place to discuss Events Redeveloping the Riverfront. Carol Allen and I attended. Guest speakers were: Gary LaGrange, President & CEO, Port of New Orleans, Melvin Rodrigue, President Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, and Jon Smith, Executive Director, French Market Corporation. For more information go to: This was mostly a PR thing to discuss what they are doing. The best news came from Jon Smith about the Farmers Market coming to the French Market.

On the same day, I received this email regarding the VCC Appointees from the Louisiana State Museum. The Museum can submit 2 names to the Mayor to replace Dr. Lupin. They are being contacted by many with recommendations. The Mayor will select one of the two.

Sec. 166-31. Created; appointment; terms; vacancies.
(a) Established. There is hereby created a commission to be known as the Vieux Carre Commission of the city.
(b) Recommendation and appointment of members. The Vieux Carre Commission shall consist of nine members, all of whom shall be citizens of the city. They shall be appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council. The members of the commission shall be appointed by the mayor as follows: one from a list of two persons recommended by the Louisiana Historical Society; one from a list of two persons recommended by the Louisiana State Museum Board; one from a list of two persons recommended by the chamber of commerce of the city; three qualified architects from a list of six qualified architects recommended by the New Orleans Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and three at large.

(c) Term; vacancies. Each of the members of the Vieux Carre Commission shall be appointed for a term of four years. Whenever the term of a member of the commission expires the mayor shall appoint his successor from a list selected by the body which made the original selection from which the vacancy has occurred.
(Code 1956, §§ 65-1–65-3)

May 22, 2014 – Ads for an Executive Director went out and to date, June 5, 2014 we have received 10 applications. I need to expand our notices, so if others have recommendations on who to contact to run our ad, please let me know.

Saturday, May 24, 2014 – Met with Carol Greve to discuss the proposed “Orientation” to be held for the newly elected councilmembers, including Nadine Ramsey, Jason Williams and Jared Brossett. This was done with the former council and proved to be successful. The date needs to be set to do this and Carol G. and I are thinking September would allow us more time to get it organized. We will confer with VCPORA and report back.

Monday, May 26, 2014 (Memorial Day) – Chris Young, attorney/lobbyist for the former BBA and now FQBL asked Carol Allen and me to participate in a conference call re the upcoming HB1013 which was to propose the name change and automatic inclusion of the FQBL into the FQMD. We spoke for 30 minutes and though he admitted that FQBL was a new group, since it was primarily comprised of the same people, he asked that we not oppose it. We told him that we had no problem with Robert Watters continuing to serve as the representative for either group, but that the process they were following didn’t follow what had been done for others. HB 1013 was passed on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 in spite of efforts to have it deferred.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – VCPORA & FQC cosponsored a reception to welcome Councilmember Nadine Ramsey to District C, but mostly to the French Quarter. It was at my home, 930 Toulouse Street, and over 75 members attended and welcomed Cm. Ramsey. Cm John Gray also attended. The food was catered by Chez Nous and included finger sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres and wine and we enjoyed listening to the sounds of the John Parker Jazz Trio. Cm Ramsey and her staff were very receptive to chatting with everyone and assured us that “her door will always be open to us”.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 – Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau and I went to Baton Rouge to oppose the amendment to HB 1013 which changed the name of BBL to FQBL in the FQMD enabling legislation. Robert Watters told us that BBL had been defunct for several months and was no longer a functioning group. FQBL is a new group composed of 16 members that represented 65 businesses on Bourbon Street. Our objection was that no notice was given to the FQMD Board and there was no vetting process of the “new” group. Later we learned it is the Alex Fine of The Court of Two Sisters. Despite our efforts, the bill passed with its amendment. We think that this is a very bad precedent to set and must be dealt with in forthcoming Bylaws.

Monday, June 2, 2014 – Gala Committee Meeting. In attendance: Rodney Villarreal, Chair; Cathy Espenan, Susan and Albin Guillot, René Fransen, Maddie Jorgensen, Sharon Singleton, Danielle Pellegrin, Rebecca Massa and CoCo Garrett. Absent: Gary Wheat and Jennifer Kelly. Rodney designated the committees that he wanted to establish and asked for volunteers to chair them which included:

  • Sponsors / Ticket sales – René and Albin, Chairs
    o Levels of Sponsorships which include attendance at the Patron Party
    • $10,000
    • $5,000
    • $2,500
    • $1,000
    • $ 500
  • Chefs / Food – Cathy and Amy
    o Heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a seated dinner
    o Want to contact:
    • John Folse
    • Leah Chase
    • Stella’s
  • Band / Entertainment – Rodney
    o Twlight Band, Creole String Beans, Louisiana Spice, Boogie Man, The Tangle
  • Decorations / Logistics – Rodney
  • Invitations – Fluffy Hegenberger has agreed to help
    o Wants to talk with Ron, a graphic artist, about doing an abstract of a boat similar to the one in Showboat with the bridge in the background.
  • Auction Items – Cathy and Rodney
    o Tiffany’s
  • Security – The Riverview Room has 1 security guard. Rodney wants a second.
  • Patron Party – TBD
  • Honoree selection – TBD – suggestions welcome.
  • Celebrity co-chair – TBD
  • Theme – Showboat
    o Dress for dinner at the Captain’s Table
    o Black Tie, preferred / Top hats
    o Ladies – “costume de riguer”
  • It was suggested that we should send out a Save the date for this Gala. Sent.

Thursday, June 5, 2014 – After requesting guidance on how to send a donation in memory of Dr. E. Ralph Lupin to the Louisiana State Museum Foundation, I received word from Angelena Jones, Asst. Director & Membership and Events Coordinator to send it to:

Louisiana Museum Foundation
Attn: Susan Maclay
1000 Bourbon Street, #B429
New Orleans LA 70116

The check will go out on the 9th.

Thursday, June 5, 2014 – Short Term Rental Committee Meeting – Brian Furness, Co-chair. In attendance were: Brian, Rob White (joined from FQMD Enforcement Committee), Susan Guillot, Carol Gniady, FMIA Publicity person, Mavis Early, GNOHLA, and CoCo Garrett. Carol Gniady stated that there is a database established for all those who attended the FMIA/VCPORA event recently and she will sent it to us. The Council will vote on June 19th on the new definition of STR, below:

The staff recommends approval of Zoning Docket 046/14 with the following zoning text change. Additions to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance are shown below as underlined, bold text and deletions are shown in strikethrough text:

Article 2, Section 2.2.188
Transient Vacation Rentals. Rentals of a premises or any portion thereof for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes in a dwelling, hotel, motel, timeshare building, motor lodge, boarding and lodging home, trailer, tourist court or tourist home to nonresidents over the course of one (1) or more years, with duration of occupancy of less than sixty (60) consecutive days in the Vieux Carre and less than thirty (30) consecutive days outside the Vieux Carre. Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and other land uses explicitly defined and regulated in this ordinance separately from transient vacation rentals are not considered to be transient vacation rentals.

It was recommended that notification to the memberships should alert them to this and ask for letters of support to the councilmembers. Other suggestions made included:

  • Rob White cited the recent compromise that Airbnb made with the state of New York regarding their illegal vendors. Rob suggested that we try to contact the NY State Attorney General and see if they can share information with us to facilitate us getting some traction in dealing with Airbnb. (CoCo is going to contact Chad Pellerin with the Attorney General’s office in Louisiana and see if she can guide us.)
  • Cm LaToya Cantrell was also recently quoted as a part of a group working against illegal STR, so it was suggested that she be contacted to see if we should join forces. (Brian Furness is going to contact Cm. Cantrell)
  • Lastly the Office of Neighborhood Engagement should get involved as this problem covers the entire City.

Friday, June 6, 2014 – Met with Narinder Gupta, who has purchased the building at 519-535 Wilkinson Street between Chartres and Decatur. (This was formerly a warehouse for Jax Brewery.) They are renovating the building into 20 residential units and 7 commercial units. They are seeking an Open Space variance for the placement of condenser units in the alley behind Doris Metropolitan and his building. This meeting is to fulfill the NPP Community Meeting requirement. Meg and I and one other person – Tracy, attended. They propose to place 30 condenser units (10 per row) elevated above the alleyway. They will not be viewable from the street. Side comment: Dr. Gupta is an anesthesiologist and he and his crew are very professional and want to comply with all the VCC rules, etc. They started getting permits on July 22, 2013. They are doing everything to accommodate the 50’ height limit including stopping the elevator on the 3rd floor and making a stairwell to go to the 4th floor. Otherwise the elevator shaft would go beyond the height limit.

President’s Report, March 10, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – A Joint Statement was issued to FQMD by both FQC and VCPORA “suspending our participation in FQMD” stating that FQMD has diverged from their initial purpose and that under the current leadership the group has become divisive and contentious. Until they return to the principles and common goals which united us we felt it necessary to suspend participation. (Statement attached) Initially, Al Groos, GM of the Royal Sonesta, and Helena Moreno, State Representative were the first to respond. Sometime later, Kim Rosenberg contacted Carol Allen and CoCo Garrett to set up a meeting with our Boards. A meeting for March 6th at 3:00pm was scheduled, but at 8:00pm the evening before, Kim sent a text stating that Robert Watters had a meeting at City Hall at 2:00pm and would not be able to keep our meeting. No alternate date has been set as of this writing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 – Meeting hosted by Dr. Travis Kenny and Matilda Stream at his home at 524 Esplanade Avenue to raise matching funds to support a video relating to the Sound Ordinance. A total of $6,600 was donated, including donations from FQC & VCPORA and Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper have matched this amount. Donors were very generous and the video is in the works. . Carol Allen wrote Thank You letters to all who contributed including:

  • Jamie and Monique Coleman
  • Diane Lease and Dan Harris
  • Catherine Hill
  • Chad Pellerin
  • Travis Kenney
  • Lori and Matt Mitchell (Jax Brewery residents)
  • Albe McMeen
  • Ann and Dick Strub
  • Kyle Schonekas
  • John Reed and Jon Kemp

Other donations were given from:

  • VCPORA – $1000
  • FQC – $1500

Monday, February 17th, 2014 – Both FQC and VCPORA called independent Special Board Meetings was to discuss our strategy in dealing with the issues relative to FQMD. Brian Furness was asked
to attend as well since he is the FQC Appointee to FQMD and serves on the Government Committee. Everyone signed a Confidentiality Agreement and is bound by it to keep the discussions at this meeting strictly within those who were in attendance. (Confidentiality Agreements attached)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – Carol Allen, President VCPORA and Meg Lousteau, Executive Director and CoCo Garrett, President FQC, met with Helen Moreno, State Representative, who contacted us relative to our notice of suspension from FQMD. We met at her headquarters and explained our grievances and why we felt we needed to take the action we did. One of our main concerns is the enabling legislation of FQMD and how it has expanded its Mission over the years. Also of concern is the lack of structure, i.e. no Bylaws or published Guidelines from which to work. At this time, it is strictly at the will of the chair or vice-chair when something is done. It is very difficult for structured organizations such as ours to work productively with such lax standards. We also discussed the lack of professionalism displayed by the chair relative to personal attacks and comments about members of both FQC & VCPORA. Helena is going to discuss this with Ed Murray who was the author of the enabling legislation for FQMD.
Other issues discussed were:

  • Raising the fine from a maximum of $500 to one of $5000 after numerous offences. She is going to discuss this with JP Morrell
  • The issue of “standing” for both FQC & VCPORA. She is going to look into it.
  • Crime in the FQ – She wanted to know why it is being downplayed.
  • Article in Advocate – 2/18/14 indicates that Walt Leger is introducing a bill putting capital outlay money into building a hotel. (I could not locate the article.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – Appreciation Dinner for Yearend Donors who contributed $1,000 or more to this campaign. CoCo Garrett hosted the dinner at her home on Toulouse. A good time was had by all! In attendance were:

  • Alvin Albe
  • Yvette and Rufus Cressend
  • Barry Cooper
  • Carol and Doug Greve
  • Ginger Gould and David Speights
  • Debi and David Spencer (The Brown Foundation)

Monday, February 24, 2014 – Joint Legal Meeting with VCPORA @ VCPORA Headquarters
Susan Guillot, Chair of the Legal Committee and CoCo Garrett attended the meeting to discuss the pending cases that are currently in litigation with Smith-Stagg. (Susan will have a more detailed report.) Brian Wiggins, Jim Babst, Tony Marino, Jeff Morgan – all attorneys, were in attendance as well.
Topics included:

  • Hermes Bar – currently a BZA violation
  • Pat O’Brien’s – Jim Babst, attorney
  • Funky 544 – Question is our standing
  • Balcony Club
  • Golden Lantern
  • Hotel St. Helen – Lost their non-conforming use
  • Crawdaddy’s – 915 Decatur – Seems to be making an effort to comply with inventory %’s
  • 711 Bourbon – Seems to be in abeyance

Also of grave concern was the “threat” that Stuart Smith made to Robert Watters. Rich Webster contacted both Meg and CoCo for statements on how we felt about him making these comments. We jointly stated that “while Stuart represents us on land use issues, we knew nothing about his comments or actions relative to Robert Watters until we read them in the paper.”
Of discussion was dealing with Stuart.

