VCPORA Vieux Carre New Orleans Fri, 08 Nov 2019 22:15:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Support our appeal against Fast Food Restaurants in the French Quarter! Fri, 01 Nov 2019 19:35:50 +0000
VCPORA has filed a formal appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) challenging the determination made by Safety and Permits that the newly opened Willie’s Chicken Shack at 601 Chartres Street is allowed per the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO).

This location (now the 5th of its kind in the French Quarter and the 8th in downtown New Orleans), was permitted as a “Standard Restaurant,” despite the fact that it meets many of the defining characteristics of a “Fast Food Restaurant,” which are not permitted in the Vieux Carré.
Your help is needed!
Write to the BZA and attend the meeting on Monday, November 11 at 12:00 pm!

The CZO defines a “Fast Food Restaurant” as:

An establishment, which may be part of a chain of fast food outlets, that is oriented around the quick-service of meals for on-premise or off-premise consumption. Typically, a fast-food restaurant’s design or principal method of operation includes three (3) or more of the following characteristics:

    1) a permanent menu board is provided from which to select and order food;
    2) standardized floor plans, architecture and/or sign design are used over
several locations;

    3) customers pay for food before consuming it;
    4) a self-service condiment bar is provided;
    5) trash receptacles are provided for self-service bussing;
    6) furnishing plan indicates hard-finished, stationary seating arrangements;
    7) drive-through service is offered;
    8) most main course food items are prepackaged rather than made to order.

Fast food restaurants may not offer alcoholic beverages for sale. Table service by restaurant employees is not provided.

Given that every location of Willie’s Chicken Shack provides a permanent menu board for ordering (1), and which orders are placed and paid for prior to consumption (3), within a business interior, including signage and signature drink, that has been standardized and branded across all locations (2), this business clearly meets the first three characteristics of a “Fast Food Restaurant.”

The remaining criteria, such as the placement of trash receptacles (temporary) and the location of condiment bars (theirs are in individual table caddies) can be easily manipulated as needed.

Can they operate as a Bar that sells Food?

No. This property falls in the VCC-2 (Vieux Carré Commercial) zoning district which does not allow Bars as permitted uses.  Standard Restaurants are allowed, and can sell alcohol by right. Notably, Willie’s Chicken Shack markets its signature frozen cocktail and a wall of daiquiri machines at all of its locations.
Why this is a Problem

Fast Food restaurants are not a permitted use anywhere in the Vieux Carré. The City and its residents spent thousands of hours crafting the CZO to determine what communities’ prioritized in their neighborhoods. The product of this collaboration yielded a desire to prohibit fast food restaurants and limit formula retail businesses in order to protect the authenticity, integrity, and desirability of the French Quarter.

Most business owners strive to offer an original experience that cannot be appreciated anywhere else, thus contributing to the health and vibrancy of the entire region. The Vieux Carré is known, and protected by State Constitution, for the distinctive quality of its architecture, culture, and community. The CZO is the means by which an influx of similarly styled commercial offerings can be prevented to avoid the homogenization of this National Historic Landmark. For this reason, VCPORA will continue to defend the authority of the CZO to evenly apply regulations for all business and property owners.

What Can You Do?

WRITE to the Board of Zoning Adjustments and ATTEND the meeting to express your concerns about the dangerous precedent being set by this business model and the flagrant violations of the CZO.
Monday, November 11, 2019, 10:00AM
*Note, this item is the last on the agenda and will likely not be heard until 12:00pm*
City Council Chambers, City Hall
1300 Perdido St, 1st Floor

Written comments must be submitted by 5:00 pm on Monday, November 4.
Sample language:


Subject: Support for BZA Docket 104-19

Dear Board of Zoning Adjustment members,

I am writing in support of BZA Docket Number 104-19 asserting that the business located at 601 Chartres Street is illegally operating as a “Fast Food Restaurant.”
The newest Willie’s Chicken Shack, like each of its 7 other locations, clearly meets many of the characteristics defining “Fast Food Restaurants,” including but not limited to, a permanent menu board, ordering and paying prior to consumption, and a stylized interior and signage replicated across locations.

