Regular Meeting

May 20, 2021 10:00 AM

City Council Chamber

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NEW ORLEANS - Today, the New Orleans City Council held its first in-person meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year ago. During the meeting, the Council proclaimed May as Mental Health Month, adopted a renewable and clean portfolio standard, established the French Market Overly District, and banned the use of for-hire pedal carriages.

Additionally, the Council moved forward with a November millage initiative to fund the New Orleans Public Library, approved two requests of Entergy New Orleans (ENO), opened applications for the City Council/Cox and City Council/Harrah’s Community Grant Programs, and adopted a resolution supporting federal approval of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Council Adopts Historic Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard

Through its approval of Resolution R-21-182, the Council adopted a Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard (RCPS) for the City of New Orleans, which mandates Entergy to provide 100% clean power to New Orleanians by ending carbon emissions by 2050 and reaching net-zero carbon by 2040. 

As direct regulators of ENO, the Council has the unique opportunity to end the utility’s emissions on a timeline that is aggressive, attainable, and most importantly, affordable to New Orleans ratepayers, capping costs at only 1% of sales a year and guaranteeing residents can afford the transition they need and deserve. The RCPS is more than 100 pages and took over two years to finalize, having been reworked and revised numerous times as a result of a thorough and collaborative review process. The final policy will put New Orleans on the map as a leader in climate change throughout the south and across the country. 

The mandatory standard set today demands that ENO end its carbon footprint and set a course for a grid powered by clean and renewable energy. It also requires public transparency and reporting to ensure ratepayers remain informed and can help hold the company accountable. If ENO fails to comply, it carries enforcement penalties that are then directed at emissions reduction projects, whether owned by Entergy or not. This policy is flexible and was designed to be routinely reviewed and updated as needed as New Orleans works toward a better and more resilient future for generations to come.

“We owe it to the people of this city to be bold because frankly, we can’t afford to be complacent. Our recent severe storms have once again proven that. With this bold action today, this city and this Council are truly making history. I want to thank the advocates, Councilmembers, the stakeholders, the intervenors, our team at CURO, our advisors, and Entergy New Orleans for the diligent work to craft this resolution. Because of you, we have created a strong policy that will ensure real and meaningful change in New Orleans and significantly improve the quality of life for all its people,” said Council President Helena Moreno.

May Recognized as Mental Health Month in New Orleans

The Council unanimously adopted Resolution R-21-179 to proclaim May 2021 as Mental Health Month in the City of New Orleans. Mental health conditions are real and prevalent throughout our community, with approximately 20% of all Louisiana residents living with some form of mental illness. 

While all Americans have faced mental, physical, and emotional challenges over the past year as a result of the pandemic, it has been especially devastating for underserved communities who largely lack access to mental health services and quality care. 

With effective treatment, individuals with mental health disorders can recover and lead full, productive lives. However, less than 40% of people with mental illness in Louisiana receive any form of treatment due to societal stigmas, lack of information, and access to mental health services and quality care.

“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities across the board in our city, but particularly as they relate to mental illness,” said District “D” Councilmember Jared Brossett, who authored the resolution. “Our young people and people of color, many of whom were already struggling with poor mental health, continue to be hit hardest by the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Throughout the month of May, and all year long, I urge all New Orleanians to educate themselves and others about available resources across the city to end this cycle and prevent further loss of life.”

All community members share the burden of mental health problems and have a responsibility to promote mental wellness and support prevention and treatment efforts. Therefore, the Council is calling upon all citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, and schools across New Orleans to commit to increasing awareness and understanding around mental health issues and the need for appropriate and accessible services. 

“The criminalization of mental health is something that can no longer take place. Fear and embarrassment should not stop someone from getting the help they need, which is especially prevalent amongst black teenagers and black men, who are experiencing increased suicide rates due to this pandemic,” said District “B” Councilmember Jay H. Banks. “It's imperative to alter the perceptions of not only those with the problem but for all those without it to look at these people differently. In our society, if you see someone having a heart attack, you don’t hesitate to step in and help. But when we see people clearly suffering from mental illness, we tend to step to the side. This has to change, and this is a good first step.”

Council Prohibits Operation of For-Hire Pedal Carriages 

The Council passed Ordinance 33,304 to define "pedal carriages" and forbid their operation as a means of hired transportation in New Orleans. Per the ordinance, pedal carriages are defined as a “pedal pub, pedal bar, or any other manually powered moto-assisted quadricycle-type vehicle designed to transport two or more passengers in seats arrayed alongside the vehicle.”

