VCPORA Vieux Carre New Orleans Tue, 17 Mar 2020 21:38:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 COVID-19 Resources Tue, 17 Mar 2020 18:30:58 +0000 VCPORA is closely monitoring the ongoing public health crisis associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as labeled by the World Health Organization. We remain in communication with the Mayor’s office, the Department of Health, and Councilmember Kristin Palmer’s office in efforts to share any and all relevant information with the French Quarter community. We can all play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to protect the most vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly and the chronically ill.

Stay connected and informed with facts:

Please stay informed by visiting NOLA Ready and receive updates by texting “COVIDNOLA” to 888-777.

In efforts to protect our community and reduce exposure:

  •         Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
  •         Cover your cough and sneezes with your elbow
  •         Try to avoid touching your face
  •         Routinely clean and disinfect shared surfaces
  •         Avoid close contact with others
  •         Stay at home if you feel sick

Make the best use of limited health care resources and reserve emergency services for those who truly need them. The major symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Though these symptoms are frequent this time of year, due to allergens and common colds, it important that if you feel ill, you do not immediately go to the emergency room. Instead, call your health care provider or contact the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing 211 for more information on testing sites in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health.


Be a good neighbor and a responsible citizen:

It is always a good idea to have additional food, medicine, and toiletries on hand so consider stocking up on essential needs to avoid additional or unnecessary trips to the store. Check-in with your neighbors, particularly if they are mobility impaired or cannot easily access additional provisions.

Beyond the potential health impacts of COVID-19, many senior centers may lose access to meal providers and school closures will leave at-risk children without important meals. Additionally, those who work in the service industry and other hourly jobs stand to lose significant income. You can help by volunteering your time and making donations:

Recent Announcements:

  • All K-12 schools, libraries, gyms, bars, movie theaters, and casinos will be closed through April 13. However, the situation will be reevaluated seven days prior. Restaurants will be required to end dine-in service and provide take-out and delivery only; drive-thru service will remain open.
  • All gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. The City of New Orleans has revoked Special Events permits for the foreseeable future in order to dissuade large gatherings. Previously planned events and parades have been canceled or postponed.
  • All public transit will operate on a Saturday schedule.
  • City Hall is limiting the number of visitors at this time. The City Council will be closing City Council chambers for all Board and Commission public meetings through April.
  • The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) will not be turning off water service to customers until the Emergency Declaration for the City of New Orleans is lifted. Entergy New Orleans has developed a Priority Response Plan that ensures the most critical infrastructure, such as public safety, healthcare facilities, and nursing homes, are being prioritized in the event of an emergency. The City’s telecom partners have confirmed that their capacity to manage data and Internet services will not be compromised by COVID-19. Residents, businesses and government agencies will continue to be able to access online resources. New Orleans judges have decided to suspend all residential evictions in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will work with each State to provide disaster assistance loans to small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.
  • The Louisiana Workforce Commission has provided resources for applying for Unemployment Insurance.


Links to Assistance for Residents:

While it is imperative that you safely practicing social distancing, remember there are still ways to stay connected with your community.



VCPORA has temporarily shut its office to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our French Quarter community. All events are temporarily suspended but may be postponed to later dates. We are available if you need access to resources. Stay safe, and stay tuned to our social media for future updates. 

5G Wireless Cell Phone Towers in the French Quarter Wed, 11 Dec 2019 20:44:52 +0000 Fifth Generation, or “5G,” cellular service is the newest advancement in cellular technology. It requires new transmission towers “small cells” that differ from the large-scale macro towers and the 74 existing fifteen foot 4G towers in the Vieux Carré.

The four major mobile carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, currently roll in additional temporary cell towers into the French Quarter during heavy attendance events like French Quarter Fest, and Mardi Gras to keep up with wireless demand. Carriers point to the need for these permanent 5G towers to replace the mobile units and ensure quality service year round. Notably, 5G waves do not penetrate walls, and will not service residents or businesses that operate indoors. This technology is designed for open air wireless usage only.