The historic Vieux Carré is internationally known for its unique culture and architecture, particularly its diversity of commercial offerings and experiences. It must remain a place where residents, locals, and visitors alike can enjoy its authenticity and integrity.

Please protect this authenticity by upholding the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and its authority to evenly apply land use regulations to all business and property owners. Willie’s Chicken Shack meets the definition of a Fast Food Restaurant and allowing it, and similarly styled businesses, to proliferate where they are prohibited by law, endangers the viability and desirability of the entire community.


Revisions to the Alcohol Beverage Outlet Ordinance Pass Tue, 08 Oct 2019 19:24:38 +0000


After four hours of public comment, and 11 months of detailed revisions, the New Orleans City Council passed an ABO Ordinance overhauling decades-old provisions in the City Code on regulations of Alcohol Beverage Outlet permits.

We spoke in support of this ordinance and feel it was a good compromise between a diverse group of stakeholders including residents, bar and restaurant owners, and service industry representatives.

The existing city code, with sections dating back over 50 years, will now be updated to include, among many other items:

  • Alignment with existing state laws for legal operation. This clarifies that if the State revokes an ABO permit, the City must also revoke its permit.
  • A removal of antiquated and discriminatory language, and certain barriers to employment regarding prior misdemeanor convictions.
  • The creation of an appeals process for applicants denied a new or renewal ABO permit.
  • A requirement that the applicant have no outstanding sales or property taxes owed at the ABO location, but does authorize the ABO Board to waive this requirement if “the lessee is acting in good faith and a waiver will avoid undue hardship to the lessee.”
  • The creation of a new section providing that the Department of Safety & Permits, NOPD and the Department of Finance determine ABO eligibility.
  • Allowing bars to have sidewalk seating on the public right of way. Previously, all outside seating for bars was prohibited, though many do exist. This allowance requires that bar owners apply for permits for the privilege in the same way that restaurants with café seating are required.

A final, and hotly debated, amendment grants temporary suspension authority to the ABO Board in the event of an emergency situation that poses a “direct and immediate danger” to the public. This outlines that the ABO Board may not assume this authority until after a public rules promulgation process, a hearing and another vote of the Council. This process must define the circumstances when an emergency suspension is permitted, establish notice requirements and confirms that an emergency suspension cannot be issued until a pre-suspension hearing is provided.

We thank all the Councilmembers, particularly Councilmembers Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Cyndi Nguyen, along with their staff for their dedication to this effort. We will also be following the rules promulgation progression with the ABO Board and will keep you updated. More information about the hearing can be found here and here.

At Home in the Vieux Carré: October 25, 2019 Tue, 08 Oct 2019 19:08:26 +0000

816 Governor Nicholls
Friday, October 25, 2019
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Hosted by Mathew Lefkowitz & Kyle Dupre

Save the date! The 2019 At Home in the Vieux Carré season resumes on Friday, October 25 when property owners Mathew Lefkowitz & Kyle Dupre open the doors to their stunning c. 1830 Creole cottage. Specialty cocktails and wine will be provided. Costumes are highly encouraged. Admission is $5 for members, $10 for non-members, and free to those who renew their memberships tonight.


Gala Live Auction Items Mon, 09 Sep 2019 21:47:25 +0000 One Week Stay in Sablé-sur-Sarthe

Donor: Les Amies de VCPORA

The French countryside is calling!  Enjoy this delightful townhouse in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, a charming French provincial city located just 90 minutes (by TGV) from Paris. Recently renovated, the house boasts wrap-around balconies on two floors, a spacious covered terrace overlooking the garden, and river or garden views from every window. The 3 bedroom/2 bath house accommodates up to 5 people.  Quaint French villages, as well as majestic chateaux, dot the area. The Atlantic Ocean beaches, as well as the famous Loire Valley vineyards, are within driving distance. Summer music festivals abound in the area. Rental boats for river cruises are only a short walk away, as are grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, the weekly fresh food markets and other small town amenities.