  • If Smith Stag no longer was able to work with us, what would be an option. Filing fewer lawsuits would have to be considered. (Though we do not consider ourselves an overly litigious organization, we do so as a last resort after trying all other remedies.) Because of the City’s “laissez-fair” attitude, we are often compelled to use the law to initiate a solution.
  • Stuart Smith has been an advocate for both FQC and VCPORA for many, many years. We are immensely grateful for all that he has done for us and for the French Quarter.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 – Meeting with Nathan Chapman at his office to discuss communications with our respective memberships relative to our suspension from FQMD as well as our relationship with Stuart Smith.
Nathan Chapman, Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau, Dennis Alonzo, Wilma Heaton and CoCo Garrett were in attendance. Chris Costello was to come, but was delayed and didn’t make it. Everyone felt it was important for us to inform our memberships because of the publicity emanating from Stuart’s actions and on February 28, 2014 both FQC & VCPORA sent a notice to our memberships referencing our concern as well as restating the works that we have done over many years and what we will continue to do in the future. (Attached)
Other topics discussed included:

  • The Sound video and what should be included in it
  • We need musicians to participate in the video
  • Others need to reach out to the councilmembers – Carol A. will contact LaToya Cantrell.
  • CM Stacy Head attended the Government Committee meeting and said that she wanted the residents to be involved in the Management District. She also stated that she wanted Arno Bommer to be included in the sound evaluation. She also mentioned the Health Dept. being a part of that scenario.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 – Joint meeting at the home of Carol Allen to prepare for the meeting with Robert Watters and Kim Rosenberg set for Thursday, March 6th at 3:00pm to discuss grievances with FQMD and our current suspension from participation.
In attendance were the Board of FQC and the Executive Committee of VCPORA and Meg Lousteau, Executive Director, Carol Greve and Nathan Chapman who were both founding members of FQMD.
The main issues of concern were:

  1. The fact that the appointees of both FQC & VCPORA do not represent us. They vote independent of our Board and our organization. The same holds true for each commissioner on the Board. While they are appointed by their Boards, they do not represent them.
  2. Conclusion: This entity cannot be considered the “voice of the FQ”.
  3. There is an imbalance of residents vs commercial members.
  4. Conclusion: The legislation would have to be changed to amend the numbers.
  5. There are very loose guidelines to FQMD with no Bylaws or formalized structure and we find it continually difficult to deal with this erratic format.
  6. Conclusion: They should draft and publish formal bylaws, including an attendance policy; should require written Minutes for each committee; establish term limits for committee chairs and committee members. NOTE: Committees were not a part of FQMD until 2011.
  7. There is no formal Executive Committee.
  8. Conclusion: Formalize an Executive Committee and use this entity to design the Agenda’s AND distribute at least 72 business hours prior to the meeting. This should also be followed for materials distributed from committees prior to a meeting.
  9. There is no parliamentarian and therefore unacceptable behavior has been displayed at open meetings. The behavior of the commissioners should reflect the highest ideals of the organization and personal comments or attacks on others should not be tolerated.
  10. Conclusion: Institute strict rules of professional courtesy during all meetings.
  11. The geographical boundaries of FQMD are limited to the Vieux Carré. It has been stated that that does not hold true for the committees. Since committees were not formed when the legislation was enacted, this should not hold true.

Conclusion: FQMD must adhere to their enabling legislation and limit membership participation to those in the geographical boundaries currently established. They should be required to either work or live full time in the French Quarter.

At 8:00pm, Kim notified us that Robert had a meeting at City Hall and we would have to reschedule our meeting. A new time has not yet been set.

Personal Comment: Having just reread all of the meetings information just distributed by Kim, I am strongly leaning towards recommending that the residential organizations drop out of FQMD. They are expanding the scope of their work on the backs of our members who staff their committees and spend countless hours working for them. This same work could be done through either of our organizations and would be done from a perspective that more genuinely reflects the residential concerns and issues which is what we are all about.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 – Call from CM Kristin Gisleson Palmer
CM Palmer called to inform me of a “brain child” of Mary Cunningham who recommended that she orchestrate a President’s Council similar to one currently on the West Bank. She is trying to set something up this coming week at Café Istanbul for the Presidents of organizations within District C to meet and discuss the formation of such a group. Before I could get my thought together about it, Carol Allen wrote this to KGP and I find that I am of the same mindset.
“While I support the idea of coalitions, networking, helping each other out, speaking with one strong voice, etc., but I wonder how this would be formed on our side of the river. VCPORA and FQC are advocacy organizations. We are not “neighborhood organizations” that simply bring residents together to talk about what’s happening in the neighborhood. Advocacy is in our mission statements. I’m not sure about Treme, Marigny, St. Roch, or Bywater (now split into two groups, and I hear Marigny may be going down that same path), but the mission statements of organizations would seem to me to be a vital part of forming any productive coalition.

If the goal is to form an East Bank coalition of neighborhood organizations, I suggest there be a very clearly defined objective that we agree to collectively work on. Increased numbers of tourists without mitigating management, and noise, are huge for some of us on this side, but perhaps not for everybody. Nobody wants high rises, but is that an issue in St Roch and Treme? In other words, I don’t know what “glue” holds the Presidents’ Coalition in Algiers together.”

Comment: I am overly concerned about the time commitment it would take to be on the ground floor of initiating another organization. I would be willing to participate in preliminary talks, but the jury is still out on this one.

Submitted by: CoCo Garrett, President 2014

President’s Report, May 12, 2014

April 15, 2014 – Joint meeting with the “Downtown Neighborhood President’s Council” recommended by CM Kristin G. Palmer as a possible replication of a similar group that is formed on the Westbank called “Algiers Neighborhood President’s Council, Inc.” (This group is incorporated and has Bylaws.) Attached is the original list furnished to the participants. Jonathan Rhodes from St. Claude Main Street hosted the meeting. In attendance were: Miles Swanson, FMIA; Susan Brady, NSCAN; Derrick Floyd, FSRIA; Jessica Knox, HFTA; Jonathan Rhodes, St. Claude Mainstreet; Carol Allen, VCPORA; Meg Lousteau, VCPORA; Nick Lambert sitting in for someone? and possibly a few others. (There could have been a meeting prior to this, but I was not in attendance.) From my perspective, this was a “getting to know you” type meeting and a discussion on what the value of comprising such a group would bring to the table. Since many of us already work together, it was decided that formalizing ourselves into another group with bylaws, etc., was not necessary. It would be advantageous, however, for us to meet on a quarterly basis and discuss pertinent issues that confront all of the neighborhoods. Membership in this group will be limited to Presidents of Residential Organizations and Presidents of Historic Neighborhoods. The next meeting will be held at VCPORA Headquarters. (It was set for Thursday, May 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm, but this now conflicts with the Meet and Greet for CM Nadine Ramsey, so we will reschedule.)

April 18, 2014 – A conference call between Nathan Chapman, Carol Allen, Meg Lousteau and myself to discuss possible testimony before the Housing and Human Needs Committee of the City Council relative to the passing of the Sound Ordinance. Two main issues remain problems:

  1. The recent removal of the curfew on street performers is not acceptable. It encompasses the entire City and this ordinance was to be for Bourbon Street issues only. There has been no time to vet this addition and have public meetings with the residents.
  2. Also the removal of the ability to file for injunctive relief relative to excessive noise is not acceptable.
  3. Changing violations from a criminal offense and making them a “civil” matter needs to be addressed. “Disturbing the peace” has always been a criminal offense.

Dr. Arline Bronxzaft from NYC, a sound specialist, was asked to come and speak before the HHN Committee relative to her findings on the Woolworth report. FQC & VCPORA will share in paying her fee and expenses.

One favorable item was that the City is shifting the noise responsibility from the NOPD to the Health Department.

Recommendation: Ask for either a deferral on this ordinance or pull parts of it that affect the entire City or kill it till it can be worked on further.

April 21, 2014 – Housing and Human Needs Committee – This meeting started late (11am vs 10am and ended early 12:15pm) Contentious testimony took place from both sides on the above mentioned items. It will be voted on on Thursday, April 24, 2014 by City Council.

Monday afternoon – Executive Director Search Committee met at FQC Office. In attendance were: David Speights, Bonnye Pardo, Kate Simister and CoCo Garrett. Marlene Jaffe was out of town. Several suggestions were made to help expedite this search:

  1. Ask others for names of those people who they didn’t select for their Executive Assistant position.
  2. Ask for the name of the payroll company that many nonprofits use
  3. Discussed some of the responsibilities of the Executive Director.
  4. We need to find out if we have to pay Workman’s Compensation. (Thought is yes.)
  5. Discussed starting salary with no benefits but with possible opportunities for a bonus depending on the amount of money that they might raise for FQC.
  6. We need to list holidays and vacation times specifically.
  7. Ad needs to be placed soon and then allow 3 to 4 weeks for resumés to come in. Then the interview process would begin.
  8. Some suggestions for ad placements:
    a. VCPORA’s The View
    b. FQC eBlast
    c. Patio Planters’ The Punch
    d. Friends of the Cabildo News
    e. Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association’s Les Amis de Marigny
    f. Preservation Resource magazine
  9. Developing the ad (Kate Simister sent some suggested text.)

April 22, 2014 – Fundraiser meeting, Rodney Villarreal, Chair Also in attendance: Gary Wheat, Susan & Albin Guillot, René Fransen, Sharon Singleton, Jennifer Kelley, CoCo Garrett and Bernadette? Topics of discussion were many and varied, including:

  1. Possible location for the event – Saenger Theatre, Ballroom at NOAC, Custom’s House, Joy Theatre, Riverview Room at Jax Brewery, the Mint, Beauregard – Keyes House, Jackson Square, the Cabildo, Blue Room at the Roosevelt.
  2. Honorary Chair, possibilities – Sidney Torres, Brad Pitt, John Goodman, Sandra Bullock, Nicholas Cage.
  3. Celebrity Chef – John Folse (and Leah Chase), possibly
  4. Auction Gifts – Tiffany Jewelry (Cathy has a good contact there.)
  5. Music – Need to secure a place before hiring a band. Jennifer’s boyfriend, Billy, has agreed to offer his band for 1 hour at no charge. Billy’s band, THE TANGLE. Their lead singer is Darcy Malone who is the daughter of Dave Malone of the Radiators!!!
  6. Possibly having the 610 Stompers make an appearance as well.

I will leave the specifics and latest details to Rodney to report.

April 23, 2014 – Meeting with CM Kristin Gisleson Palmer re upcoming Sound Ordinance. In attendance: CM Palmer, Eric Granderson, Director/Local Govt Affairs, Office of the Mayor, Theresa ???, attorney with the City, Deborah Langhoff, Chief of Staff for KGP, Mark Tullos, Executive Director LSM, Diane Lease, Carol Allen, Nathan Chapman, Jonathan Harris.

Our main focus was to stress our areas of concern which were outlined above. Starting with the desire to focus STRICTLY ON BOURBON STREET! We stressed that we did not focus on street performers and now it is included. Theresa stated that this applied only to musicians and not jugglers, etc. Eric Granderson stated he sees “constitutional concerns” about this. We pointed out that this has been on the books since 1956 and it has never been challenged. Nonetheless, it is a concern now. “It goes to equal protection rights” as in the 5th Amendment.

CM Palmer stated that she was going to include that “if” passed, the enforcement would not begin until the Health Department (Charlotte Parent) is up and running. The Civil Service has received the list of applicants for positions within this department. There will be an RFP after they are selected for a consultant to provide training.

We also discussed the OSHA requirement which has 85dba as its maximum level. We also discussed the VCE and VCE-1 Districts. No commitments were made by KGP but we let her know that if our suggestions weren’t considered, that we would ask for the ordinance to be deferred or killed.

April 24, 2014 – Municipal, Parochial & Cultural Affairs Committee in Baton Rouge. Representative Helena Moreno put forth HB 789: Provides relative to penalties imposed for the violation of ordinances in the city of New Orleans. (To increase fines for the second or any subsequent offense to $1000 from $500.) Originally we were proposing an increase to $5000. Unfortunately we did not discuss what we would be willing to settle for if they made a counter proposal. Right before the hearing Chris Young (attorney for the bar owners) came in and said they would accept the increase to $1000 and the stipulation that any past fines could not be used against the violator. We said absolutely no to the stipulation of not using the fines and then agreed to the $1000. In hindsight, this was not a good strategy. We probably could have gotten a higher fine had we gone before the committee. Erin Holmes, Executive Assistant at VCPORA and I went to Baton Rouge with Brian Wiggins and met Jimmy Burland, lobbyist, while Carol Allen and Meg Lousteau went to City Council to oppose the Sound Ordinance.

April 24, 2014 – City Council hearing on Sound Ordinance, by CMs Gisleson Palmer and Head (by request) for – Sections 66-136, 66-137, 66-138. 66-139, 66-140, 66-141, 66-201, 66-204, and 66-205 of the Code of the City of New Orleans. After the hearing in Baton Rouge, Erin and I drove back to New Orleans to attend the Council meeting. During debate, CMs Guidry and Clarkson wanted to amend the curfew hours and definitions, CM Gray wanted to leave it “as is”. Louisiana Restaurant Association wanted to keep curfew “as is”. Ashley Keaton, attorney for the musicians, demanded they lift the curfew or she is going to file a law suit against the City. David Freedman, GM of WWOZ, testified against everything that we wanted and made disparaging remarks against VCPORA and Meg. Robert Watters and Kim Rosenberg represented FQMD and both spoke in favor of it. Final vote: Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Jackie Clarkson and LaToya Cantrell voted against the ordinance ~ KGP, John Gray and Susan Guidry voting for it. It did not pass.

April 25, 2014 – Meeting with Carol Greve to discuss a Meet and Greet for Nadine Ramsey in May (May 27th ) and an Orientation for Nadine Ramsey, Jason Williams and Jared Brossett in late June. Both functions will be co-hosted by FQC and VCPORA. The Meet and Greet will be held at my home – 930 Toulouse Street from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. We will serve wine and cheese/fruit and light hors d’oeuvres. We will send the invitation to the memberships of FQC and VCPORA. We will also invite Senator Ed Murray.

The Orientation is still in the planning stages, but basically will have the following format:

  1. General meeting with councilmembers to orient them to our neighborhood and provide them with some educational material to emphasize the correlation between historic preservation and economic development – stressing that it is not an either/or choice. (Possibly included would be the Executive Committees of both organizations.)
  2. A riding tour, either in a van or carriage, to point out styles of homes in the Quarter – both lower and upper Quarter – possibly 2 homes in each section would also be available to tour.
  3. Finale would be a light dinner served either in a private home or a local restaurant.

Anyone wanting to help with this planning is more than welcome to join in.

