March 27, 2014
City Council Chamber
City Council Regular Meeting News Summary March 27, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted an ordinance amending insurance requirements for Accessible Taxicabs. The Council also adopted ordinances authorizing Cooperative Endeavor Agreements in support of youth sports programming, the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and renovation of the historic Algiers Courthouse. The Council passed resolutions in support of anti-discrimination House and Senate bills.
In other business, the Council congratulated Varion Laurent on being selected as the 2014 French Quarter Festival Poster Artist. The Council also honored New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity for its 30th anniversary, and longtime volunteer Audrey Flynn for her years of service to the City of New Orleans.
Established Insurance Parity for Accessible TaxicabsThe Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,004, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, to amend and reordain the City Code relative to required insurance coverage of Accessible Taxicabs in the City.
Accessible Taxicabs must meet requirements of the American with Disabilities Act and drivers must give priority to service requests from people with disabilities and those who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
Currently, Accessible Taxicabs are required to carry more insurance coverage than standard taxicabs. This Ordinance will eliminate that requirement. At a minimum, the policy must provide coverage of $25,000 for injury to one person in an accident, $50,000 for injury to two or more persons in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage in an accident.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "This legislation will make it easier for New Orleans residents and visitors with mobility impairments to get around the city by removing an existing requirement that accessible taxicabs carry more insurance than standard taxicabs. Passage of this legislation eliminates this unfair disincentive and will get accessible taxicabs on the road to serve our community."
Facilitated Use of NORD Facilities for YLC Youth Programming
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,980, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the City, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), and the Young Leadership Council, Inc. (YLC) to allow YLC KICKS to use NORDC facilities for soccer-related programs and related physical and developmental activities.
Created in 2012, YLC KICKS provides after-school programming, community clinics, and fundraising initiatives to support NORD's youth soccer programming. The soccer clinics are held at different NORD parks around the City. The YLC is a non-profit civic organization developed to recruit young professionals to New Orleans and foster leadership through community projects.
Council President Clarkson said, "NORDC is making great progress thanks to the Commission, Foundation and CEO Vic Richard. However without our partners like YLC Kicks that we engage in CEAs with, it wouldn't be possible for NORDC to have made this much progress in just four years."
Provided for Extension of Lease for Nature Center in New Orleans EastThe Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,981, authored by Councilmember Gray, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a new Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA), Recognition of Assignment, and Extension of Prior Lease with the Audubon Commission to extend a previous CEA and Recognition of Assignment between the City and the Audubon Commission for the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center in Joe Brown Park.
In 1976, the City leased the property to the Louisiana Nature Center, Inc. and in 2013 the lease was assigned to the Audubon Park Commission. The original lease called for a 25 year term with an additional 15 year extension, which will terminate on December 5, 2016. The Ordinance extends the CEA, Recognition of Assignment and original lease for an additional 40 year term, or until December 5, 2053. This will allow the Audubon Commission to receive and utilize funds for the reconstruction and improvements to the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center facilities.
In its 25th year of operation, the Louisiana Nature Center was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Multi-phase restoration plans for the facility are in place, and the grand opening of the project's first phase is scheduled for next year.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "The Nature Center in Joe Brown Park has great potential as both an educational and recreational facility for our citizens and I look forward to its reopening."
Supported Renovation of Historic Algiers CourthouseThe Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,993, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the State to provide for the planning and construction of the Historic Algiers Courthouse renovation.
Erected in 1896, the Algiers Courthouse is located on 225 Morgan Street near the Algiers/Canal Street Ferry. The building, which was designed by Linus Brown and Alonzo Bell, is the third-oldest courthouse in continuous use in the State of Louisiana.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "The courthouse is a beloved monument and historical landmark in Algiers. The preservation and maintenance of our City's historic structures is a critical part of protecting the unique culture of New Orleans."
Encouraged Adoption of Anti-Discrimination Bills
The Council passed Resolution R-14-84, introduced by Councilmember Gray, encouraging Governor Jindal and the State Legislature to adopt House Bill 199, which amends state law provisions related to discrimination to include a prohibition against employment discrimination on the basis of "gender identity or expression and sexual orientation and, in some cases, age, sex or disability."
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "Every citizen ought to have fair and equal treatment under the law. This legislation will provide protections against discrimination and guarantee the rights of the diverse social groups that make New Orleans great."
The Council also passed Resolution R-14-97, introduced by Councilmember Cantrell, encouraging Governor Jindal and the State Legislature to support House Bill 804 and companion Senate Bill 424, which prohibit discriminatory housing practices based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and marital status.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "This Council believes in the rights of our citizens and residents to live free from discrimination in every aspect of their lives. This legislation is a strong step forward in that regard and we are proud to support it and to encourage other government leaders to do the same."
Recognized Longtime City Hall Volunteer for Years of Service
At the request of Council President Clarkson, the Council presented Audrey Flynn with a Proclamation honoring her for her years of service as a volunteer at City Hall. For almost three decades, Ms. Flynn, who is 93 years old, has volunteered her time to help various Councilmember offices and departments.
Council President Clarkson said, "Ms. Audrey is a 28-year volunteer at City Hall and probably the longest serving volunteer in City Hall history! She is also a role model wife, mother and grandmother and member of the Great 100 Nurses. We are honored to have had her as our outstanding volunteer."
Celebrating New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity's 30th AnniversaryNew Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) Executive Director Jim Pate and Director of Operations Elizabeth Lisle appeared before the Council for a presentation celebrating the 30th anniversary of NOAHH.
The NOAHH representatives presented a video giving an overview of NOAHH's history and providing testimonials from impacted families and volunteers. Founded in 1983, NOAHH is a non-profit organization dedicated to building and financing affordable homes in partnership with low-income families.
Pate also outlined various new initiatives that NOAHH is launching, including community-focused home rebuilding and repair, youth-focused service learning, and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence and foster children. Pate credited NOAHH's strategic partnerships with non-profits and service provider organizations for the organization's success over the years.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "We have all seen the impact of your work on the ground level in our neighborhoods and we understand the value you bring to local families in need. We thank you for your years of commitment to the New Orleans community and we hope you will continue to keep us up to date on the organization's ongoing programming."
Congratulated Local Artist on 2014 Frech Quater Festival Poster
Local artist and City Hall employee Varion Laurent appeared before the Council, along with family members and representatives of the French Quarter Festival, to be congratulated on his selection as the 2014 French Quarter Festival poster artist.
A New Orleans native and alumnus of Xavier University, Mr. Laurent has worked as the Videographer in the Council Chamber for the last 15 years, tasked with all broadcast production that goes on during Council meetings, Committee meetings, and other meeting that take place in the Council Chamber. His artistic talents have been showcased on local festival posters including Satchmo SummerFest, Gentilly Fest, Gretna Heritage Festival, and now the French Quarter Festival. Mr. Laurent expressed his gratitude to the many local festivals that have featured his artistic work and to his family for their support over the years.
Council President Clarkson said, "The City Council is very proud of Varion for having this honor bestowed on him by the French Quarter Festival! He has shown his superior work ethic as the Council's technology leader, and has also shown that as an artist he is a leader in creativity."