Regular Meeting

August 25, 2016 

City Council Chamber

City Council August 25, 2016 Regular Meeting News Summary

NEW ORLEANS - At today's City Council meeting, the Council recognized Women's Equality Day, passed a resolution committing to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in New Orleans, and passed a resolution approving the distribution of funds to several local organizations and projects through the City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Program.

In other news, the Council passed precautionary ordinances granting the Mayor's Office of Homeland Security access to funds to be used for storm recovery in the event of a natural disaster, which may be eligible for reimbursement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

ProjectNOLA Provides Updates on Enhancements to Public Safety in New Orleans

ProjectNOLA Developer Bryan Lagarde

ProjectNOLA developer Bryan Lagarde gave a presentation describing how the organization enhances public safety in New Orleans through its management of the largest high-definition, city-wide, networked crime camera system in America. ProjectNOLA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that operates by receiving video from over 1,400 cameras placed on homes and businesses throughout the city. The footage is then utilized to aid in police investigations.

"ProjectNOLA is an integral part of our City's defense against crime," said Council Vice President Jason Williams. "I highly encourage all citizens to join the network. The more members involved, the more it will increase police efficiency, improve citizen awareness and aid in deterring crime from ever occurring."

Distribution of City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Program Approved by the City Council

The Council voted to approve the distribution of funds from the City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Program, which allocates to each Councilmember $20,000 to distribute annually. This grant program supports local organizations and projects that contribute to education, technology training, communications, and similar programs benefiting the youth of the City of New Orleans.

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Expansion Plans Moves Forward

The Council passed a motion to start the next phase of the expansion process for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which includes plans to expand to a neighboring lot that was labeled as an opportunity lot in the Master Plan. The Motion directs the City Planning Commission to consider the Convention Center's proposed overlay district and present its recommendations to the Council following a public hearing on the matter.

Council Passes a Resolution Supporting the Restoration of Passenger Rail Services Between New Orleans and Orlando

Before Hurricane Katrina, Amtrak's Sunset Limited passenger line was the only transcontinental passenger rail service, which ran from Los Angeles to Orlando, passing through New Orleans. A portion of the rail infrastructure along the Gulf Coast was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The damage included the complete loss of the passenger rail terminal facility in Mobile, Ala. and the main line rail bridge between Bay St. Louis and Gulfport, Miss. As a result, Amtrak suspended all services on the eastern portion of the Sunset Limited line from New Orleans to Orlando.

The Council passed a resolution supporting the restoration of the passenger rail service between New Orleans and Orlando, Fl. Two companies, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, own the tracks on which Gulf Coast passenger rail service will operate, and both have committed to cooperating with Amtrak to provide this service across the Gulf Coast.

"The restoration of the passenger rail services across the Gulf Coast coming through New Orleans to Orlando is a great economic boost for our city and state," said District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett. "We should see a creation of jobs through multiple development opportunities and increased tourism access. Additionally, it will reduce the overall carbon footprint by reducing the amount of personal automobiles being used on the roadways."

Council Passed Precautionary Storm Recovery Budget Ordinances

In an abundance of caution, the Council passed two budget ordinances authorizing the Mayor's Office of Homeland Security to spend up to $40 million on storm recovery. Should the City face any storm-related damage this year, damage-related expenditures may be eligible for reimbursement by FEMA.

City Council Recognizes Women's Equality Day

Louisiana State Representative Helena Moreno, Julie Schwam Harris and Dr. Mirya Holman

In honor of Women's Equality Day on Friday August 26, Julie Schwam Harris and Louisiana State Representative Helena Moreno gave presentations recognizing women who serve in state and local government. They discussed legislative accomplishments, the representation of women and challenges that women still face today.

Dr. Mirya Holman, a professor at Tulane University, also presented excerpts and insight from her report titled "The Status of Women in New Orleans Since Katrina." This 74-page report is a comprehensive evaluation that details the changes for women in New Orleans since Katrina. According to the report, there has been an increase in college enrollment, a reduction in the amount of teenage pregnancies, and an increase in adult pregnancies, indicating that New Orleans is a city where adults feel comfortable raising their families. However, women still face barriers in the city and throughout the country such as higher poverty rates as compared to men and a larger wage gap.

"As we know, women have proven repeatedly to be strong forces for improving our community, economy and infrastructure; however, Louisiana ranks as one of the worst states when it comes to policies involving women," said District "B" Councilmember LaToya Cantrell. "I think it is imperative for us to take concrete actions to address these inequalities we just heard about. It is important that we recognize these women in government today."

Following the presentation, the Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution committed to ending discrimination against women in New Orleans. The resolution will utilize the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women treaty (CEDAW), which was adopted by the United Nations as an international bill of rights for women in 1979.

This resolution is the first step toward conducting research and promoting the advancement of women through local legislation. Showing support for CEDAW formalizes the Council's dedication to ensuring women and girls equal access to academic, economic, and business opportunities in New Orleans. 

"Women of Steel" Recognized at the New Orleans City Council Meeting

Created on: 6/21/2018 11:30:13 AM | Last updated: 6/21/2018 11:30:13 AM


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