Four Nights Aboard Bahamas Luxury Yacht

Donor: Barcelona Explorer Charters

Enjoy the Bahamas in style! This coupon is good for 3 couples to spend 4 days, 4 nights aboard the “Barcelona Explorer”, a one-of-a-kind mahogany and teak luxury sailing schooner that sails the Abaco Bahamas. Each queen cabin is equipped with a private bathroom aboard this 100 foot ship. In addition, she has a gourmet galley, luxurious salon, spacious staterooms. She boasts massive deck space and two separate outdoor alfresco dining areas with two walk-up bars. The Bahamas chartered yacht is equipped with stand up paddle boards, kayaks, surfboard and snorkel gear, and your own inflatable dinghy with outboard motor for island hopping and excursions in the Abacos.


Three Night Stay in Grand Isle, LA

Donor: Brigid Brown & Steve Guidry


Need a day at the beach? How about a long weekend? We’re auctioning off a 4 day, 3 night stay at this beachfront property in Grand Isle, LA. This house sports an open kitchen and living room floor plan with a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico, stainless steel kitchen appliances and granite counter tops, a covered open spacious upper deck with plenty of sitting area, a covered area downstairs for cooking and hanging out, and outdoor shower downstairs and fish cleaning station. With enough room to sleep 14 (!) people, this property has it all for a weekend getaway.


Two Night Stay in Orange Beach, AL

Donor: Jeff & Tracey Moffatt

Enjoy a 3 day, 2 night stay at thid beautiful 3 bed, 3 bath condo in Orange Beach, Alabama. The condo very comfortably sleeps 8 people with a king master suite and two queen size ensuite rooms along with a queen pull-out sofa. Building amenities include 3 outdoor pools and hot tub plus indoor pool and jacuzzi. The property is steps away from FloraBama beach, with an extraordinary 400 sq foot balcony overlooking beautiful Ole River. Deeded beach access across the street. Reservations are based on availability September 2019 – September 2020 (excluding 4/24-4/26; July 2 – July 4th and September 3rd – September 7th).


Click here to buy Gala tickets!

Credit Due: An 1850 Apothecary Through One Year of Purchases Mon, 05 Aug 2019 22:15:27 +0000

Credit Due: An 1850 Apothecary Through One Year of Purchases

presented by Owen Ever

Wednesday | October 23, 2019
5:30 reception | 6 pm presentation
Beauregard-Keyes House | 1113 Chartres

 Seating is limited
RSVP on Facebook

These events are open to the public and will take place monthly on weekdays. Seating is first come, first serve at these lectures and will be capped after 75 guests. Suggested donation is $5.

Louis Dufilho, Jr – America’s first licensed pharmacist – offered a year’s credit to prominent French Quarter families. The 1850 ledger of transactions between Dufilho and the household of Jacque Telesphore Roman shows a year of camphor rubs, corset re-boning and intestinal worms. Whether the need was cosmetic or pharmacological, the apothecary served as a multi-faceted site for Creole consumption. And in the end, credit is due.

Owen Ever is a social historian, curator and docent at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. As such, he is committed to storytelling and health-care justice. Recent collaborative exhibits include Position of Birth: Early Midwifery and Obstetrics and Bedside Manner: The Afflicted, the Indecent and the Indisposed. Recent speaking engagements include “Challenging Academic Debates: Situating Decolonial Science, Art and Faith in the Syllabus” at the University of Leeds and keynote lecturer at the 2019 Weinstein Memorial Banquet for the History of Medicine Society, Tulane School of Medicine.  In partnership with Antenna Gallery he has recently hosted “ONUS: The Responsibility of Cultural History” at the Hermann-Grima Historic House and “HUES: Diversity and Inclusion in the Museum” at the African American Museum. He was a lead artist with Goat in the Road Productions and Friends of the Cabildo’s “Stranger Disease” at Madam John’s Legacy. He is currently contributing to a theatrical interpretation of the Gallier House. Ever is also a member of Louisiana History Alive, portraying America’s first licensed pharmacist.