Any person or entity in the city offering to transport passengers for hire in a pedal carriage vehicle fitting these characteristics is in violation of the law and will be subject to penalties. 

Library Millage Moves Forward for Re-Vote this November 

Via a motion passed today (M-21-171), the Council announced its intent to consider a resolution at its regular meeting on July 15 to re-file the New Orleans Public Library millage on the upcoming November ballot. The proposed resolution would authorize the Council to call an election, at which New Orleans voters would have another opportunity to consider an ad valorem property tax to help fund public libraries across the city. 

New French Market Overlay District Established

The Council passed two measures (ZD 23/21 & M-21-175) approving the requested text amendment to establish the French Market Overly District, which recognizes the unique geographic configuration of the French Market District as opposed to the remainder of the French Quarter. The provision of new use and design restrictions will allow for expanded hours of operation in the Public Market and permit a unified package of pedestrian-scaled signage to guide visitors through the area.

The French Market Overlay District provides the following variations from existing use and sign standards:

  1. Expanded hours of operation of the existing Public Market (commonly known as the French Market Flea and Farmers Market) to permit a morning seafood and/or produce market beginning at 4 AM, and an evening market from 10 PM Sundays - Thursdays, and at 11 PM Fridays - Saturdays;
  2. Permits Freestanding Multi-Tenant Monument signs;
  3. In lieu of the permitted Freestanding Multi-Tenant Monument Sign, where applicable, multi-tenant signs identifying individual tenant space are allowed on approved communications located within breezeways between buildings at St. Ann, Dumaine, St. Philip, and Governor Nicholls Streets; and
  4. Authorizes Attached Permanent Directory Signs.

The approved zoning initiative will support greater use of the French Market space and improved wayfinding throughout the long linear area of the French Market District.

Photo of the French Market courtesy of

Council Approves ENO Requests Relative to Pension Expenses and Hedging 

The Council voted to adopt two resolutions approving Entergy’s request to defer pension expenses associated with pension de-risking efforts, and authorizing the utility to hedge a portion of its 2021-2022 winter heating season distribution system natural gas requirements.

ENO has implemented a lump sum payment option for employees entitled to pension benefits, which enables it to be able to recover the increased expenses through rates. Resolution R-21-180 was developed to protect ratepayers from an unnecessary rate increase by deferring cost recovery for consideration this summer. It will also allow the Council to evaluate ENO’s proposal in the proper context to ensure that customers are protected. 

In response to extreme price volatility in the natural gas market during the 2000/2001 winter heating season, the Council sought to protect local ratepayers against future spikes. As a result, it authorized a hedging program that would allow ENO to enter into financial contracts that lock in the price of natural gas for an agreed-upon quantity. Though hedging does not guarantee lower prices, it does reduce the risk of price volatility. 

The current gas hedging program has been in place since 2013. By adopting Resolution R-21-181 and allowing ENO to hedge up to 25% of its gas purchases this winter, the Council is providing its customers with a level of protection against rate increases associated with higher fuel costs in the wake of extreme weather.

Applications Open for Harrah’s & Cox Community Grant Programs

The Council adopted Resolution R-21-183, initiating the application period for the City Council/Harrah's Community Support Grant and City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Programs. Interested parties may now submit applications on the Council’s website through the deadline of July 1, 2021. 

The City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana’s Community Grant Program was established in 2011 to provide financial support to local organizations and projects that contribute to education, technology training, communications, and similar programs benefiting the youth of the City of New Orleans. The Council receives $140,000 annually from Cox to fund the program, with each individual Councilmember receiving $20,000 to distribute within their district. Approved 501(c)(3) non-profits receive at least $1,000 in funding.

The City Council/Harrah's Community Support Grants Program, created in 2006, was designed to foster an array of meritorious organizations and projects by providing broader-based support to local groups and projects that contribute to the overall well-being, development, and growth of the New Orleans community. Eligible organizations must have an IRS exempt status and be in good standing with the Secretary of State’s Office. 

In light of COVID-19, the Council approved several changes to the program. Harrah’s will now make available “one” annual award totaling $225,000 to grant recipients selected by the Council, with each Councilmember receiving $32,142. The new submission process requires applicants to submit their grant applications through the Council website by July 1, combining the two yearly cycles into one. 

For more information or to apply for either of these opportunities, visit

Media Contact:

Paul Harang

Chief of Staff

(504) 658-1101

New Orleans City Council



Created on: 12/9/2020 11:49:33 AM | Last updated: 5/26/2021 2:15:06 PM


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