April 28, 2014 – Meeting with Brian Furness. In attendance: Brian, Susan Guillot and CoCo Garrett. Based on an email from Brian dated April 25th, Brian requested some direction on how FQC saw his role with us in the future. This was partially based on the recent defeat of the Sound Ordinance as well as our “suspension from FQMD”. Susan and I met with him and discussed his role on our QoL Committee and with STR. Previously he had been a co-chair with a VCPORA rep, but they have not had a rep since the first of this year. Basically the committee has more of less disbanded. We informed him that Meg had met with Miles Swanson, President of FMIA, and they are planning an event on Tuesday, May 20th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Burgundy and will invite others throughout the city to attend to discuss the growing problem of STR. Jonathan Harris at Stacy Head’s office has also been involved.

Brian also indicated that he would continue to work on the QoL Committee, but would not be the chairman.

We informed him of Vincent’s wish to move off the committee and that we will try and replace Vincent. We informed Brian that we were planning to meet with Robert Watters and Kim Rosenberg in the near future to discuss the future relationship between the residential organizations and FQMD. (Tentatively set for Monday, May 19th.)

May 5, 2014 – Conference call with Nathan Chapman, Carol Greve, Carol Allen re dates and time of the Meet and Greet for Nadine Ramsey.

May 7, 2014 – Meeting at Holy Angels hosted by NFB (Neighbors First for Bywater, Julie Jones, President) This was to discuss the NPP process pointing out that “overlay districts are exempt from the NPP process.” Robert Rivers is the Executive Director of CPC (City Planning Commission) Robert and Geoff Moen were there to discuss this process. (Mostly this was spurred on by the Holy Cross Project and the lack of public notice.)

Neighborhood Participation Program for Land Use Actions

The City Charter calls for “a system of organized and effective neighborhood participation in land use decisions and other issues that affect quality of life.” The purpose of the Neighborhood Participation Program for Land Use actions is to provide timely notification of any proposed land use action affecting a neighborhood and to provide the opportunity for meaningful neighborhood review of and comment on such proposals.

In July 2012, the City Planning Commission (CPC) adopted the Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) for Land Use Actions, a report recommending improvements to the CPC’s public notification and engagement processes. This report has been approved by the City Council and key portions have been implemented through changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

May 8, 2014 – City Council Meeting. Two big issues: Holy Cross project and an appeal of a VCC denial at St. Philip and Burgundy Streets for work done without a permit.

  • Holy Cross (Perez project) was approved – Jason Williams, Councilmember at Large was the only vote against it. Nadine Ramsey voted to approve the project.
  • VCC Denial – Upheld. Nadine Ramsey moved and Jason Williams seconded, to overturn the denial, but were voted down – 4 to 2 and the denial stands.

May 9, 2014 – Breakfast meeting with Senator Ed Murray at the home of Carol Allen. Main topic was the structure of FQMD and the residential groups continued participation in the group. (Subsequently a meeting was scheduled with Robert Watters and Kim Rosenberg for Monday, May 19th at 3:30pm.)

Senator Murray also mentioned an upcoming Bill being sponsored by Senator Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, “to promote an economic development district”. Senators Murray, Peterson and J.P. Morrell are very upset that no one from New Orleans is on this bill which affects them. It is not clear at this time what this is all about. Possibly is related to tourism; possibly could raise money for the City. Murray recommended that we watch the bill. The NOLA delegation is being left out of the planning.

Lastly, we discussed CM Ramsey and her new role and asked Senator Murray if he would like to attend our Meet and Greet for her on May 27th. He said he would check his calendar and let us know if he is available.

President’s Year-End Message to Members

There is a tide in the affairs of men
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
and we must take the current when it serves,
or lose our ventures.

William Shakespeare:  Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

 Dear French Quarter Citizens Members,

We close the year 2016 by looking upon the issues that we have faced together.  I thank all of you for your support as we work to protect our fragile historic neighborhood. While we have achieved spectacular success on several fronts, many serious issues threaten us, and many battles loom on the horizon. We must rally as never before to ensure that our unique French Quarter neighborhood will be here for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.

Many of you may recognize the quote cited at the beginning of this letter as a passage from William Shakespeare’s play Caesar.  After victory in a battle, two characters, Brutus and Cassius, are discussing whether they should stop, enjoy the victory, and catch their breath, or, attempt to win the war by heading once more into battle before the opposition can regroup. Cassius wants to rest, while Brutus strongly advocates for going into battle while the tide is with them. Brutus’s main point to Cassius is that one should always act while the ratio of forces is most advantageous. That we should not stop to pat ourselves on the back or rest on our laurels, but instead pick up our banner and continue to fight for our cause. “There’s a tide in the affairs of men,” he insists; power is a force that ebbs and flows in time, and one must “go with the flow.” If the opportunity is “omitted” (missed), it may be lost forever. In other words, we cannot afford to become complacent as there are so many issues that need our attention in the coming year.  However, as we close out the year, we will pause for a moment to recap 2016 before picking up our banner and continuing our fight.

One of the most critical issues we faced in 2016, was short term rentals. City Council took a crucial vote on this issue in October. Neighbors from all over the city stood together on this issue in a way that they never have before, and came in numbers that they never have before, to fight for their neighborhoods and their quality of life. When FQC sent out a “Call to Action” in October asking for you to be involved, you answered the call. You wrote your Councilmembers and turned out at City Hall in record numbers, some of you staying for over seven hours on the crucial day, to let the Council Members know that the effect of short term rentals is devastating our neighborhoods and our culture. Our letters and our presence did make a difference and the French Quarter obtained a stunning victory. The Council voted to 6 to 1 to prohibit all short term rentals in the French Quarter with the exception of the entertainment district on Bourbon Street. It was truly gratifying that the Council recognizes the value of the French Quarter and its significance to the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and the world. Unfortunately, however, the rest of the city did not fare as well. Although the Council appeared to ban whole house rentals city wide, in fact, they allowed them “through the back door” by refusing to require proof of homestead exemption to operate a “temporary” short term rental. This effectively allows whole house rental everywhere in the city except the French Quarter. The Council is relying on an enforcement initiative to prevent abuse of this category of rentals. Considering the history of enforcement in our City, we will be closely monitoring the proposed enforcement mechanism throughout the rest of this year and into 2017.

There is also good news this year on the French Quarter Task Force and its operations in the French Quarter.  Due to the continued involvement of Sydney Torres, the hard work of resident Bob Simms, and extra money provided by the City, the Task Force will be adding an additional officer, additional shifts, and an additional smart car to the patrol. The “blue light” of the smart cars is indeed a welcome sight in our neighborhood. Throughout this past year, French Quarter Citizens has kept you apprised of the crime statistics in the French Quarter. As we have seen, the Task force has made an enormous difference and we will continue to work closely with NOPD and French Quarter Management District to ensure that our neighborhood is protected.

On the preservation front, the law suit involving the Royal Cosmopolitan at 121 Royal could turn out to be a positive landmark decision for the French Quarter community. As you may recall, the developer of the old Royal Cosmopolitan Hotel is asking for a 90 foot waiver which City Council has approved, would add nine new floors to the current building. This will increase the height of the building from 178 feet to a whopping 268 feet, fronting onto Royal Street. The resulting skyline of the building would be grossly out of scale to the surrounding buildings.  The proposed development would have inadequate parking for guests, inadequate trash retention space, and drop off and pick up would completely eclipse Royal Street as a usable thoroughfare.  Despite the City Council’s approval, several resident groups are arguing that the waiver is counter to the Master Plan, which has the force of law.  If we are successful in the suit, we may set a precedent that will help our preservation efforts throughout the French Quarter for many years to come.

Finally, through the efforts of one of our board members, we were successful in limiting the size of trucks allowed in the French Quarter to 35 feet. This will go far in saving many galleries and balconies that were constantly being rammed, damaged, and in some cases entirely destroyed by oversized trucks attempting to negotiate and turn on our narrow streets. Again, enforcement of this ordinance is the key and remains a priority for French Quarter Citizens in 2017.

In 2017, we will also continue the fight against graffiti on our buildings as well as increased city taxes for sidewalk encroachments. We will need to be vigilant on short term rental enforcement issues and we must closely monitor proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance that propose spot zoning that could severely impact the make-up of our neighborhoods and diminish the residential quality of life in the French Quarter. Noise issues remain a severe problem disrupting our ability to live and work in the French Quarter. We will again need to make our voices heard.  Indeed, we have much to do.

Despite these intense preservation activities, we’ve had some great fun as well. Our Quarterly meetings and Pot Luck Dinners were blessed with great weather and these events are always a wonderful way to see our neighbors and to catch up on the preservation activities in the French Quarter. This year, we were fortunate to have many entertaining and informative speakers at each meeting.  Additionally, our 20th annual Progressive Dinner was a fabulous success once again.  Attendees were able to explore three exquisite apartments in the Pontalba and enjoy mouth-water dishes prepared by our local restaurants at each home and at the beautiful Bourbon Orleans. Priscilla Lawrence honored us by serving as the event Honoree. Her commitment to preservation is legendary. Additionally, we recognized Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizarro along with Joseph Zolfo, Producer of N.C.I.S. New Orleans, for their contributions to the French Quarter and our quality of life. A great time was had by all.

We are also pleased to have a wonderful new addition to our FQC staff.  Louise Saenz joined us in August as our Office Manager and Event Coordinator. Louise has valuable experience in managing websites, social media and press as well as experience managing the day to day operations of non-profit organizations.  She is also experienced at coordinating fundraising events. Although she joined FQC only a few months before our Progressive Dining fundraiser, she energetically jumped right in, proving herself to be a formidable office manager and event planner, by exercising her exceptional organizational skills in working with the 2016 Fundraising Committee and making this year’s event a spectacular success. We are delighted that she has chosen to work with us, and if you have not met her yet, please take some time to do so at the next quarterly meeting.

We hope all of you will continue to support French Quarter Citizens and the 2017 Board of Directors.  Although we have successfully addressed many critical issues this year, many remain that could have a lasting negative effect on our quality of life as we head into 2017.  Our success or failure will determine whether or not we, as residents, “will take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” I ask all of you to become involved and stay involved so we may protect the unique and fragile place we call home.

A safe and Happy New Year to you all!!


Susan Guillot, President

Progressive Dinner: November 4th

French Quarter Citizens

Requests the pleasure of your company at their

17th Annual Progressive Dinner

"Under the Big Top"

Friday Evening, November 4, 2011

6:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Showcasing New Orleans’ culinary excellence
hosted in beautiful private French Quarter homes

17th Annual Progressive Dinner

A four-course progressive feast prepared by award-winning chefs of New Orleans

6:30 p.m.

Cocktails, Hors d’Oeuvres and Salad

Presented by
Chef Darin Nesbit — The Bourbon House

1200 Rue Royale, the home of Dr. Lisa Donofrio and Brian Valzania
1215 Rue Royale, the home of Nina Tyler

8:00 p.m.

The Entrée

Presented by:
Chef Renee Bajeux — The Rib Room, Omni Royal Orleans

The Old Ursuline Convent

9:00 p.m

The Grand Finale

Presented by:

Brian Furness

In recognition of outstanding service and efforts in preserving the quality of life in the French Quarter

Music provided by:
DeAr AnNiE_gIrL AnD SeNsAtIoN BaNd

Feather up your Fascinators!

Co-Chairs of the Progressive Dinner:
John Burke, Frances Hegenberger, Catherine Hill,
CoCo Paddison, Leslie Perrin, Leslie Stokes, Kate Simister

Quality of Life

FQC was founded in 1994 to strengthen the quality of residential life in the French Quarter. Not surprisingly, we focus much of our effort in this area. FQC is heavily engaged in the current efforts to write a new ordinance to control noise; we insist on simple, straightforward, and easily enforced rules that protect and promote the music — not noise — for which New Orleans is justly famous. Cleanliness and sanitation has declined recently; FQC is helping lead an effort to identify and propose solutions to the challenges of keeping the French Quarter clean, having the trash collected on time, and reducing the number of trash containers littering our sidewalks. Other quality of life issues occupying our efforts and members include supporting the eradication of graffiti, promoting neighborhood consensus making Cabrini Park better for dogs and humans, strengthening controls on filming in the Quarter, making changes in parking regulations to favor residents, and getting the city to crack down on illegal short-term rentals that undermine the Quarter’s residential values.

Quarterly Pot Luck, March 20, 2014

The French Quarter Citizens Quarterly Pot Luck was held on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at the home of Gail Cavett.

Gail Cavett and Max Begue

Gail Cavett and Max Begue

Nadine Ramsey

Special guest, Council Member Nadine Ramsey


René J. L. Fransen

René J. L. Fransen is a landscape architect and owner of his firm whose philosophy is that “it can be done.” René has been featured in numerous national publications, included in well-known books on landscape architecture as well as being seen on the HGTV series “Homes Across America” for a garden he created for a Gothic residence on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans. René’s many travels have helped influence and guide his design work as he creates unique gardens for discerning clients in various environments. In 2005 René was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA) for the quality of his professional work. René has twice served on the Friends of the Cabildo Board as well as being on the Board of Save Our Cemeteries for many years. René is the past President of the Board of Longue Vue House and Gardens, a Trustee of the New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation and a member of the Steering Committee of Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane. He is a member of a variety of cultural and preservation organizations both locally and nationally. René has been a FQ resident since 1978 and a FQ homeowner since 1985.

Rodney Villarreal

Rodney Villarreal was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. He moved to Houston, Texas to study Interior Design at the Art Institute of Houston, and later trained under two well known interior designers, Richard Holley (Houston, Texas) and James Isola (New Orleans, Louisiana). Mr. Villarreal has owned his own design business for the past twelve years, and his work has been published in local and national publications. Four years ago, Mr. Villarreal moved from the Central Business District to the French Quarter. With all the historic beauty and benefits of living in the French Quarter, he soon also realized many of the issues that strain the French Quarter. It was at that point he decided to take action and joined VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens to work toward preserving the integrity of this national historic neighborhood. One of Mr. Villarreal’s personal interests is fundraising for non-profit organizations, which include St. Michael’s Special School, Immaculate Conception Church, and numerous others. He has been involved in fundraising for the past 12 years.

