Week in Review, July 27-31: Asking for Help
NEW ORLEANS – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to throttle the economy, many groups are stating their case for more financial help from the government.
Demonstrators rallied Thursday in favor of continued federal coronavirus unemployment benefits and against evictions. Meanwhile, everybody from the Port of South Louisiana to New Orleans musicians Tank and the Bangas made pleas to Washington, D.C., for help for their industries. A trade union representing Mississippi river pilots, meanwhile, took a more direct route and chose the pandemic as the best time to demand a 28% pay increase from the Louisiana Pilotage Fee Commission. … Trying the legal route, a group of Louisiana bar owners argue in a lawsuit that rules from Gov. John Bel Edwards unlawfully target one business sector and impose overly harsh restrictions.
Many Louisiana businesses who have yet to receive any help from the Paycheck Protection Program or the SBA’s disaster loan program can now apply for a grant up $15,000 from the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program. Get all the details and listen to our interview with State Treasurer John Schroder.
Two lucky institutions, meanwhile, received large gifts this week from superstar donors: MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave $20 million to Xavier University and the Brees Dream Foundation (as in, Drew and Brittany Brees) pledged $5 million to Ochsner Health. In more good news for the nonprofit, Ochsner Medical Center was named the best hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report.
Business Highlights of the Week
Film production in New Orleans will resume next week when producers of an Amazon Prime series get back to work. The city’s film office said several major studios – including Disney, Sony and CBS – are anticipated to begin shooting in the coming months. … Elected officials and community partners gathered to celebrate the beginning of work on a $32 million redevelopment of Lake Forest Manor that will restore it to its original use as a 200-unit senior living facility in New Orleans East. … Children’s Hospital New Orleans announced it is opening an all-new multi-specialty center in the Baton Rouge health district on the campus of Baton Rouge General Medical Center. … Westwego-based textile rental company Loop Linen Service announced the purchase of Cintas Corporation’s linen business in several south Louisiana markets. … Education software company SchoolMint Inc. announced it will move its headquarters from San Francisco to Louisiana as it consolidates its United States operations in Lafayette. … And, perhaps most importantly, New Orleans-based Biotech company MDR Logix LLC said that additional testing of its lead product, MDR504, has shown positive results in the fight against COVID-19.
A More Pedestrian-Friendly French Quarter?
This week, the city provided a sneak peak at some of the ideas a committee is considering as it looks for ways to make the French Quarter more pedestrian-friendly. Ideas include converting existing streets into permanent pedestrian malls, adding pedestrian streetscapes (known as “parklets”), closing off French Market Place to motorized vehicles and turning Frenchmen Street into a pedestrian mall during certain hours.
And, in sports news, the New Orleans Pelicans lost by two to the Utah Jazz on the opening night of the return of NBA season. The Black Lives Matter was featured prominently during the doubleheader, which will no doubt have earned blockbuster ratings.