The carriers have proposed installing new 35 to 40 foot 5G cell towers within the French Quarter boundaries. AT&T and Verizon have submitted applications to the City, while T-Mobile and Sprint (merged) have discussed plans for applying. For full coverage in the French Quarter that could mean 200 towers, or a pole at nearly every intersection as they need to be located within 300 feet of each other in an unobstructed line of sight to be effective. 5G poles can incorporate 4G antennas, but they also will include two cabinets measuring 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide and deep to house the updated equipment. Alternatives resembling historic lamp posts are being explored by the City.

In September 2018 “the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restricted cities’ ability to regulate 5G infrastructure. Under the new rules, local governments face tight deadlines to approve or reject the installation of this new cellular equipment. The rules also put limits on how much money cities can charge wireless firms for the privilege of putting hardware in public rights of way.”

“The new FCC rules set a clock of 60 to 90 days for local officials to approve or reject installation requests from wireless carriers…The FCC also put limits on how much city officials can charge to deploy 5G cells, ordering that all fees must be based on costs. Companies like AT&T have complained that certain cities have assessed annual fees of up to $8,000 per 5G attachment.”

Additionally, the FCC had issued an order in March 2018 eliminating environmental and historic preservation review of the 5G cell towers. On August 9, 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on an appeal brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and several Native American Tribes that the FCC had failed to adequately address possible harms of its deregulation efforts and the benefits of environmental and historic preservation review. This ruling implies that the FCC does not have the authority to dismiss the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act or the National Environmental Protection Act. A challenge by dozens of cities and counties to a Federal Communications Commission is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is still pending.

We, along with several other French Quarter groups, are organizing a public meeting in the next couple of weeks for the City to present more information about the proposed 5G small cell towers. Please watch your inbox for details on that gathering.

History in a Glass: A Cocktail Lecture for the Holidays Sat, 07 Dec 2019 15:00:10 +0000

History in a Glass: A Cocktail Lecture for the Holidays

presented by Elizabeth Pearce

Tuesday | December 17, 2019
6 pm presentation | 7pm reception
Beauregard-Keyes House | 1113 Chartres

 Seating is limited
RSVP with

Note: Tickets are $10/person and include the lecture & cocktail reception. Members of BK House and VCPORA get in free with a suggested donation of $5, but please reserve your seat/s in advance by emailing

Much can be gleaned about the city of New Orleans from the roots and evolution of its cocktail culture over the past 160 years. Join author and historian Elizabeth Pearce for a look into the history of alcoholic beverages in the crescent city and how early recipes like the Sazerac at the Roosevelt Hotel and Cafe Brulot at Christmas (or anytime) helped shape the development of how and what people drink today, both in New Orleans, and well beyond.

Guests will be treated to a light reception following the lecture featuring tastes of quintessential local cocktail recipes including the Sazerac and Cafe Brulot. The latter will be prepared with a demonstration by Christoph Dornemann of Arnaud’s Restaurant’s James Beard Award winning French 75 bar.


At Home in the Vieux Carré: December 6, 2019 Tue, 26 Nov 2019 23:51:58 +0000

1026 Esplanade
Friday, December 6, 2019
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Hosted by Rene Fransen & Eddie Bonin

Save the date! The final 2019 At Home in the Vieux Carré is on Friday, December 6. Longtime residents Rene Fransen and Eddie Bonin will be closing out the season with their beautiful Queen Anne home. Specialty cocktails, wine, and nibbles will be provided. This happy hour is not to be missed! Admission is $5 for members, $10 for non-members, and free to those who renew their memberships that night.


Support our appeal against Fast Food Restaurants in the French Quarter! Fri, 01 Nov 2019 19:35:50 +0000 Banner

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, February 10 at 10:00 a.m.!

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, February 10, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
City Council Chambers, City Hall
1300 Perdido St, 1st Floor

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