Save the Date, November 7, 2014 – FQC 20th Anniversary Gala

Friday, November 7, 2014 is the date of the FQC 20th Anniversary Gala. We hope that you’ll reserve the date and plan to join us! We are planning on an evening viewing the “Crescent” at the Riverview Room at Jax Brewery. It will be from 7 – 11 as we enjoy a fun filled evening complete with delicious food, terrific music and spectacular company surrounded by two magical scenes ~ the River and the French Quarter. More details will follow and remember, YOU too can be in on the planning. All you have to do is call Rodney Villarreal at 504. 289.9770.

Sooner than later ~ is the next Quarterly General Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner. Mark Thursday, June 19, 2014 at the home of Susan and Albin Guillot ~ 1130 rue Dauphine ~ 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Bring your favorite dish and remember, new neighbors and preservation minded friends are always welcome! (Post card reminders will be mailed soon.)

September 14, 2012

We Need YOU!

FQC is involved in many meetings and events. As a volunteer organization we need YOU, our membership, to join the members of the Board of Directors in supporting such efforts.

Right now, we are looking for members to join board member Vincent Marcello on a new task force to address parking issues in the French Quarter. Please contact Vincent at if you are interested in the aspect of French Quarter life.

Volunteers are also needed to help set up for the Quarterly Meeting on October 18th. Contact to volunteer.

Finally, volunteers are needed to help with the FQC Annual Dinner on November 2nd. All types of help are needed, especially in the solicitation of donations for the auction. Contact for more information.

To find out more about other volunteer opportunities, contact

FQC Welcomes New Members

The Membership Committe and FQC are pleased to welcome new members Brenda Maitland and Tim McNally, Chuck Garber and Rodney Villarreal (1000 block Esplanade Avenue), Kay Barnes Baxter (1000 block St. Philip St.), and Jennifer Kelly (1000 block of Esplanade).

Board Member Profile: Gioia Furness Petro

Gioia (Joya) Furness Petro is the Communications Committee Chair and editor of the FQC weekly publication, the eWrite and the FQC Write, the now annual printed FQC newsletter. A passionate advocate of life in our Vieux Carre neighborhood, Gioia agreed to join the FQC Board as a way of giving back to her beloved community and to help preserve what she finds so alluring.

Leadership and passion for all things French Quarter runs in the family; Gioia’s Father, Brian Furness was President of FQC in 2011. Gioia says working as the FQC eWrite editor is an ideal way to preserve the tradition of leadership started by her Father and hopes that the new weekly publication will extend the influence of our Association.

She welcomes input for the eWrite from our members because as she says, “our outreach is only as good as the communication we have with our members.” Gioia hopes the eWrite will foster more dialog between the Board and membership so that FQC becomes more fully what it is intended to be – a powerful advocate for FQ residents.

Gioia and her husband Alan Petro are 13 year residents of the French Quarter, choosing to settle here after a lifetime of living in various U.S. and international locations (Venezuela, Italy and Brazil). What drew her and her family here is that the French Quarter is a preserved but living neighborhood. Similar to European cities, the buildings may be hundreds of years old, yet modern life goes within these old walls. She loves the overall tout ensemble of the FQ and still marvels that one need not leave the 100 square blocks area to enjoy world class food, music and shopping.

Professionally, Gioia has worked most recently as a Technical Editor under contract to the U.S. Navy and the Department of Interior. Currently she endeavors to keep the wordy part of a new DOI mapping system on track and readable. She is also a licensed New Orleans tour guide.

Gioia is also well known for her scrumptious desserts – always a hit at the quarterly Membership meetings.

To contribute your articles and ideas to Gioia for future issues of the eWrite, please contact her at Submissions are requested by Wednesday, Noon, of the week they will appear.

Mark Your Calendar!

  • FQC Quarterly Meeting on October 18th at the home of Bill Miller and Linda Malin, 611 Dauphine St. 6-8pm. Its a Pot Luck Dinner so start planning your goodies!
  • FQC Annual Dinner is coming! November 2nd, details to be announced.

Street Closures

Paths to Progress road/lane closures, during construction hours of 5AM-7PM :

  • Burgundy from Dumaine to Barracks.
  • Dauphine from Esplanade to St. Philip
  • Royal from St. Ann to St. Louis.
  • Decatur from St. Louis to Dumaine, riverside lane
  • Dec.atur from Dumaine to St. Louis, southbound lane closure.
  • Esplanade N. Rampart bound: travel lane closure from Royal to N Rampart. Parking lane is now a travel lane.
  • Esplanade N. Peters bound: travel lane closure from N Rampart to Royal. Parking lane is now a travel lane.
  • Esplanade/Bourbon St intersection, from Barracks to Esplanade is currently closed due to a roadway patch on Esplanade Ave. There may be periodic travel lane closures due to the movement of construction equipment. A flag man is on-site to direct traffic.
  • Burgundy from Toulouse to Dumaine closure.

For more information about Paths to Progress, please direct all inquiries to:
Facebook: Paths2Progress

September 21, 2012

Set Your Night on Fire!
Can you help us get the flames going?

The theme of French Quarter Citizens’ Annual Dinner to be held on Friday, November 2, 2012, is “Set the Night on Fire.”


Because FQC is going to donate a portion of the proceeds of ticket sales and donations to the New Orleans Fire Department location at 317 Decatur Street which provides the French Quarter with critical emergency services.

Tickets will go on sale in early October so watch for your invitation and reply early as historically this event has sold out.

The Annual Dinner Committee is looking for volunteers to set up for the event as well as clean up on November 3rd. Please contact Fluffy Hegenberger at 504-343-3461 if you are able to volunteer.

Sponsorships levels and ticket prices will be as follows:

  • Benefactor Level@ $10,000. Includes 12 tickets to the Dinner, as well as to the Patron Party; special recognition in the event program, a reserved table and complimentary membership in FQC for 2013.
  • Mansion Level@ $5000. Includes 8 tickets to the Dinner, as well as to the Patron Party; special recognition in the event program, a reserved table and complimentary membership in FQC for 2013.
  • Colonial Level @ $2500. Includes 6 tickets to the Dinner, as well as to the Patron Party; special recognition in the event program, a reserved table and complimentary membership in FQC for 2013.
  • Townhouse Level @ $1500. Includes 4 tickets to the Dinner, as well as to the Patron Party; special recognition in the event program.
  • Cottage Level @ $1000. Includes 2 tickets to the Dinner, as well as to the Patron Party; special recognition in the event program .
  • Shotgun Level @ $500. Includes 1 ticket to the Dinner, as well as to the Patron Party ; special recognition in the event program.

Individual tickets will be available for both members and guests:

  • $175 Member
  • $200 Guest
  • $125 for those under 35 (includes a one year membership to FQC)

We look forward to you joining us on November 2, 2012!

The Wheels on the Red Bus Go ‘Round and ‘Round

You may have noticed in yesterdays Times-Picayune that a new tour bus operation has moved into the city and French Quarter. Brian Furness (a FQC board member), at the request of FQC President Brian Wiggins, responded to Times-Picayune reporter Katherine Sayre’s inquiry about FQC’s position on the introduction of double-decker tour buses.

As you can read in the article, he stated that the FQC generally has no concerns as long as the route was confined to “major streets” such as Decatur (North Peters) and North Rampart. These routes are currently permitted to over-the-road tandem axle buses, RTA buses, and other heavy vehicles. Contact with residential portions of the Quarter is very limited and, as Meg Lousteau (Executive Director of VCPORA) said in the aticle, might serve to carry tourists from the French Quarter to other areas of the city.

However, the article did not refer to the other points he made on our behalf:

  • FQC would strongly oppose extension of this service to the interior of the French Quarter, which is too constrained to permit operation without risking damage, particularly to our historic infrastructure.
  • The French Quarter community continues to have problems with operation within the French Quarter of illegal over-the-road buses (anything over 31 feet long) ignorant of or defying existing law with little if any visible enforcement. FQC is also concerned by the continued operation of heavy trucks, including semi-trailers and trash collection vehicles, which are not regulated by the city.
  • FQC has been pleased with the operation of pedicabs. FQC supported the introduction of pedicabs, which have provided valuable transportation services without affecting vehicular and other traffic.
  • FQC supports Council Member Palmer’s efforts to discipline the use of “party buses” by requiring CPNCs, and other measures.
  • So, as it stands now, the FQC is glad to welcome a new business to the French Quarter and hopes it will help more visitors explore and enjoy not only the French Quarter but also the rest of our wonderful city.

Board Member Profile: Catherine Hill, PhD

Catherine Hill, Secretary of the Board of French Quarter Citizens, is passionate about the French Quarter where she has been a resident for over 12 years. Says Catherine, “It was the history, beauty, charm and sense of community that helped me decide to call the French Quarter home.” That passion and a strong desire to contribute to her community led her to volunteer to work with French Quarter Citizens, where she has served on the FQC Board for the past five years.

What Catherine finds most attractive about living in the Vieux Carre is the abundance of music events that go on year round in the neighborhood. She says “I love being able to open my door, walk a few blocks and take in some of the best music in the country. We are lucky to have all that we have – festivals, concerts and other cultural offerings – right here in the French Quarter community.”

Catherine is co-owner of two health care businesses based in New Orleans and is known for her expertise in managed care. Her knack for organization shines through in everything she does. In addition to serving as Secretary to the Board, Catherine is also Co-Chair of the FQC Annual Dinner, our major fundraising event. She was the FQC Treasurer 2008-2009. She was recently elected to the Board of Odyssey House.

A major focus of Catherine’s work in the French Quarter over the past several years has been emphasizing the need to improve the condition of sidewalks throughout the area. She says the recent new sidewalks installed in front of her own home were completed very quickly with minimal disruption to her daily routine.

On weekends, Catherine enjoys spending time with friends in the French Quarter. Like many residents, she marvels that you don’t need to get in your car to have a great time over the weekend. Catherine is an avid gardener and reader.

Catherine invites you to volunteer your time to help with the FQC Annual Dinner which will be held Friday, November 2. You can reach Catherine at

Mark Your Calendar!

  • FQC Quarterly Meeting on October 18th at the home of Bill Miller and Linda Malin, 611 Dauphine St. 6-8pm. Its a Pot Luck Dinner so start planning your goodies!
  • FQC Annual Dinner is coming! Set your Night on Fire on November 2nd, at 317 Decatur. Details in this newsletter.
  • The Historic New Orleans Collection Fall 2012 Concerts in the Courtyard begins tonight with the Paul Soniat, 6-8 p.m. Admission $10. Line up at The Historic New Orelans Collection.
  • Jazz in the Park (Armstrong Park) Series. Thursdays, starting September 20, at 5 p.m. Line up at People United for Armstrong Park.

Street Closures

Paths to Progress road/lane closures, during construction hours of 5AM-7PM :

  • Burgundy from St. Philip to Esplanade closure.
  • Dauphine from Esplanade to St. Philip closure.
  • Royal from St. Ann to St. Louis closure.
  • N. Peters from St. Louis to Canal, southbound lane closure.
  • Esplanade N. Rampart bound: travel lane closure from Royal to N Rampart. Parking lane is now a travel lane.
  • Esplanade N. Peters bound: travel lane closure from N Rampart to Royal. Parking lane is now a travel lane.
  • Starting today, Burgundy beginning at Canal St., will begin the additional sidewalk removal and replacement. The roadway will not be closed, but No Parking signs in the area will be posted. There may be intermittent closures for brief periods of time while the larger construction equipment is in the area.

For more information about Paths to Progress, please direct all inquiries
Facebook: Paths2Progress

September 28, 2012

2013 FQC Ballots

It’s election time again! No, not THAT election. It’s time to cast your votes for the 2013 FQC board. By now you should have received you ballots and candidate profiles. And the handy-dandy pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelope to cast your ballot with.

Please take a moment to make your selections and drop your completed ballot in the mail. Ballots need to be returned by October 12th.

Paths to Progress Begins New Phase

Starting on October 1st. (Monday), Paths to Progress will start milling the river-to-lake streets in the Quarter (see side bar for details). The Milling machine removes 2 inches of asphalt on the existing roadway and then repaves with 2 inches of new asphalt.

During paving operations, there will be period of time during construction hours (approx. 2-3 hours) that absolutely no vehicular traffic can drive on fresh asphalt

As you may have noticed, as part of the improvements, ADA compliant ramps are being installed. You may also have noticed the asphalt “patches” thrown on the ramps. According to Paths to Progress, in order for the ADA ramps to be used during construction, “a temporary asphalt patch must be installed for accessibility and compliance, if needed.” When milling and paving operations begin, the temporary asphalt patch will be removed and replaced with the permanent asphalt surface.

Board Member Profile: Brian R. Furness

Since moving to New Orleans from Washington, D.C. seven years ago, Brian Furness has worked to help reshape the conditions under which we live, interact and prosper within the French Quarter.

Growing up in rural Connecticut, his environment was one of neighborhood. Says Brian, “In a rural area, there exists a real sense of community where people truly feel connected.” That sense of community led Brian to the presidency of the Washington D.C. Capitol Hill Restoration Society, one of the largest, oldest community member-driven organizations in the D.C. area with about 1,000 members.

Brian brought that same passion for civic affairs with him to New Orleans. He and his wife Charlotte purchased 1031 St. Ann where they currently operate Gentry House Bed and Breakfast. Brian volunteered at North Rampart Main Street Inc. (NRMSI) and chaired the Economics Committee. For VCPORA, Brian edited the print newsletter. Brian’s involvement caught the attention of CoCo Garrett, then President of FQC, who invited Brian to join the FQC Board. In 2009, Brian chaired the writing of new Bylaws, and in 2010 and 2011 Brian served as FQC President.

