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Mayor Cantrell, Office of Cultural Economy Provide Updates, Highlights of Cultural Initiatives and Opportunities from First Half of 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today was joined by the Office of Cultural Economy (OCE), led by Director Lisa Alexis, at the historic Gallier Hall to provide updates and present impactful cultural initiatives that have transpired the first half of 2023, as well as highlight future opportunities for local artists and creatives to thrive.

Mayor Cantrell and OCE were also joined by Director of Community Partnerships and Education for the New Orleans Opera Dr. Tara Melvin and Local Artist Jacques Francois, who both spoke about the plentiful benefits of collaborating with OCE.

“We are more than elated to see the growth of our economy being stimulated by our cultural community and seeing them thrive following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This is why my team and I worked tirelessly with leaders at the state level to allocate more tax dollars derived from tourism to directly support our cultural and hospitality industries; New Orleans is finally getting her fair share. This is also a reflection of the dedication and hard work of our partners but, most importantly, our cultural economy team. As the most Afro-Centric city in the United States, we have to be unapologetic and intentional about how we invest in, preserve and continue to grow the culture of our city.”

Film New Orleans is in strong support of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike, as well as the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG–AFTRA) strike. These strikes have not only had an immediate and unprecedented negative effect on the film industry in New Orleans but the film industry across the United States.

“Every major city has felt the impact of this strike,” said Film New Orleans Director Carroll Morton. “Right now, we only have one project filming in the city, when we usually have 25. However, we are very hopeful that this can and will be resolved, as these issues, I believe, are existential for the entire industry.”

Bryon Cornelison, Deputy Director of Programs, highlighted Gallier Hall’s flexibility in not only being a historic landmark of the city but also a space that can host a wide variety of events inside its halls. Recently, Gallier Hall celebrated the 170th anniversary of when its doors were first opened. Cornelison also offered Francois the opportunity to discuss what his artistic vision was when creating the poster that was presented by Mayor Cantrell to Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles, as well as members of the Los Angeles City Council, as part of the New Orleans Corridor renaming celebration and inaugural Los Angeles International Jazz Festival announcement this past June.

Alana Harris, Deputy Director of Arts and Culture, noted the success of Mayor Cantrell’s participation within multiple cultural events held in New Orleans throughout the first half of the year, including Mardi Gras, the 52nd New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the 40th French Quarter Festival, the 29th Essence Festival of Cultural and more. Harris noted that OCE has more cultural event partnerships and activations in store for the rest of 2023, including Bayou Classic, Mayor Cantrell’s Deck the Halls and more.

Harris also invited Dr. Melvin to speak on the cultural impact OCE has through its partnership, strengthening their ability to showcase the New Orleans Opera through its generous grant funding.

OCE continues to work to showcase and support local expressions of art through visual and literary arts, film, music, crafts, fashion and culinary from a diverse group of artists and the cultural sector. To discover more information about OCE, please visit


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