This week on Behind The Lens, a fight is brewing between New Orleans City Hall and one of its biggest industries: tourism and hospitality. Mayor LaToya Cantrell is pushing to redirect taxes generated by tourism — which are now mostly used to pay for tourism and entertainment marketing and infrastructure — toward services used by residents.
Cantrell says the city needs between $80 million and $100 million annually to repair aging infrastructure, and she wants more of those tourism tax dollars going to city government.
Tourism leaders are pushing back. In an interview with Lens editor Charles Maldonado, Stephen Perry, president of New Orleans & Company (formerly the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau), says Cantrell’s proposal would take away the fuel from the “magnificent jet plane that is the New Orleans tourism industry.”
New Orleans & Company claims that between 89,000 and 100,000 people in New Orleans are employed by tourism and that tourists and events already generate 43 percent of the city’s operating budget. Charles tries to get to the bottom of those numbers.
Then, host and producer Tom Wright talks to reporter Marta Jewson about her recent collaboration with HuffPost: a profile of the New Orleans Center for Resilience.
The school serves kids with some of the most extreme behavior needs in the city, often stemming from trauma or mental illness. Opened in 2014, 45 students have attended the school, where they are often taught in one-to-one settings. It’s a place for kids who have almost nowhere else to turn — when they’ve been asked or told to leave their previous schools. The goal, the Center for Resilience’s director told Marta, is to get them back into the mainstream school system.
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