Early Childhood Education Presentation
As the first special order of business, the Council heard a presentation from Eboni Walker on the importance of early childhood education throughout the City of New Orleans. In New Orleans, there are about 12,000 low-income students under the age of five without access to early learning options. According to a study from the Education Research Alliance, there are fewer opportunities available and little incentive for schools to offer preschool seats due to the gap between state subsidies and actual costs.
The Hoffman Early Learning Center, which is part of New Orleans College Prep, is working to create the innovative, replicable solutions the city needs through small classrooms, developmentally-appropriate practices, high-quality teachers, certified staff, and research-based curriculum for all children (The Creative Curriculum).
"I am honored to serve as the Councilmember where Hoffman is located," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "Long before I sat on this side of the dais, I knew that we as a city would never and could never arrest our way out of crime. You're not only providing our children with an essential educational foundation but also the necessary tools to help them fully understand that the differences that separate us are far less than those that connect us. I'm so proud to have the Hoffman model in District "B," but I'd like to have 500 more there and everywhere else throughout the city. I applaud you all for the vital work that you're doing and hope that you will utilize me as an ally for anything you need in the future."
During her presentation, Walker stated that the average per-pupil cost for early childhood education ranges between $12,000 and $14,000 in Louisiana, while the per-prisoner cost is nearly $20,000.
"We spend millions every year on criminal justice and on facilities to house broken men and women who didn't get the right start in life, and therefore, made poor decisions," said Council President Jason Williams. "Almost 90 percent of at-risk New Orleans children birth through age three do not have access to a publicly funded childcare seat. For the first time in 300 years, this City invested in early childhood education when the Council voted to allocate funding during the last budget cycle. That amount wasn't nearly enough, but I'm hoping that with this presentation, we can encourage more dedicated funding for our children to get better outcomes and spend less on the backend."
Council Honors New Orleans Culinary Icon Ella Brennan
The Council welcomed members of the Brennan's Restaurant family to honor their late Matriarch, Ella Brennan, who recently passed away on May 31. The Council presented a special proclamation to the family to commemorate Ms. Ella's incredible life and legacy and her contribution to the New Orleans culinary scene both here at home and throughout the United States.
"Ella Brennan was a towering figure in New Orleans culture and shattered so many glass ceilings in a historically male-dominated industry," said Council Vice President Moreno. "Her commitment to excellence and her indomitable work ethic were just two of her extraordinary qualities. Further, Ms. Ella's legacy of mentorship is evidenced by the multitude of successful culinary entrepreneurs cultivated under her loving and attentive eye. I am proud to have had the opportunity to call Ms. Ella a friend. New Orleans has lost a giant and a gem, and we will all miss her deeply."
A lifelong New Orleanian, Ella Brennan broke every boundary within the male-dominated restaurant business where she worked since 1946. She was responsible for mentoring and training a long list of culinary greats including Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Shannon, Frank Brigtsen, and Tory McPhail. Further expanding and cementing New Orleans as a culinary destination, she collaborated with her family and staff to curate evolving menus that offered variations on Creole standards as well as bits of Cajun cuisine.
"It's hard to imagine New Orleans not being known worldwide for its cuisine, but that recognition and celebration came about in large part because Ella Brennan put us on the map," said Council President Williams. "When Commander's Palace won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Service her entire speech was, 'I accept this award for every damn captain and waiter in the country.' She understood the importance of every worker in a restaurant, and gave credit to the hospitality staff who make this City run, an issue we are currently addressing with New Orleans Corporation and stakeholders in the tourism industry. I believe, as she did, that hospitality workers are the backbone of the service economy and deserve services themselves."
|Members of the Council with Ella Brennan's sister and niece
Council Adopts Sexual Harassment Policy and Asserts Support for Domestic Violence Victims
The Council unanimously passed an ordinance to establish uniform sexual harassment policies alongside a similar resolution expressing its commitment to protecting those at risk from domestic violence.
At the last regularly scheduled meeting on May 24, Council Vice President Helena Moreno introduced Ordinance No. 32,289
to establish and codify New Orleans' first legal guidelines to prevent sexual harassment and properly train City officials and employees to avoid, identify, and punish harassment wherever it may be found within the city's charter-ruled agencies.
"I am a proud author of the state legislation on this issue and am equally proud to author this local ordinance," said Council Vice President Moreno. "Mostly, I am proud that the City of New Orleans will become the first municipality to put into place procedures consistent with our State law. This is a vital first step, not only in complying with state law but showing true leadership for our sister municipalities on this critical issue."
The adopted resolution expresses the Council's strong commitment to preserving life for all citizens and protecting those at risk from domestic violence. In addition, Resolution R-18-208
formally requests the immediate adoption and enactment of domestic abuse policies, procedure, and processes.
Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee Reauthorized for Additional Year
The Council passed a motion to reauthorize the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee (NCDAC) for an additional year from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. Previous guidelines and requirements on NCDAC membership and procedures will remain in effect.
The Council created the NCDAC in September 2014 to provide rules, procedures, and applicable timelines to govern Council action relative to applications for permits for demolitions of existing structures in the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD). The NCDAC also establishes application and permit fees as well as applicable penalties.
To learn more about properties located within the NCD, click here.