For more opportunities to support our education efforts, please contact or

Final STR Vote Fri, 02 Aug 2019 20:21:12 +0000 Banner

Final STR Vote

We know that the issue of Short Term Rentals has dragged on for years. Our first set of regulations was overly permissive, allowing investors to convert thousands of homes into mini-hotels which proved disastrous for neighborhood quality of life and housing affordability. Determined to undo this damage, the New Orleans City Council, led by District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, has spent the last year creating a set of STR regulations that works for this city.

Be prepared!  The Council is scheduled to vote on these updated Short Term Rental Regulations on Thursday, August 8. Let’s make sure they get it right this time!

Ordinance No. 32,685 modifies the City’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to establish two categories of STRs, Residential and Commercial, and also specifies where these types are allowed and how they must operate. Most importantly, all Residential STRs will only be allowed in homes where an owner lives and possesses a Homestead Exemption.

This ordinance also deals with neighborhood prohibitions, including the French Quarter and the Garden District. A previous, and unsuccessful, effort to open up the Vieux Carré Entertainment District around the House of Blues (VCE-1) may be revisited – please stay vigilant in opposing any attempts to expand STRs in the French Quarter! We all know the risks are too high and would continue to place tremendous pressure on a neighborhood struggling to recruit and maintain long term residents.

What remains unclear is how this ordinance will deal with limiting the number of Commercial STRs in multi-unit buildings and how they can be leveraged for the production of affordable housing.  A feasibility study will be released very soon that will examine scenarios where an affordability match may be required for new Commercial STRs. We feel the City must take advantage of this opportunity now as this incredibly lucrative business model can be used to produce a dire community need.

Ordinance No. 32,691 establishes STR owner, operator and platform permits and fees, operating regulations and enforcement penalties. Residential permits will range from $250 to $500 annually and Commercial permits will be significantly higher, currently being contemplated at $5000 per unit. Failure to comply with the operating regulations, including listing without a permit or exceeding the maximum allowance of guests, can carry fines of $500 per violation, per day.

Platforms, such as Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO, etc., will be required to obtain City-issued permits, currently set at $50,000 annually.  The platforms must remove any listing that does not have a valid, city-issued STR rental license or face revocation of their operating permit.  We feel that the platforms must also face significant financial penalties for allowing illegal listings on their sites and that the City can go further by requiring the platforms to prove their compliance through regular reporting of its host activities.  Ultimately, they should be compelled to share raw data about their “hosts,” including owner and operator names, addresses, and complaints about discrimination or guest behavior.

Legal battles across the country are being waged against these platforms over data sharing requirements and their refusal to comply with local regulations.  The map below indicates STRs operating in the French Quarter, where it is illegal except along the 200-700 blocks of Bourbon Street. Without platform compliance, the city’s overburdened staff and residents – you! – are responsible for reporting and policing illegal STRs.

Unresolved issues:
The City Planning Commission produced a report on the possibility of using STRs to promote economic development in certain areas and as a tool to remediate blight. Additionally, this study examined the potential for “grandfathering” the Temporary permits that existed prior to their prohibition last May, though it did not look favorably on this option. Still, we expect that amendments to the ordinance will be introduced during the Council meeting that will allow hosts to let multiple properties. We strongly encourage the City to wait and monitor the effectiveness of the new regulations before opening the door to any exceptions.

We believe that responsible home sharing regulations will allow New Orleanians to financially benefit and protect our communities. See this recent piece about how neighborhoods like Treme are experiencing rapid property tax hikes due to the over-proliferation of STRs. Recently, the “It’s Time New Orleans” coalition released a report that shows how STRs have overtaken New Orleans neighborhoods, pricing residents out of their own communities.

We will continue to monitor these ordinances and any amendments as August 8 approaches. Please stay tuned for updates in our Weekly Vieux and on our website. We encourage you to continue calling and emailing your City Council to remind them that all neighborhoods deserve protection.