As a former FQC President, current Board member, and FQC-representing Commissioner to the French Quarter Management District, Brian seeks to build bridges and foster cooperation among various groups to foster progress despite the inevitable pressures and conflicts inherent in seeking to do so. The key, according to Brian, is persistence and, as he says, being “a tooth with long roots.”

Brian’s background prepared him well for community activism. During his professional career, Brian was a U.S. Foreign Services Officer with tours in Caracas, Milan, Rome and Brasilia where he developed expertise in handling global trade and economic issues. This required an understanding of complicated issues and the ability to frame these issues in writing in a way that makes it possible for people to easily grasp the issues and take meaningful action.

Brian’s knack for articulating a position and possible solutions that affect the FQ contributes to the quality of residential living. Throwing himself into issues, Brian is most passionate about preserving and improving the quality of life and living conditions for all citizens.

As the FQC representative to the FQMD, Brian chairs the Sanitation Task Force which focuses on noise, sanitation and trash collection issues. Additionally, he is interested in historic preservation, zoning and land use and the implications and impact of those laws and regulations on the residential quality of life in the FQ.

When not working on community projects, Brian loves meeting and talking with his B & B guests who come to visit from the US and overseas. Says Brian, “ I enjoy explaining the history of the city and helping our guests understand the complexities, the architecture and diversity that have gone into making the FQ such a great place to live. “

One thing Brian and Charlotte could never give up is being within walking distance to the home of their daughter, Gioia Furness Petro and her husband. Gioia is also a member of the FQC Board and is the chair of the Communications Committee. They also love the local appreciation for fine cuisine and appreciate how people here care about food – reminds them of Italy! Brian is equally devoted to the Saints and follows soccer avidly.

Brian welcomes your involvement in the causes about which he is so passionate. You can reach him at

Mark Your Calendar!

  • FQC Quarterly Meeting on October 18th at the home of Bill Miller and Linda Malin, 611 Dauphine St. 6-8pm. Its a Pot Luck Dinner so start planning your goodies!
  • Dedication of St. Anthony’s Garden, St. Louis Cathederal, 10:30 am, Saturday, September 29th.
  • FQC Annual Dinner is coming! Set your Night on Fire on November 2nd. Location to be announced!

Street Closures

Paths to Progress road/lane closures, during construction hours of 5AM-7PM :

  • Burgundy from St. Philip to Esplanade closure.
  • Dauphine from Esplanade to St. Philip closure.
  • Royal from St. Ann to St. Louis closure.
  • N. Peters from St. Louis to Canal, southbound lane closure.
  • Esplanade N. Rampart bound: travel lane closure from Royal to N Rampart. Parking lane is now a travel lane.
  • Esplanade N. Peters bound: travel lane closure from N Rampart to Royal. Parking lane is now a travel lane.

Starting October 1 (Monday), street milling will start in the order listed:

  1. Burgundy
  2. Esplanade
  3. Royal
  4. Toulouse
  5. St Louis
  6. Decatur/N Peters
  7. Dauphine

Milling machine removes 2” of asphalt on the existing roadway, paving with 2” of new asphalt. During paving operations, there will be period of time during construction hours (approx. 2-3 hours) that absolutely no vehicular traffic can drive on fresh asphalt.

For more information about Paths to Progress, please direct all inquiries to:
Facebook: Paths2Progress

Shine the Light

Quality of Life Committee

French Quarter Citizens Security Task Force

“Shine the Light” 

The Quality of Life Committee has unveiled its 2012 initiative is to improve the lighting of homes and businesses throughout the French Quarter.

Vincent Marcello made a presentation at the FQC Quarterly meeting on March 15th to announce this initiative. A map of the FQ was made available for FQC members to sign up to become a block captain. Block captains survey their area to determine where there are buildings that need to be lit, as well as to note street lamps that are not working. Once the surveys are completed (goal is by April 30) a list of homes and businesses that are not lit will be compiled. A letter will be sent to the property owner requesting that they join us in the “Shine the Light” initiative by turning their house lights on, or asking their tenants to turn the lights on. We will include information on the names of several electricians who will repair or install exterior lighting after obtaining a permit from the VCC. Chuck Ransdell will have all of the necessary paperwork ready to obtain VCC approval and he can be reached at 504-451-8731.

The phone number where people can report street light outages is 504-658-8080.

Short Term Rental – Report a Violation

On December 1, 2016, the City Council passed an ordinance that is intended to regulate Short Term Rentals.  The Ordinance went into effect on April 1.   The purpose of the ordinance is to limit and reign in the expansive growth of the STRs citywide, to eliminated full-time, whole home rentals in residential neighborhoods, create equitable regulations for the hospitality industry, generate revenue for the City and minimize nuisances and prioritize enforcement.

     As of April 1, ANY Short Term Rental operating in the French Quarter, 

                        Outside of the entertainment district on Bourbon Street

is operating illegally!!!!

Although the Ordinance prohibits short term rentals in the French Quarter except for the 200-700 block of Bourbon, it must be enforced to be meaningful.  Additionally, under the new ordinance, STRs ARE allowed in the rest of the City, on a limited basis.  Therefore, enforcement is necessary to protect not only the French Quarter from all attempts to operate an STR but also to ensure that our sister neighborhoods are protected from potential bad operators that do not follow the rules.   

The enforcement plan will include penalties for all violations. Residents of the French Quarter should be well informed on the procedure for reporting violations and the penalties attached to those violations.

The City is planning for a technology-driven research staff to collect data from the web and process that against the City’s licensing data.  Airb&b has agreed to sign a collection agreement with the City to collect taxes and fees and will provide information on the operator of the short term rental property. The platform will also provide the number of STRs operating during a given period and anonymous information on the number of nights each listing was rented. If the an operator is violating the 90 day/5 times per year limit,  the City can then contact the platform and obtain the specific identification of a suspected violator listing including

  • Name
  • Listing address
  • Tax address
  • Contact information (email address, phone number)
  • Type A, Type T, and Commercial
  • Proof of attestation

The following violations are subject to penalties and will apply to the parts of the City where limited STRs are allowed:

  • To advertise without a license
  • To fail to post license number in the listing,
  • To advertise beyond the scope of the license

As mentioned above, these violations would only apply to the 200-700 block of Bourbon Street.  STRs are prohibited everywhere else in the French Quarter and an attempt to operate one is an automatic violation of the law.

Penalties, which will apply to ALL illegal short terms rentals will include:

  • Daily fines
  • Property liens
  • Revocation of permit
  • Discontinuation of electric service

Complaint based enforcement

Whenever the French Quarter prohibition is violated, or an operator exceeds the allowable operating time in other parts of the City, a complaint must be made.  A violation can be reported by a phone hot line, or by filling out a form on the web.

A complaint can be submitted by calling 311 or using the online form. The complaint will then be entered into a data base and assigned to an inspector.  The inspection is performed and the complaint will be classified as founded or unfounded.  If the complaint is deemed to be founded, the owner will be noticed and an Administrative adjudication Hearing will be set.  If the hearing reveals a violation, fines will be assessed and they are not paid, a lien will be placed on the property, and the license may be revoked.

     Web-based enforcement

Additionally, IT specialists hired by the City will be checking data on the platforms for potential excessive usage. They will also long in the data provided by Airb&b.  If a violation is found, the operator will be investigated.  If valid, fines will be assessed and/or liens placed on the property. In some cases, the electric service will be shut off. 



Slate of nominees for the 2015 FQC Board

The Nominating Committee has selected a Slate of nominees for the 2015 FQC Board. The Slate was approved by the 2014 Board of Directors.

The elected members of the Slate will be introduced to the membership at the October 23rd Pot Luck, which will be held at 914 Bourbon street. The new Board will begin their term of office on January 1, 2015 and serve until December 31, 2015.



Glade Bilby II has been a commercial photographer/director for over 37 years with many advertising, editorial and political clients, including Mignon Faget Ltd. He has been a resident of the French Quarter since 1977.  Initially a renter, he has known the “joys of home ownership” for the past 35 years.  His first location was in the 600 block of Ursulines Avenue.  Twenty-two years ago he moved to an 1834 house in the 600 block of Esplanade Avenue that needed extensive renovations.  This has given him a unique perspective to watch the flavor and popularity of the French Quarter neighborhood change in many ways.  While it is important to remember the past, it is the present struggle that we fight for.  An issue that has plagued the residents of the French Quarter for years, both by the City and its tourists, has been the lack of true awareness of our unique architecture.  As the City spends tens of millions of dollars to attract tens of millions of visitors, an effort must begin to raise the level of awareness of the fragility and uniqueness of our neighborhood.  All of our various citizens and grass roots organizations are important. With things that are happening to us, we begin to learn that nothing is impossible to solve – just move forward.
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Angela Bowlin attended undergraduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge and law school at Tulane University. She has been admitted to the Louisiana State Bar since 1991 and has been in private practice since that time. She has been involved in civic activities since before college. After law school she joined the New Orleans Junior League and continues to be a sustaining member. She also served on the board of Project Lazarus from 2008 to 2014 and has served on fundraising committees for various charities in New Orleans. In addition, she is a member of Muses and several legal community organizations. When Angela originally moved to New Orleans she lived on St. Charles Avenue, but almost 18 years ago she decided to move to the French Quarter. For the first year she lived on St. Ann near Burgundy, but then moved to the 800 block of Royal Street where she has lived ever since.  She has very much enjoyed living in the French Quarter and has no intention of leaving any time soon. She would be delighted to serve on the board of French Quarter Citizens as she is committed to understanding the problems of the French Quarter and making the French Quarter a better place for its residents.
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Gail Cavett grew up in Morgan City, LA, which was like growing up in Mayberry. She was active in high school sports, band, and student activities. She attended LSU in Baton Rouge after which she was a flight attendant for TWA based in New York, where she met and married her former husband, an Entertainment Lawyer in Beverly Hills, California, where she lived until divorcing and returned to Louisiana. Later, Gail took a job in Iran to run an oil service company owned by friends that she had grown up with. She left Iran when the revolution broke out and the Shaw was deposed. She returned to Louisiana and started her own business, La. Gourmet Seafood and Catering, based in Morgan City, which she owned and operated for 25 years. She retired after Katrina. She maintained a part-time residence in the French Quarter for 25 years and has been a full time resident since Katrina. Three years ago she purchased her new home, the Antoine Cruzat House, at 1009 St. Louis Street. Two years ago she received the FQBA Ambassador Award for volunteer work in the Quarter. Currently she chairs the French Quarter Management District Infrastructure Committee, working on initiatives that include the On-Street Bike Corral Pilot Program for the FQ, the development of a Comprehensive Transportation Plan for the FQ, and the FQBA-inspired Vieux Carré Graffiti Abatement Program.
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René J. L. Fransen is a landscape architect and owner of his firm whose philosophy is that “it can be done.”  René has been featured in numerous national publications, included in well-known books on landscape architecture as well as being seen on the HGTV series “Homes Across America” for a garden he created for a Gothic residence on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.  René’s many travels have helped influence and guide his design work as he creates unique gardens for discerning clients in various environments.  In 2005 René was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA) for the quality of his professional work. René has twice served on the Friends of the Cabildo Board as well as being on the Board of Save Our Cemeteries for many years. René is the past President of the Board of Longue Vue House and Gardens, a Trustee of the New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation and a member of the Steering Committee of Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane.  He is a member of a variety of cultural and preservation organizations both locally and nationally. René has been a FQ resident since 1978 and a FQ homeowner since 1985.
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Susan Guillot is a full time resident of the French Quarter.  She and her husband Albin own a residence on the 1100 block of Dauphine. Susan received a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters of Business Administration, before obtaining a law degree and is now a practicing attorney.  After earning her JD, Susan specialized in general business litigation.  After relocating to New Orleans from Houston, Texas she was admitted to the Louisiana bar.  Susan is active in French Quarter Citizens, Patio Planters, and Friends of the Cabildo. Susan served previously on the Board of French Quarter Citizens as Chair of the Legal Committee from 2009 through 2011.  She has donated time to VCPORA in an effort to address the issue of distressed properties on Decatur Street.  She believes the French Quarter is an invaluable resource on many levels and that the quality of life in the French Quarter can be best served by achieving balance that solidly maintains historical integrity while allowing it to function as the living, breathing neighborhood that it always has been.
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Chad Pellerin completed a sociological study of the art community in the French Quarter to obtain her graduate degree at LSU. She worked for the Health Department as a state health planner while attending Loyola Law School. She clerked at the Supreme Court for Chief Justice Frank Summers and Harry Lemmon. After many years in private practice she accepted employment to investigate ethical complaints against attorneys for the Louisiana Disciplinary Board. For the last 20 years she defended law suits against the state agencies as an Assistant Attorney General. Chad has resided in the French Quarter for 45 years and resides in a home owned by her family since the 1940’s.
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Rodney Villarreal was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. He moved to Houston, Texas to study Interior Design at the Art Institute of Houston, and later trained under two well known interior designers, Richard Holley (Houston, Texas) and James Isola (New Orleans, Louisiana). Mr. Villarreal has owned his own design business for the past thirteen years, and his work has been published in local and national publications.  Five years ago, Mr. Villarreal moved from the Central Business District to the French Quarter. With all the historic beauty and benefits of living in the French Quarter, he soon also realized many of the issues that strain the French Quarter. It was at that point he decided to take action and joined VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens to work toward preserving the integrity of this national historic neighborhood. One of Mr. Villarreal’s personal interests is fundraising for non-profit organizations, which include St. Michael’s Special School, Immaculate Conception Church, and numerous others. He has been involved in fundraising for the past 12 years and is currently serving as Chair of FQC’s 20th Anniversary Gala Committee.
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Gary Wheat was born and raised in Baton Rouge, graduated from LSU and worked for the State of Louisiana for most of his professional career. After retiring, he moved to the French Quarter and lived in the 700 block of Barracks Street for 1.5 years. For the last 2.5 years he and his partner Craig Guidry have lived in the 1000 block of Esplanade. They enjoy traveling, entertaining friends, LSU and Saints football, and of course eating their way through the great and small restaurants of NOLA.  Now, after 4 years of FQ living, Gary is ready and willing to get more involved and lend any skills and time that he can offer to FQC to help guard and promote the quality of life here. He is 59 years old, retired from a 30-year career of government service, and currently works from home on a part-time basis as a legal assistant for 2 of his long-time friends, Lewis and Reed Attorneys, whose offices are at 1005 Governor Nicholls.  Gary’s professional skills include an understanding of governmental processes and insight into the areas of situation analysis, conflict resolution, problem-solving, along with a working knowledge of office-oriented computer programs.
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Rob White first visited New Orleans in 1969, when he marched in a Mardi Gras parade as a member of a college ROTC drill team. His impression could not be accurate: berthing on a Navy ship was not New Orleans night life, eating from the ship’s galley was not New Orleans cuisine. The people and the buildings, however, were delightful, warm and welcoming. Two decades later it would be his wife who brought him back, at first as tourists, then visitors, then frequent visitors during the 1990’s. As the time came to plan for retirement and where they wanted to end up, they decided it would be here. On Valentine’s Day of the Millennium they bought their final home. He now does some legal consulting for clients in Texas, where he maintains his law license. He has not pursued a Louisiana license because that sounds dangerously close to real work.  It used to perplex him to discover people around the country who are very negative toward New Orleans. One day he figured it out. Two views are available when walking through the French Quarter: you can look up or you can look down. Visitors who look only down leave New Orleans and never return. Rob cannot blame them, since if his only view of the world were a Bourbon Street gutter, he would also run. Visitors who look up will catch the magic and the wonder. They will return as often as they can, and will dream of it when they are not here. Since becoming a resident, Rob has worked to preserve his upward gaze while at the same time watching where he steps.
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Stop the Noise!

