Ten Years After Katrina, Movement for Black Lives in New Orleans Offers National Lessons Audience of Thousands Joins Van Jones, Local and National Civil Rights Leaders in Virtual Town Hall NEW ORLEANS, September 24, 2015—In a virtual Town Hall today attended by thousands, national and New Orleans-based civil rights leader shared stories and strategies from a decade of Black Resistance in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The Town Hall, moderated by Van Jones, covered resistance to the privatization of schools and the expansion of the cradle-to-prison pipeline, the exclusion of Black workers from quality jobs, and resistance to the expansion of white power in post-Katrina New Orleans.

City Council committee endorses plan to help disadvantaged find jobs with city contractors

A New Orleans City Council committee on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a new policy that would connect local and disadvantaged workers with jobs generated by city contracts.
Councilman James Gray, who is sponsoring the measure at the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration, said he will place the measure on the City Council’s regular agenda next week so it can receive additional public comment.
The Hire NOLA policy is part of the strategy of the city’s Network for Economic Opportunity, which was introduced last year partly as a way to chip away at the reported 52 percent unemployment rate among working-age African-American men in New Orleans. It calls for businesses with city construction, alteration or demolition contracts worth more than $150,000 to turn first to the city’s Office of Workforce Development as a source for finding new hires. Those contractors also would be required to demonstrate “good-faith efforts” to hire local and disadvantaged workers. The policy also would cover any cooperative endeavor agreement between the city and a party receiving tax incentives for economic development projects valued at more than $150,000.

Mayor Landrieu gets praise, suggestions for local hiring program

By Richard A. Webster, | The Times-Picayune September 08, 2015 Mayor Mitch Landrieu's new job hiring proposal won widespread support during the first public meeting on the issue Tuesday (Sept. 8), as members of the City Council, community activists, nonprofits and business leaders sang its praises. Andre Kelly with the Associated General Contractors of Louisiana called Hire NOLA a "great idea" at the council's Economic Development Committee meeting. Members of Stand with Dignity said the proposed ordinance was "beautiful" and a "critical step for building opportunities" for low-income workers. Councilman Jason Williams said that it could represent a transformative moment in how the city tackles the issue of income inequality. "There is a real spirit of collaboration. It's not a situation where people are outside the door protesting," Williams said. "That makes me very hopeful that this city can one day look like Atlanta or a Houston in terms of the size of its middle class." Along with that praise, however, came questions about the program's implementation, enforcement and whether there could be a ripple effect in other parishes that could hurt New Orleans workers.