Culture Bearer Grant Recipients Recognized
City leaders hosted an event honoring the recent New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund (NOTCF) grant recipients, who are culture bearers in the city. The event was hosted at the JOB1 Center, who is a partner that offers business center space to NOTCF staff and technical grant assistance to cultural applicants and career services.
“I came up close and personal with how we use resources to market our culture, our community and our people. There was a real deficit in the reinvestment in the people that we marketed, and so we had to change that dynamic,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “When I picked up the can that had been kicked down the road for infrastructure dollars, part of that was getting funding for the foundation of this city, which is our culture. The thought was getting money to our people, the people that keep culture alive, the people that we depend on.”
Grant recipients honored at the event included The McKenna Museum of African-American Art, Gloria’s Treme Garden, New Orleans Design, Development and Manufacturing, LLC., artist and muralist J. Pierre, Off Beat Magazine, the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, Friends of Lafitte Greenway, Creole Wild West and the Krewe of Red Beans
“NOTCF grants serve as a catalyst for investment in culture bearers, producers, and organizations and create a virtuous cycle of reinvestment for growth of the cultural economy,” said Lisa Alexis, Director of the Office of Cultural Economy. “Investment in our cultural community makes our tourism economy, and the economic success of our other businesses possible.”
Mayor Cantrell led the establishment of the NOTCF as she worked with colleagues on the state level to allocate more tax dollars derived from tourism to directly support the progress made since the launch of the grant program in May 2021.
The mission of NOTCF is to support cultural industries and culture bearers of the city of New Orleans through partnerships, grants and programs to advance sustainable tourism.
The recent event centered around the distribution of $1.1 million in grant awards given directly to cultural artists. Of that money, $112,000 in grants went to Mardi Gras Indians and Baby Dolls. The Open NOLA Venue grant has had 7 recipients thus far, totaling $40,000, including recipients like Preservation Hall and Gasa Gasa. Some of the other grant recipients included Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, and the Preservation Hall Foundation.
New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund offers a funding program to individuals and organizations that are engaging in activities that promote the cultural economy through educating our youth, training our cultural producers, providing networking opportunities, creating cultural events and much more.
Some of the grants that NOTCF offers includes the Open NOLA Venue grant which offers up to $6,000 and is a resource to help live entertainment venues re-ignite their bars/clubs by using $2,000 to purchase PPE supplies and using the remaining $4,000 to book live performances. Other grants are at different levels and fund projects up to $20,000.
Grant funding is still available, and culture bearers interested in applying for grant funding can visit NOTCF’s website at www.notcf.com.
$33 Million in Additional Rental Assistance Funds Headed to New Orleans
Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Thursday, Oct. 21, signed two ordinances approved by the New Orleans City Council that will add approximately $33 million to the budget for emergency rental assistance. A total of $9.6 million was received directly from the U.S. Department of Treasury, allocated to the City of New Orleans after being recognized as a high performer.
“The City has demonstrated through the number of applications received and the attendance at community events that the need still far exceeds the available resources. The state is doing the right thing by sending the unused resources to New Orleans,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “It is because of our fiscal prudence that we have these additional funds available for rental assistance that are so desperately needed by our people. The additional funding will help our residents remain housed while they get back on their feet.”
The $23 million of the $33 million is a reallocation from the State, not originally earmarked for the City. Treasury recently released guidance that encouraged grantees to reallocate funds to regions with higher needs and the ability to disperse funds quickly. Any grantees, such as the State, that are unable to meet Treasury’s expenditure guidelines as of Sept. 30, 2021, are at risk for losing funds allocated to them.
“The program continues to evolve with Treasury guidance, and as we find ways to work faster and more efficiently. We will continue to stay at the forefront of the issue,” said Marjorianna Willman, Director of the Office of Housing Policy and Community Development. “To date, the City has assisted close to 8,000 households with rental, utility, relocation and/or legal assistance to prevent evictions and approximately $20 million has been expended.”
The Mayor’s Office of Housing Policy and Community Development has increased the number of staff and is incorporating a call center to provide more immediate assistance. Bigger emphasis will be placed on bulk payments to landlords and utility providers which Treasury made available to grantees in late August.