District Councilmember Email Phone
At-Large Helena Moreno (504) 658-1060
At-Large Jason Williams (504) 658-1070
District A Joe Giarrusso (504) 658-1010
District B Jay Banks (504) 658-1020
District C Kristin Gisleson Palmer (504) 658-1030
District D Jared Brossett (504) 658-1040
District E Cyndi Nguyen (504) 658-1050
2019 Gala Silent Auction Items Fri, 26 Jul 2019 20:24:23 +0000

Silent Auction Items

(A Sneak Preview)


17″ Swarovski White Pearl Band

Value: $253

Donor: California Drawstrings


Mirrored Neptune Sunglasses

Value: $255

Donor: Krewe



Tim Laughlin & the Tuxedo Brass Band

Donor: Arcadian Books


Tile Set

Framed “Welcome” Tiles, framed “NOLA” tiles, 2 tempered glass NOLA map cutting boards, 2 large tile trivets NOLA map

Value: $255

Donor: Preservation Tile Co.


Snakeskin Bag

Donor: Jezebel’s


Vieux Carre Scarf

Value: $210

Donor: Kate Beck New Orleans / Alquimie


Crossbody Cork Bag

Value: $159

Donor: Queork



Kendra Scott Set

Braclet, necklace, candle

Donor: Kendra Scott


“926 Dumaine” by Jeffie Latner

Donor: Lisa Shedlock


Metal serveware set

Value: $75

Donor: Shane Levy


Embellished shell mermaid bra top

Value: $50

Donor: No Rules Fashion


Click here to buy Gala tickets!

1919 – A Pivotal Year in Preserving the French Quarter Mon, 15 Jul 2019 21:00:55 +0000


1919 – A Pivotal Year in Preserving the French Quarter

presented by Ann Masson

Tuesday | July 30, 2019
5:30 reception | 6 pm presentation
Beauregard-Keyes House | 1113 Chartres

 Seating is limited
RSVP on Facebook

These events are open to the public and will take place monthly on weekdays. Seating is first come, first serve at these lectures and will be capped after 75 guests. Suggested donation is $5. We are excited to host Junior Dixieland, a youth jazz band all the way from Marianské Lázn?, Czech Republic, to play during the opening reception!

The year 1919 was bracketed by two events that signaled the intertwining of tourism and preservation that persists in our city to this day—New Orleans’ first tourism marketing campaign was announced in January and the fiery destruction of the French Opera House took place in December. Public recognition of the tenuous state of the French Quarter was bolstered by these events and by alarming newspaper coverage of the crumbling neighborhood. In this lecture, Ann Masson will detail the perspectives and events that led to a coalition of Vieux Carre property owners to take up “leadership in a movement to protect, preserve, and improve the French Quarter,”* and how tourism was integral to the neighborhood’s early revival, despite also resulting in undesirable changes.

For more opportunities to support our education efforts, please contact or

Short Term Rentals Update Mon, 08 Jul 2019 20:23:20 +0000 Banner

Significant Wins Accomplished

Last month, the Council took on the first round of regulations to permanently rein in the proliferation of Short Term Rentals (STRs) city-wide. These included the requirement for a Homestead Exemption to rent one’s residential property as a STR, meaning it has to be the home in which you live. This is, by far, the most important component to protecting neighborhoods from being hollowed out by investment speculation and keeping them full of actual neighbors. The Council also extended a prohibition of STRs in the Garden District. Lastly, an attempt to permit STRs in the Vieux Carré Entertainment District around the House of Blues (VCE-1) on Decatur and North Peters was shot down. Though STRs are allowed on the 200 to 700 blocks of Bourbon, the Council decided in a 4-3 vote that the differences were too great between the two zoning districts (there is truly only one Bourbon Street) and that opening up more in the French Quarter would undermine this neighborhood’s desperate struggle to retain and recruit a substantial and healthy residential base. We are proud to have been on the front lines for this win and thank you for doing your part! The Council is expected to sign this motion into ordinance on July 25.

