LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU LAUNCHES GREATER NEW ORLEANS CULTURE DISTRICTS -- 12/04/2008
Office of Lieutenant Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2008
LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU LAUNCHES GREATER NEW ORLEANS CULTURE DISTRICTS
Program Drives Local Economic Development
New Orleans, La. - Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and members of the New Orleans City Council announced 23 Cultural Districts in the Greater New Orleans area. The Cultural Districts program is part of the Cultural Economy Initiative, created in 2004 by Lt. Governor Landrieu to drive sustainable economic development through Louisiana's cultural assets. These 23 districts are among the 29 Cultural Districts designated statewide in the first round of the program.
"Louisiana's culture is a valuable economic engine that drives our businesses, attracts tourists, and provides a variety of rich experiences," said Lt. Governor Landrieu. "We started the Cultural Economy Initiative to create jobs through our music, film, food, and arts. Our cultural industries employ 144,000 citizens and account for 7.6% of our state's employment base."
The Cultural Districts program was created in 2007 to promote economic growth and community revitalization. The program builds partnerships among artists, business owners, and local and state government. There are two primary incentives for communities to participate, which include state historic preservation tax credits for renovations to historical structures within the district; and sales-tax exemptions on sales of original, one-of-a-kind works of art.
The Lt. Governor and the Department of Cultural, Recreation and Tourism have worked with city leaders throughout the state to promote the program.
Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, who covers much of north and central New Orleans, stated "Gentilly and Ponchartrain Park are two communities with historic cultural significance. These grants will spur social, economic and cultural development creating a better quality of life for our citizens."
The benefits of the communities may expect increases in occupancy, property renovations, an improved sense of community, and enhances in social and cultural activity and job opportunities. Leslie Guthrie, manager of the Magazine Street Gallery District, indicated that as a result of their Cultural District designation there has been increased coordination and cooperation among the arts businesses, one being a publication featuring works at eight galleries, a first for the district.
"Becoming a cultural district has enhanced our focus on promoting ourselves as a group/destination for the arts and culture which is unique to Magazine Street," said Guthrie.
Cultural Districts in the Greater New Orleans area include:
Midtown Cultural District of Abita Springs
Fontainebleau Cultural District
Covington Cultural District
Bayou Road & African American
Lower Garden District
City Park-New Orleans Museum of Art
Lower 9th Ward
Oak Street Arts & Music
Magazine Street Gallery
Downtown Development District
St. Claude Avenue
Rampart-Basin Street Corridor
O.C. Haley Boulevard
City of Gretna
City of Slidell Olde Towne
The second round of Cultural Districts should be announced in March 2009.