Is your neighborhood experiencing excessive noise? For a nominal fee, our monitoring expert can measure the nuisance in your area. To find out more, please submit this online form and we will contact you to see if we can include your problem in our study.

Suit filed to help protect French Quarter from out of scale development

121 Royal

(rendering by Harry Baker Smith Architects)

Save the French Quarter: Protect the Master Plan




French Quarter Citizens Inc., the Louisiana Landmarks Society, Smart Growth for Louisiana, the Preservation Resource Center, the Vieux Carré Property Owners and Residents and Associates, (VCPORA) along with three individual French Quarter residents and/or business owners filed for a preliminary injunction in Civil District Court today to stop the New Orleans City Council from further action in approving the development of a high-rise hotel, known as the Royal Cosmopolitan, located at 121 Royal Street.

The City Council approved a conditional use and waiver of height restrictions for the project, which the litigants claim is in violation of City Charter Sections 5-404(3)(c), 5-406 (i.e. the Master Plan), and the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) 16.6.4. and 16.6.5.

Pending trial, the named plaintiffs, including residents, business owners, preservation organizations and neighborhood advocacy groups will also ask the Court for a declaratory judgment that, as a matter of law, the Council’s recent approval of this project is in violation of the Master Plan and therefore null and void.  Such an order from the Court would prevent the Royal Cosmopolitan zoning proposal from going forward in its current state.

“The project is not consistent with its land use designation in the Master Plan, which has the force of law. Nor is it consistent with the Master Plan’s historic preservation chapter,” said Sandra Stokes, Chair of Advocacy for Louisiana Landmarks Society. “The variances required are extraordinary. There are no special circumstances that are particular to the property to justify this kind of exceptionality. Moving forward with this project despite it being in direct and clear violation of the Master Plan is not only illegal, but would set a precedent that would render the Master Plan and recently adopted CZO effectively obsolete.”

According to the lawsuit, protection and preservation of the Historic Vieux Carré is mandated by the State Constitution, and even the Louisiana Supreme Court has noted the importance of preserving the quaint and historic character of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods as the foundation of the City’s economic engine. The New Orleans City Planning Commission recommended the Royal Cosmopolitan project be denied for many of these same reasons, and last year, the Louisiana Landmarks Society put the New Orleans Master Plan on its “Nine Most Endangered List”.

“The City Council acted arbitrarily and capriciously, ignoring the law and the recommendations of its own planning body to approve a development which, according to the city’s own City Planning Commission, would have a negative impact on adjacent land uses and would substantially alter the character of this portion of the French Quarter, which is essentially the entrance to the Historic Vieux Carré,” the lawsuit states.

The Council majority acted on Nov. 5, 2015 to approve the out-of-scale 190-foot hotel, with only At Large Member Stacy Head and District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry opposing. The project is located in Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey’s District, which includes the French Quarter.

“This is a high rise in the middle of a block – in a National Register Historic District,” said Peter Trapolin, architect. “It will be disastrous during the construction period, blocking Royal Street traffic and businesses for close to two years. There is no access to even get material to the site.  You will have to either hoist it over the existing buildings – or drag it through the front door of the historic hotel.   And once built, every bar of soap, every piece of laundry, every delivery and service truck will have to stop on Royal Street– since there is no parking and no loading.”

Litigants claim the City Council must respect the city’s Master Plan’s force-of-law provisions regarding existing height, scale, density, and character of a neighborhood. According to the City Charter, the City Council’s approval is null and void because “[any zoning ordinance or amendment adopted by the Council must be consistent with the Master Plan. Inconsistent ordinances and amendments shall be null and void as provided by Section 5-404(3)(c).”

“Although there are examples of a few tower hotels within the district, these hotels are exceptions to the norm, built in the 1970s and 80s, and do not reflect the current context in which the goals of the Master Plan were established. The development proposal is inconsistent with the site’s Mixed Use Downtown future land use designation, which requires new development to be sensitive and appropriate when situated near or within historic districts,” said Carol Gniady, French Quarter Citizens.

Furthermore, the approval of the conditional use and waiver of the height restriction exceeds the authority granted to the City Council under the CZO because the City Council waiver failed to address and meet the required benchmarks in the law required to grant the conditional use and the waiver of the height restrictions, argues the suit. The City Planning Commission noted such in its Reasons for Recommendation for Denial:

  1. The proposed tower is excessive, out-of-scale, and fundamentally incompatible with its surroundings. The site is located in a portion of Canal Street where building height is limited to 70 feet in order to ensure that new construction respects the scale and character of this historic commercial corridor comprised predominantly of four (4) to six (6) story buildings.
  1. The waiver of the Central Business District Height and Floor Area Ratio Interim Zoning District’s height limit cannot be justified. The request does not fulfill any of the three (3) standards for waivers of Interim Zoning Districts, as contained in Article 16, Section 16.4.5 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The proposal is inconsistent with the general intent of the IZD.
  1. The proposal is inconsistent with the Master Plan. The tower addition does not relate to the predominant development form of the area nor is it even at all sensitive to the architectural aesthetic of the Canal Street and Vieux Carré districts. The proposal is also not consistent with the Master Plan’s historic preservation chapter, which emphasizes the importance of historic structures in giving the city its character and linking its identity with its cultural heritage.

“The purpose of the Master Plan was to eliminate the kind of ad hoc, special-interest-driven decision making that we are seeing with this development,” said attorney William Borah, President of Smart Growth for Louisiana. “The citizens of New Orleans spent years amending the City Charter and creating a Master Plan to provide predictability, with a clear set of rules that everyone was required to follow.

“Yet here we are, only three months since the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance was implemented – a zoning ordinance required to be consistent with the Master Plan — and already the City Council is breaking its own set of rules to appease a particular developer. Simply put, the Royal Cosmopolitan proposal is not consistent with the Master Plan and is in clear violation of the new zoning ordinance. The Master Plan, which has the force of law, was voted in by citizens to prevent just this type of egregious behavior. Thus, we now turn to the court,” said Mr. Borah.

Added Architect Trapolin, “There is nothing unique about this property that warrants the type of variances required. And there is no going backwards from this mistake.  This project will irreparably harm the French Quarter for the rest of eternity.  It is simply the wrong project in the wrong place.”


Contact Justin Winch (504) 593-9600 or Devin Johnson (504) 897-6110

Super Bowl Closures

The craziness begins!

CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square: Decatur Street from Wilkinson Row to Madison will be closed from 12 am-4 am on the following days:

  • Tuesday, January 15
  • Wednesday, January 16
  • Thursday, January 17
  • Tuesday, February 5
  • Wednesday, February 6

The closures will also affect the horse carriages along Decatur Street. They are preparing to be relocated on the following days:

  • January 14-16, 2013
  • January 21-22, 2013
  • February 4-5, 2013

The current crew hours for broadcasts and/or taping is as follows:

  • Sunday, January 27: 7am – 11pm
  • Monday, January 28: 8:30am-1am
  • Tuesday, January 29: 4am -1am
  • Wednesday, January 30: 6:30am-12:30am
  • Thursday, January 31: 3am-12:30am
  • Friday, February 1: 3am-12:30am
  • Saturday, February 2: 3am-11:30pm
  • Sunday, February 3: 4am-end of day

The CBS main compound will be at the French Market parking lots behind Washington Artillery Park so visitor parking will be limited.

ESPN at Jax Brewery Lots: ESPN will be filming over 120 hours of broadcasts the week of Super Bowl from the Jax Brewery parking lots off Decatur. There will not be any full road closures during the load in period; however, there will be Intermittent Traffic Control administered by the NOPD beginning on Thursday, January 23, at 12:01am until midday to bring large trucks onto the site.

For more information, (includes closure maps, Mardi Gras closures).

Katie Williams of the Film New Orleans office is your contact for film crew issues: (504) 658-0923 (office), (504) 329-0665 (cell),

Susan Guillot

Susan Guillot is a full time resident of the French Quarter. She and her husband Albin own a residence on the 1100 block of Dauphine. Susan received a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters of Business Administration, before obtaining a law degree and is now a practicing attorney. After earning her JD, Susan specialized in general business litigation. After relocating to New Orleans from Houston, Texas she was admitted to the Louisiana bar. Susan is active in French Quarter Citizens, Patio Planters, and Friends of the Cabildo. Susan served previously on the Board of French Quarter Citizens as Chair of the Legal Committee from 2009 through 2011. She has donated time to VCPORA in an effort to address the issue of distressed properties on Decatur Street. She believes the French Quarter is an invaluable resource on many levels and that the quality of life in the French Quarter can be best served by achieving balance that solidly maintains historical integrity while allowing it to function as the living, breathing neighborhood that it always has been

Susan Klein

Susan “Sue” Klein has been a full-time community volunteer since the sale of her medical business 25 years ago. She has served on various non-profit Boards through the years, but currently focuses on those that she believes contribute to a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable New Orleans. Presently she is a director on the Boards of North Rampart Main Street, Inc. (economic revitalization), the New Orleans Mission (homeless services), and French Quarter Citizens, Inc. (neighborhood activism). Sue also serves as Chairman of the Vision Task Force for the French Quarter Management District which strives to frame a vision for the Vieux Carre*s 300th anniversary in 2018 with longer term goals through 2038. Sue has participated in planning and zoning issues for the French Quarter, including the Riverfront Vision 2005, “Reinventing the Crescent,” District 1 UNOP, the City Master Plan and CZO, and the North Rampart/St Claude (formerly Desire) Streetcar project. She initiated the first FQ post-Katrina community planning and has been successful in affecting text and map changes for Planning District 1b.


Visible only to board.

The Reception to Welcome Nadine Ramsey

Ramsey Welcome Reception

Carol Allen, Councilmember Nadine Ramsey, FQC President CoCo Garrett

The FQC ~ VCPORA sponsored Meet and Greet for Councilmember Nadine Ramsey on Tuesday, May 27th turned out to be a glorious affair! The rain gods smiled on us and over 75 people enjoyed visiting with our new District C Councilmember and her staff as we enjoyed delicious food and libations! Councilmember James Gray also joined us. The sounds of the John Parker Jazz Trio livened the evening and even got a couple of jitter buggers on the floor! A special thanks to all of our additional sponsors. We look forward to many more gatherings with our councilmembers.

Trash and Sanitation Issues Move Forward

The FQC’s long-standing efforts to address sanitation and trash collection issues have picked up new steam and allies. Discussions with the French Quarter Management District (FQMD), formerly the French Quarter-Marigny Historic Area Management District (FQMHAMD), led to folding an FQC-led informal working group into a Sanitation Task Force, which formally brings together the residential and business communities to address trash collection and sanitation issues in the French Quarter. FQC President Brian Furness and Bourbon Business Alliance Chair Robert Watters co-chair the Task Force.

Spurred by New Orleans’ “dirtiest city in America” ranking by Travel and Leisure Magazine, the Task Force is working to identify specific problems and possible approaches and assign priorities to remediation. Issues identified include trash carts illegally left on streets, business and residential evasion of rules regarding trash disposal, mule and horse debris (and accompanying odors), weaknesses in the law, and the lack of enforcement. The Task Force has also catalogued services currently provided to French Quarter businesses and residents; publication awaits review and corrections by the city. The Task Force holds periodic public meetings to get citizen input that can be put before the city this fall, and is discussing how best to work with businesses that can’t or don’t comply with the law.

These efforts to improve trash collection and sanitation took a step forward when Department of Sanitation chief Cynthia Sylvain-Lear and Intergovernmental Affairs advisor Michael Sherman attended the Task Force’s August 10 meeting. Mr. Sherman stressed the city’s commitment to improvements, but reminded that the city faces budget shortfalls. Ms. Sylvain-Lear pledged cooperation with French Quarter residents and the Task Force to address problems. She asked for advice on the best and most-convenient collection times to minimize the time uncollected trash and containers are on the street. She also reminded that residents themselves bear some responsibility for trash problems. For instance, light-weight plastic bags are illegal (the law specifies 3 mil black bags or heavier) and subject to tearing by animals and infestation by assorted vermin. Placing household and business trash by city metal containers is also illegal, as is leaving residential trash carts out during the day.

