Held at Luna Libre (thanks to Rhonda Findley!), social activities started at 7:00 p.m. and speakers started around 7:38 after some announcements by Rhonda.
Julie introduced Simonette Berry, a representative of IATSE Local 478, which is the union for film and TV workers. The long version of the name is International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. Simonette lives nearby in Holy Cross, was a student of NOCCA, and has been working in film over 10 years. Her latest production was “City Of A Million Dreams”, a documentary about jazz funerals in Louisiana that she made with her father, Jason Berry. They screened it recently at NOCCA and would like to screen it at more schools.
Simonette explained how New Orleans is unique and valuable to film producers and listed several well known movies made in the area. There are lots of locations and stages and more all the time. The industry generates around $1B annually, brings about 10,000 jobs to the state, and around $350M to Louisiana residents specifically. The union has about 150,000 members. They help film and TV workers secure competitive wages and healthcare, assist with safety and harassment issues, and provide educational opportunities. They also have a number of community outreach efforts including holiday coat and toy drives, disaster aid, and supporting the LGBTQ Archives Project. The state film tax credit is sunsetting in 2025 and the union has formed a PAC to lobby for its renewal.
Simonette then told the group tab she was also one of the organizers (“overlords”) of the Chewbacchus Parade, which has been marching through the neighborhood since 2013 and has grown significantly. Last year their route was shortened due to a lack of available police, and the last minute change caused considerable financial loss to may businesses along the St. Claude portion of the route. The krewe is hoping they can go back to their usual route this year, which starts at Homer Plessy Way and St. Claude Avenue. Their application is in but they have yet to hear back. Simonette asked for our support should the city try to alter the route again.
Simonette was thanked for joining us and for her fascinating presentation.
Julie then introduced Farren Alexander, the City’s new Neighborhood Liaison for District C. Farren told us she recently transitioned from the oil and gas industry. She is there to help us with issues such as blighted property, abandoned vehicles, trash and recycling pickup, and more. She said if she can’t help you she’ll find the right person to help you. Julie chimed in that Farren has been very quick and helpful with her responses. Farren told us they are doing a toy drive and that her Community Office Hours will start up again in January. In the mean time her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and her office phone number is (504)658-7808.
We then took a moment to say hello to Stephanie Bridges, who was in attendance with her son Jordan, and was a candidate for district C City Council. Jordan told us Stephanie is considering running for Civil Court Judge.
Mark Gonzalez then told the group that HANO has yet to renew the lease for Clouet Gardens, which ran out in November. HANO’s agenda is housing, not parks, but Mark explained how the green space is important, especially for lower income residents in the area who might not have access to a yard. He asked everyone to write HANO to ask the lease be renewed.
The meeting ended at 8:24 p.m.
Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB secretary