Grandfathering & Economic Incentive Zones?

On June 25, the City Planning Commission reviewed a new study. Part of the study assessed the potential for grandfathering in previously permitted Short Term Rentals in residential areas. These types of STRs, the Temporary permits, were placed under a moratorium in May 2018, and the City Council unanimously voted to eliminate them entirely last month. However, the report advises against this practice, stating it is “fraught with potential complications as there would be issues of ownership changes, new permanent tenants, and potential legal challenges based on the new system.”

The study also looked at allowing multiple STR permits for listings in specific areas of the city, deemed Economic Incentive Zones, to encourage redevelopment of blighted structures and spur economic development along commercial corridors. The study concluded that, while there may be an opportunity in the future to examine ways STR production can be used as a development tool, the city should wait and monitor the effectiveness of the new regulations before opening the door to exceptions. We could not agree more! Only then should these tools be considered, in combination with carefully crafted density restrictions and sunset provisions that would return these units to long-term dwelling opportunities.

This study is being sent to the City Council which can then draft a motion directing the City Planning Commission to create specific text amendments to the CZO.

Commercial Short Term Rentals and Affordable Housing

The City Planning staff will continue to examine the possibility of utilizing Commercial STRs as leverage to provide affordable housing units. The findings of the 2018 STR study included a requirement that would establish a cap on Commercial STR permits at 25% of the total units on a lot and considered the allowance of additional STR permits above that cap if it was equally matched by the creation of an affordable housing unit. Given the findings of the recent New Orleans Inclusionary Housing Study, staff is advising that a similar study be undertaken that would specifically examine levels of project feasibility in matching STR and affordable units.

A Robust Enforcement Package

Yet another package of regulations will deal with enforcement and a new permitting structure. We have long warned that without platform accountability, enforcement will be impossible. The platforms that list the Short Term rentals, like AirBnB and VRBO, have been less than forthcoming with the information necessary to weed out illegal operators. New Orleans is taking the aggressive stance of requiring all platforms to obtain permits with the City and not facilitate the booking of any listing that does not have a valid, city-issued STR rental license. Any unpermitted listings must be removed from the websites. Failure to do so would mean a revocation of their operating permit.

Governmental Affairs Committee Chair and District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer will present these proposed changes in an ordinance to the City Code relative to enforcement, permitting, and fees for New Orleans’ Short Term Rental (STR) program. Councilmember Palmer is encouraging residents to attend the Governmental Affairs Special Committee meeting on Wednesday, July 17th at 1:00 p.m. inside Council Chambers or contact her office with your feedback. The ordinance is expected to be heard by the full Council on July 25.

Here is a very brief overview of annual permit costs:

Platform permit – $50,000
Residential Type-R permits:
Partial Unit – $250
Small Residential (such as the other half of a double) – $500
Large Residential – $500 (per unit)
Commercial Type-C permits: $5,000

Additional fees will apply if the owner does not operate the rental

More information can be found here.

Stay tuned, there is always more to this tale! 

In case you missed it, read the Lens coverage of a woman in the St. Claude neighborhood who resorted to renting out the illegally operating STR across the street from her leading to revocation of its permit.

Transit Participation Opportunities Fri, 05 Jul 2019 17:40:28 +0000

Your input is needed on improving New Orleans area bus lines for transit riders.

New Links District C – East Bank
Public Meeting & Information Gathering Session

Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 6:00 PM 
New Orleans Jazz Foundation – 1205 N. Rampart St.

New Links is a yearlong study and civic discussion project to guide recommendations, goals, and a vision for improving public transportation in the New Orleans area over the next 20 years. The project is a partnership between the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and Regional Planning Commission (RPC), in collaboration with Jefferson Transit (JeT) and St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit (SBURT). Attend this meeting to share your ideas with transit planners on how to get riders to their destinations in the safest and most reliable ways.

You can also take their survey here.