Comments may be sent to the Co-Chairs of the Sanitation Task Force:

Brian Furness at
Robert Watters at


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VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens Interviews with Candidates for LA State Senate District 4


The election for Senate District 4, which includes the French Quarter, is Saturday, October 24. Two major candidates are running to replace Sen. Ed Murray, who is term-limited out. This election is critical: the winner will represent the French Quarter our as our state senator for the next 6 years. Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA), and French Quarter Citizens (French Quarter Citizens) interviewed candidates Wesley Bishop and Erich Caulfield to discuss their views on issues important to the French Quarter. We have summarized the results of these interviews and are distributing them to our members and to others in hopes of providing deeper insight into the candidates, and enabling citizens to make more informed decisions at the polls. We have done our best to accurately convey the candidates’ responses, and have edited for length and clarity.

As nonprofit 501(c) 3 organizations, neither VCPORA nor French Quarter Citizens can or does make any endorsements in elections for office; our purpose is to share information.

Please keep in mind that our summaries may not have fully captured all the subtleties of the candidate’s positions; we encourage you to review the candidates’ campaign materials, attend forums and other presentations, and, if possible, talk to the candidates themselves.


Representative Wesley Bishop

Erich Caulfield

Tell us about your background and qualifications.

Bishop — Rep. Bishop calls himself a product of the Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans East, and has spent the last 5 years serving House District 99. His bachelors degree is from Southern University at New Orleans, where he was student body president. He received his Masters of Public Administration at the University of Mississippi and his law degree from Ohio State. He also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. Speaking to his rise in public service, he said that it was a long way from the Lower 9th to Harvard. He believes that every young person should have the opportunity to live their dream and be treated with honor, dignity, and respect. The city benefitted him, and he wants to return the favor. The first in his family to graduate college, Rep. Bishop is an attorney and college professor, having held a variety of positions at Southern University.

Caulfield — Mr. Caulfield, who originally hailed from Baton Rouge, refers to himself as his “mother’s son.” She was a nurse for 40 years, including home health care, which had a significant impact on him as he frequently joined her on her visits to the elderly and infirm. He got his undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics at Morehouse College, and went on to get his MS and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he now serves on the board. He served as a White House Fellow and was also Chief Policy Advisor to former Newark mayor Cory Booker. He also led the 25 person New Orleans chapter of Strong Cities Strong Communities. Mr. Caulfield believes that politics is about giving people a better shot at the American dream and that everyone deserves that shot.

Are you familiar with the French Quarter? What do you believe are the French Quarter’s special problems?

Bishop — Rep. Bishop knows that crime is the biggest issue in the city, and that the voters in the French Quarter will be deciding whether to impose a tax (the Economic Development District) at the polls this Saturday. The French Quarter is the jewel of New Orleans, he says. Although he’s here only a few times a year, it’s the first place he goes when people come visit. When the city hosts large scale events like the Super Bowl, Bayou Classic, etc., it’s clear that the food, music, and culture of New Orleans are embodied in the French Quarter. As goes the French Quarter, so goes New Orleans, and we need to present these issues in a way so that people in other parts of town understand that everyone benefits. Economic development is also key and directly related to crime – 52% of young black men are unemployed. When legitimate means of making a living aren’t available, they turn to illegitimate means.

Caulfield — Mr. Caulfield knows that crime is a top issue everywhere, but particularly here in the French Quarter. Illegal short-term rentals have become a major issue in neighborhoods across the city but particularly here. The French Quarter also faces special pressures related to its entertainment district, including noise issues in general. He’s been a regular attendee of neighborhood meetings across Senate District 4 over the past 6 months in an effort to understand from citizens what their priorities are.

Can you tell us why you feel that the voters who live in our historic neighborhoods, or who care about New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods, should vote for you?

Bishop — Rep. Bishop believes that he has a proven record of delivering for his district, which includes some of the poorest in the city, and their issues are extremely important. He cited several examples:

  • Fought to have Sidney Collier Technical College in New Orleans East reopened
  • Fought Gov. Jindal’s effort to merge public colleges in New Orleans
  • Worked to bring a hospital to New Orleans East
  • Helped get operating money for the University Medical Center
  • Helped get Wal-Mart in New Orleans East.

Caulfield — Mr. Caulfield , who notes that he is a proud resident of Bayou St. John, says that New Orleans, and the French Quarter, are the jewel of Louisiana. The Quarter encapsulates every culture. We have to be careful to protect and preserve our culture and our architecture, and he has the sensitivity to fight for it.

He’s been directly responsible for creating jobs in New Orleans; worked to cut time for psychiatric patients in emergency rooms; stabilized the city’s safety net for healthcare funding for the most vulnerable. He believes that the way to improve neighborhoods is to empower those living there to make them better.

People come from around the world for the historic architecture, both in the French Quarter and in other parts of the city. What commitment can you make regarding protecting our architecture in the French Quarter and our other historic neighborhoods?

Bishop — We have to preserve and maintain our unique culture. Economic development has to work hand in hand with agencies and organizations, people who have more answers than we do. When an issue came up, he’d contact those people. His ideal is to lean on residents and experts to figure out what needs to be done.

Caulfield — He appreciates the architecture of New Orleans. The flavor of the city is changed by overly commercializing it. When you change that, you change culture of a place. There needs to be balance in development, but when you go too far, you become something different than New Orleans, and that’s not why he moved back.

Tax credits have played an important role in stimulating preservation of the French Quarter’s historic buildings, but were abolished for residential properties several years ago and yet retained for commercial developers. Would you support restoration of tax credits for residents to restore historic structures?

Bishop — It was tough to deal with taxes in the last legislative session due to the enormous deficit. We’ve gone from a $1B surplus to a $1B deficit. There needs to be a give and take to reach compromise, and compromise is most evident when both sides are a little unhappy.

Caulfield — This matter goes back to the culture of the city. Getting rid of the residential tax credit doesn’t make sense to him. There is a definite shortage of affordable housing (and the definition of affordable should be expanded). It is already expensive to build in this city, so we shouldn’t be making it more so.

Did you or would you have supported the Hospitality Zone, a 2012 proposal in that would have provided funds for French Quarter infrastructure but transferred decision-making authority from elected officials to a board appointed by politicians and the tourism industry?

Bishop — He didn’t like it, noting that it’s easy to impose a tax if you’re not the one to pay for it. He used the example of Canal St. He has talked to business people here and on Bourbon St. and how that would impose a burden on them rather than on state.

Caulfield — He’s familiar with the proposal because he was working at City Hall when it came up. He remembers stiff resistance.

Describe your thinking on State legislative responsibility for public safety and police presence in the French Quarter? How would you support greater public safety in the French Quarter?

Bishop — Rep. Bishop believes that NOPD needs more officers on the street. He also liked Austin Badon’s plan from a few years ago for a permanent State Police presence in French Quarter. If Louisiana makes so much money off the French Quarter, why doesn’t the state protect it? Because this area provides a disproportionate benefit, it should get disproportionate protection. There are $7 billion in tax credits in New Orleans – we are the only city in the state that merits this kind of attention.

Caulfield — There are two ways to think about it. The vast majority of revenue raised here goes to other parts of the state. Others in the state feel that we get too much. Our sales tax and general revenue go to Baton Rouge – this is not true for any other part of any other city. We need a reinvestment to make sure there are State Troopers and safety. It makes sense that the city can’t handle it at this time. If we turned out lights in French Quarter for a week, it would have an astronomical impact on state. Those kinds of investments make sense to him.

Would you support empowering neighborhood organizations and residents to strengthen compliance with on-the-books quality-of-life and other ordinances by changing state law to (1) give neighborhood organizations standing to pursue last-resort legal action against bad actors and (2) provide residents a “private right of action” to pursue remedies against bad actors when city authorities are unwilling or unable to enforce existing statues?

Bishop — After getting clarification on these issues, Rep. Bishop said that he would find the best way would be to do it consistently throughout state and/or country. He would want a point person, or someone who knows exactly what’s going on. If the local delegation is in lockstep, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Caulfield — As a problem solver, Mr. Caulfield would look to solve this in a more immediate way than a legislative fix. There is perhaps a micro fix through class action. He recalled his neighborhood organization suing a bad actor over a liquor store, which resulted in retaliation. In concept, he’d be behind it; in a practical sense, anything that offers protection for people from these kinds of things would be a good thing. He wondered if there might be any solution in empowering a neighborhood organization through power of attorney.

Would you support legislation to allow municipalities the flexibility to increase the maximum fines for municipal offenses from $500 to $5000, which would be a meaningful deterrent?

Bishop — He would be in support, but as a practical matter, thinks that he might advise a different way of approaching this.

Caulfield — He thinks this makes sense. The cost of living/doing business in New Orleans is different than in other parts of the state. Allowing municipalities to make this kind of change would be good.

Illegal short-term rentals, facilitated by national internet rental platforms such as AirBnB, have ballooned in recent years, undercutting local and legal businesses, displacing long-term renters and residents, and diminishing the availability and affordability of housing. Would you support action at the state level to require internet platforms to share usage information with local authorities, clarify that state consumer protection laws apply to short-term rentals, and strengthen enforcement of state laws so that all those offering short-term rentals have the equivalent liability and operating requirements?

Bishop — Rep. Bishop was astonished at the high numbers of illegal STRs nightly and believes now is the perfect time to try to solve issues like this. With the legislative session beginning in March, we could start to work now on an instrument to deal with this at the state level.

Caulfield — Mr. Caulfield believes that STRs are businesses, so they should be subject to the same regulations as hotels. There is also the safety issue. Requiring them to report occupancy and other makes sense, as does requiring operators to pay taxes. It’s necessary to address both safety and regulation.

Describe measures you would support aimed at retaining and attracting long-term residents and families to the French Quarter.

Bishop — New Orleans needs to be an affordable place to live overall. He constantly gets calls from people trying to move back, and yet we are not in an economic position to get them back. We need more affordable housing, but how do we pay for it? If we decided this was more important than other things, we’d be able to get it. There are Road Home issues, rebuilding, HANO programs and Section 8 subsidies. He’s especially interested in getting trade skills to move forward. Getting 10% of the people who want to come back would provide a big benefit. What does it take to get individual to relocate? We need to move the school system forward.

Caulfield — This is twofold: people move to French Quarter for culture. We need to support and preserve it, especially those parts that make it attractive. We have to be smart about preservation. We must stabilize crime to reduce it, and there are certain types of crime in French Quarter. Everything that New Orleans represents to the world is something special and worth fighting for.

Describe your relationship with our elected and appoint officials, including the Mayor, the City Council, and other members of the New Orleans legislative delegation, and discuss how you would manage this relationship? How would you work with your constituents and with neighborhood associations?

Bishop — Rep. Bishop’s relationship with the mayor is “pretty good.” He agrees with the mayor when it serves his constituency, and disagrees when it doesn’t .

This relationship works because two months before the legislative session, the mayor sits with the entire New Orleans delegation, so they move forward on matters already agreed upon. Issues are vetted with staff before they make it forward. He has the endorsements of all five district City Council Members. Because he’s been in office for 5 years, he’s worked with many neighborhood organizations in his district, including the NPN. As a legislator, he knows that he needs to just listen and let the people tell him what they think. Bywater and Marigny are in his district now; most districts have similar concerns. He is proud of the Lower 9th ward Redevelopment Act.

Caulfield — Mr. Caulfield’s relationship with the mayor is cordial, and he believes that Mayor Landrieu has a favorable opinion of him and his work.   The City Council unanimously voted for him as their representative in the New Orleans Business Alliance. He is on the board of the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association. He’s been going to meetings in Marigny, Bywater, Lakeview, and New Orleans East meetings for several months to learn about the issues in District 4.

The French Quarter Management District is a state-created entity that has some residential representation and a majority business representation. What role do you believe they should play in speaking for the French Quarter? (This question may require some elaboration based on candidate’s prior knowledge of FQMD and its mission.)

Bishop — He asked for an education, and listened to the group’s description and concerns.

Caulfield — He had little awareness of it, and asked us to elaborate.

Closing remarks and questions for the panel

Bishop — Last week, he met with Bourbon Street bar owners and representatives, and understands that there is division on many issues. He has seen this before in other areas of his district and tries to mediate. He asked for the top five issues that we would agree with the Bourbon Street bars upon. He asked our feelings on the proposed EDD tax, and we let him know that both VCPORA and FQC were in support. He believes it will pass; everyone he’s talked to supports it.

For the past twenty-four years, Sen. Murray has represented this area. When it became time for him to retire, he talked to Rep. Bishop and said that he would be the best person to continue to advocate and champion for those he represents. He likes to work in small groups with those who have the best information. He wants to champion those issues and would like to visit with us more regularly. When people are trying to get things done, they don’t care if he’s state rep, they call to get something done and he has to bring that strength.

Caulfield — Mr. Caulfield wanted to know what our issues were.   From what he understood, they are crime, preservation, development, short-term rentals, and protecting the French Quarter as a neighborhood. After hearing that the hardest part is finding balance between residents and development, he asked what the difference is now from earlier. After the group explained the increases in tourism, increased out-of-town ownership and management of many businesses, he asked, “Would it be fair to say that what we’re guarding against is becoming Las Vegas with gumbo?” He understands that the French Quarter is first and foremost a neighborhood.

Want to be an NOPD Volunteer?

Via Sergeant Jonette Williams, Eighth District Community Coordinator

If you'd like to apply to work in our new "Volunteers Can Lead" (VoCaL) program, we've set up an email address for you to contact us:

The program is for residents who would like to volunteer some of their time and skills to assist the NOPD in its daily efforts. The work will be mostly administrative and all volunteers will receive training in their respective areas.

