Week in Review, June 8-12: Winds of Change
NEW ORLEANS – Tropical storm Cristobal traveled through Louisiana last weekend and brought mostly rain – but the winds of change have continued to blow all week.
Across Louisiana, more businesses opened up as the state eased restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Everywhere but New Orleans, bars, tattoo parlors and massage parlors got back to business while restaurants and other businesses that had been restricted to 25% capacity were allowed to be half full. New Orleans bars, casinos and more will open this weekend – although live music and festivals will still not be allowed.
Meanwhile, the effects of massive worldwide protests after the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police have been dramatic and far reaching.
Several cities and states are already enacting police reform measures while the increased awareness of mistreatment of the African American community is creating change nationwide and close to home. The New Orleans Police Department has been under pressure after officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at mostly peaceful protestors last week. Meanwhile, a Loyola professor lost her new job at Arizona State after allegations of racism and mistreatment by several Loyola students. The Krew of Nyx is embroiled in controversy after an “all lives matter” social media post by its captain. And LSU announced it is renaming a library building named in honor of past president Troy H. Middleton, who espoused segregationist views.
In Baton Rouge, the majority Republican legislature has been hard at work on many business-friendly bills. Highlights from this week:
- Legislators approved a new construction budget.
- Lawmakers planned to sock away much of the budget surplus in savings.
- A house committee advanced new business subsidies.
- Gov. Edwards signed a bill expanding businesses’ access to alcohol delivery.
- The house approved a $34B budget for next year with worries about the future.
- And Louisiana lawmakers begin moving a long list of business tax breaks.
State Treasurer John Schroder, meanwhile, made a stop in Metairie this week to promote a bill that would divert $300M of federal COVID-19 aid from municipalities to small businesses.
… Lastly, it was confirmed that there will be less merriment in the nation’s capital next February as the 2021 Washington Mardi Gras has officially been cancelled.