Plans for More Affordable Housing in NOLA Moving Along


New Orleans Musicians Village Rainbow Row. Photo by Tanya Lukasik

We’ve all seen the WWL video of NOLA resident and single mother Sharon Denson who, despite working a full-time job, lives out of a hotel room. According to her, and of course many others, “The rent is ridiculously high.” So much so, that she can’t afford to pay the ever-increasing costs of a rental on the salary she’s been earning. Thus, the hotel room she’s now living out of. 

Mayor Latoya Cantrell has been touring the region as of late, outlining her affordable housing plan in fits and starts, based not just off of concerns from citizens over sky-rocketing costs, but also on a $600 Million budget given to the city to build new units. 

This past Wednesday, the Mayor’s office sent out a release, calling on the CPC (City Planning Commission) to perform a study on affordable housing.

Mayor Cantrell is quoted as saying:

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“In the course of this review, the CPC shall summarize opportunities for change to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) based on the recent amendments to the City’s Master Plan; review and report on successful programs nationwide and the use of strategies,”

The CPC will hold a public hearing within 60 days to go over comments and strategies. 

The Mayor’s office requests the following:

  • recommendations for the redevelopment of vacant blighted properties for affordable housing
  • recommendations for the use of public land for affordable housing
  • recommendations for placing limitations on the removal of residential housing units
  • recommendations for placing limitations on the conversion of residential housing units to non-residential use
  • recommendations for lot area requirements for the development of affordable housing throughout the city
  • recommendations for the conversion of accessory structures for residential use, for new construction of accessory structures, and for the exploration of tiny houses as a mechanism to create more affordable and workforce housing

Meanwhile, Sharon Denson, having seen a press conference Cantrell gave on the subject, said:

“I shook my head. I really shook my head cause I’m like, you’re stating all of these facts on TV, but in reality, it’s not happening!”

Hopefully, this progress will happen sooner than later. 


Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved. Follow him on Twitter: @billreviews

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