Some of these areas include:

  •  Providing clerical duties in our district stations
  •  Providing tourist info at the 8th District Station
  •  Greeting and assisting visitors at Police Headquarters
  •  Participating in our Crime Prevention Programs

Interested citizens must be at least 18 years old, pass a police background check and a standard drug screening, and they must commit to a minimum of 12 hours per month. Submit a resume or simply tell us what type of skills you have and what kind of volunteer work you're interested in performing for the NOPD.  We look forward to hearing from you.


WDSU Video: Small victory for Café Habana restauranteur Wednesday

A small step forward Wednesday for a restauranteur trying to open his eatery. The controversial Café Habana picked up a little victory, but is by no means guaranteed to open.

Weekly Update for August 17, 2012

Property Tax Assessments – Update

As reported last week, property tax assessments are up in the French Quarter. Under the new assessments, the value of FQ land is rising from $27 per square foot to $60 per square foot.

Leo Wattermeir provided the following update on the Tuesday:

This afternoon we brought the first 6 appeals from the French Quarter to Erroll Williams’ office.

One was rejected because it didn’t include a photo of the property. You must include a recent photo with your appeal.

We have also begun to lobby Kristen Palmer to get involved in the issue. We’re asking her to support freezing all French Quarter assessments at the 2012 level for a year so a clear methodology for valuating French Quarter property can be developed and made public.

The first stage in the appeal process is a hearing before the Board of Review which is actually just the City Council meeting as a review board. So the City Council is important and we will be lobbying other council members to support an assessment freeze.

Note: Monday August 20th is the deadline to submit appeals. They can be mailed or brought in person. We reported last week that it was the 15th. The review process doesn’t start until September 15.

Make sure you examine your assessment and preserve your rights in accordance with Louisiana law. For more information, go to the Orleans Parish Assessor’s website.

Noise Back in the News

The hullabaloo about the City welcome crackdown on unlicensed music venues is once again stimulating efforts to reform the City’s sound ordinance.

The recently passed legislation requiring loudspeakers not be aimed onto the street has reduced noise levels on Bourbon Street, according to many observers. Currently, efforts are underway to find a way to implement the law’s ban on courtyard speakers while permitting, as Councilmembers Palmer and Head have asked, restaurants to continue to offer low-level background music to their courtyard patrons.

Efforts, spurred by community groups, including FQC, are also underway to identify changes necessary to discipline and rationalize sound control in the French Quarter … safeguarding residents’ right to peaceful enjoyment while preserving the music for which New Orleans is justly famous.

The issues are important: FQC is a contributor to, which illuminates the health and other issues stemming from excess noise. WWL recently ran a story about the noise struggle between FQ resident Peter Yokum and Pat O’Brien’s, that offers an interesting take on the issue. A followup appears in today’s Times-Picayune.

FQC would welcome comments and suggestions … and above all your participation. Just let us know.

501 Elysian Fields – Not Quite Right

Marlene Jaffe (FQC member and HDLC Board Member) reports on the recent HDLC meeting to review the proposed new building for the corner of Elysian Fields and Decatur. She says:
On August 10th, the regular monthly meeting of the HDLC heard the application for the construction of a six story mixed use building on Elysian Fields on the corner of Decatur.

Technically located in the Marigny, it is very close to the boundary of the French Quarter. In fact, the FMIA, Marigny’s neighborhood organization, had asked FQC to write a letter supporting their opposition which was done.

During the almost two hours of discussion on this project at HDLC, there were about as many proponents as opponents to the development. It was a hard decision for the Commissioners who had to weigh the adherence to the zoning laws for parking places and height of the building against the need for commercialization of a rather dingy, light industrial area near the river.

While the City Planning Commission had already recommended approval, the HDLC concluded on a no- action vote. There were 4 votes for and 6 votes against the application as presented. This means that the final decision will be left to the City Council, probably at its next monthly meeting.

Summer Time and the Poop is Reeking

Summer heat adds a really pungent dimension — walk past the Cornstalk Hotel some afternoon — to the ever present problem of mule and horse droppings. Some relief might be on the way.

A proposal before the Council would require the city to hire a private contractor to circulate around the French Quarter 24/7 to clean up after errant mules (and inattentive drivers) and NOPD horses. The cost would be defrayed by a special charge on carriage operating permits. The proposal was prepared by the French Quarter Management District’s Sanitation Task Force (co-chaired by FQC’s Brian Furness), which met recently with the principal carriage company to explore further how the droppings problem could be addressed while minimizing the impact on our picturesque carriages.

Further meetings will include other operators and City sanitation officials. Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer has promised to introduce a measure by the end of September. FQC member complaints have long motivated efforts to address the sanitary and quality of life issues stemming from mule and horse droppings; we’d appreciate your further comments and suggestions … as would Councilmember Palmer as she considers the issue.

Important Dates

  • September 10th, FQC Board Meeting
  • September 20th, FQC Quarterly Meeting.
  • November 2, FQC Progressive Dinner, details to come!

Street Closures

Lane and Road Closures for Friday, August 17th (remain the same from last week):

  • Burgundy from Canal to St. Louis
  • Esplanade parking lanes closed from Royal St. to North Peters (both lake- and river- bound)
  • Royal Street closed from Esplanade to St. Phillip.
  • North Peters riverside right lane from Canal to St. Louis

While some inconveniences are to be expected, please let a board member know if you were not properly notified or encounter other problems.

For more information, please go to the Paths to Progress website.

Hollywood South: Filming Updates

Filming notifications:

Saturday, August 18th (Brass Band filming)

  • Woldenberg Park near the Steamboat Natchez deck 11:30 AM – 12 PM.
  • Corner Royal St. & St. Peter 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM.
  • St. Philip between Dauphine St & Burgundy St 3PM – 4:30 PM.
  • Burgundy St between St. Phillip & Dumaine St 4:30 PM – 5 PM.
  • Corner of Royal St. & Canal St 5:30 PM – 6 PM

Weekly Update for August 3, 2012

Property Tax Assessments – ACT NOW

As you probably have heard by now, property tax assessments are up in the French Quarter. Meg Lousteau of VCPORA tells us that the increase is largely due to the value of FQ land rising rom $27 per square foot to $60 per square foot.

Make sure you examine your assessment and preserve your rights in accordance with Louisiana law. For more information, go to the Orleans Parish Assessor’s website.

Hollywood South:
Weekly Film Updates

Filming notifications:

Click on the location/date for more information or go to the city’s Film New Orleans website.

Red Dress Run: Stay Tuned!

Next Saturday (August 11th) is the Red Dress Run, a 5K run (we’re using that term loosely) that generates a ton of money for charity – but which unfortunately generated a ton of complaints from residents last year. You’ll be happy to note that the organizers have listened to our concerns and have adjusted their schedule to try to prevent some of the problems brought to our attention. Admittedly, the event has gotten so large that many of the troublemakers are not registered participants of the Red Dress Run. Still, we’re happy that the organizers worked with us and listened to our concerns. We are waiting on the city to provide us a final map and start time. Once we receive the final information, we will forward to all members in a special edition of the E-Write so you can make appropriate plans. Our fingers are crossed that this event will continue to raise hundreds of thousands of charity without unreasonably inconveniencing our residents.

Important Dates

  • August 5, Annual Jazz Mass at St. Augustine Church in Treme (10:00 a.m.)
  • August 11, Red Dress Run
  • September 20th, FQC Quarterly Meeting.
  • November 2, FQC Progressive Dinner, details to come!

Street Closures

Lane and Road Closures for Friday, August 3rd (remain the same from last week):

  • Burgundy from Canal to St. Louis
  • Esplanade parking lanes closed from Royal St. to North Peters (both lake- and river- bound)
  • Royal Street closed from Esplanade to St. Phillip.
  • North Peters riverside right lane from Canal to St. Louis

While some inconveniences are to be expected, please let a board member know if you were not properly notified or encounter other problems.

For more information, please go to the Paths to Progress website.

New Rampart Business

Adding to the gourmet hot dog craze occuring nationwide, Dreamy Weenies has opened at 740 North Rampart Street. The restaurant, one of many new and improved business on Rampart, serves New Orleans-style dogs as well as other flavorful dogs with a variety of toppings. Please support this new business bringing commercial activity back to Rampart Street!

Weekly Update for July 20, 2012

University Hospital Site Implosion Scheduled for Sunday

As most of you know, the 17-story Claiborne Towers building is scheduled to be imploded at 8:00 a.m., Sunday, July 22nd. According to published reports, the entire French Quarter is outside of the evacuation zone and residents should only feel a minor impact from the blast itself.

The dust cloud created as a result of the implosion is predicted to travel as far as the lake side of Basin Street. However, this forecast, according to the Times Picayune, “is approximate and could change depending on weather conditions.” If you live in the Upper Quarter area and (especially) if you suffer from breathing-related aliments, please tune in to news reports and heed the instructions of authorities.

For more information, the contractors, Controlled Demolition, Inc. and Contaminant Control, Inc., have established a 24-hour emergency hotline (1-888-624-6555).

Filming Continues in the FQ

The FQC E-Write (as we now call it) will offer periodic notifications of filming events in the French Quarter as we are notified by the city.

Filming continues at the 500 Block of Bienville (July 16 – 30).

Click on each location/date for more information or go to the city’s Film New Orleans website.

Message from Membership Committee:
We Need Your Help!

Our association is really starting to gain traction in the community. Numbers help immensely to achieve the quality of life objectives that we citizens of the French Quarter desire. 3500 citizens have residences in the French Quarter, and I would love to have all 3500 as members of our French Quarter association. If we could achieve this, every elected official would quickly answer every call from us. This is always the best way to achieve our objectives.

And the nice thing is that we can immediately double our membership if each present members persuades just one more resident to join. So, I really need your help!!

Please send me at least one friend’s name who we can jointly persuade to join FQC. Then we’ll do this again, double our membership, then do it again and again until we have all 3500 residents as members of our association.

Thank you for your help and participation!
Linda Malin
Chair, Membership Committee

Foundation Offers NOLA Summer Program

The Price of Wales’s Foundation is offering a “Culture of Building” 3-week summer program in New Orleans. It melds art, architecture, urbanism and the preservation building crafts in an intensive hands-on experience with world-renowned instructors and the great City of New Orleans as laboratory. You may know talented designers, project managers, crafts people or community planners who would benefit. Click on this link for more information.

Important Dates

  • FQMD Infrastrcture Committee, July 23, 3:30 p.m., Iberia Bank Board Room, 301 Chartres, 2nd Floor
  • November 2, FQC Progressive Dinner, details to come!

Street Closures

  • Major street closures have started in the French Quarter with the recent closure of the first four blocks of Burgundy Street and Esplanade Avenue from N. Peters to Royal Streets. While some inconveniences
  • are to be expected, please let a board member know if you were not properly notified or encounter other problems.

For more information, please go to the Paths to Progress website.

Did You Know?

Jackson Square was voted to be North America’s #1 top public square (out of 12 public squares). The Project for Public Spaces made its determination since Jackson Square “reaches out like an octopus” drawing in surrounding streets. Go to this link for more information.

Weekly Update for July 27, 2012

President’s Column: Residents and Businesses Must Work Together

One of the enduring lessons of the hospitality zone proposal is how important it is for neighborhood groups to develop h4 relationships with the business community. Believe it or not, many French Quarter businesses share our concerns with crime, infrastructure, and other quality of life issues. I’ve put together some thoughts:

Open Dialogue

One avenue for maintaining an open dialogue with the business community has been the French Quarter Management District (FQMD). FQMD, chaired by FQC member Kimberly Rosenberg, is a state-created board made up of residents, businesses, and political appointees and is charged with improving the quality of life for French Quarter visitors and residents alike. For more information about FQMD, I suggest you check out their very informative webpage. FQMD, despite keeping a relatively low profile, has a number of very active committees that work closely (and collaboratively) with residental groups such as FQC. Brian Furness, a FQC board member and past president, is your representative on FQMD. For more information on how to get involved, please email Brian at

Key Players

Besides FQMD, there at least two French Quarter business associations that FQC works closely with year round. The French Quarter Business Association (FQBA) has been a wonderful partner in trying to elminate graffiti in our historic neighborhood. The Bourbon Street Business Alliance has also been a partner on a number of issues including the speaker placement ordinance recently passed by the City Council.

Moving Forward

This is not to say that we won’t disagree with our friends in the business world – the French Quarter is a small place and disputes are bound ot happen. But, in my opinion, it’s important that we recognize that French Quarter businesses share our concerns and can serve as a powerful and vocal partner in our future endeavors.


Hollywood South: Weekly Film Updates

Filming continues on the 500 Block of Bienville – crews will be parked on Front Street, the 300 Block of Conti, and the 300 Block of Bienville. The entire 500 Block of Bienville will be closed from Sunday, July 29th at 6:00 a.m. to Tuesday, July 31st at 6:00 a.m.

Click on the location/date for more information or go to the city’s Film New Orleans website.

Annual Jazz Mass

Mark your calendars for an annual summer event that’s too good to miss. On Sunday August 5 at 10:00 a.m, St. Augustine Church will once again host the Annual Jazz Mass honoring Louis “Satchmo” Armh4 featuring the Treme Brass Band and the St. Augustine Soulful Voices Choir. Following Mass, worshipers and participants will then second line parade to the Satchmo Festival at the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Ave.

St. Augustine Church is located in the Histroic Treme neigborhood at 1210 Governor Nicholls Street.

Important Dates

  • September 20th, FQC Quarterly Meeting.
  • November 2, FQC Progressive Dinner, details to come!

Street Closures

Lane and Road Closures for Friday, July 27th:

  • Burgundy from Canal to St. Louis
  • Esplanade parking lanes closed from Royal St. to North Peters (both lake- and river- bound)
  • NEW: Royal Street closed from Esplanade to St. Phillip.
  • NEW: North Peters riverside right lane from Canal to St. Louis

While some inconveniences are to be expected, please let a board member know if you were not properly notified or encounter other problems.

For more information, please go to the Paths to Progress website.

Interesting Article

The E-Write received this interesting New York Times article from CoCo Garrett exploring the hazard of indoor noise – an on-going problem here in the French Quarter.