New Orleans to Pay $62,500 Per Minute of Airtime on NYE

Photo courtesy Tulane Public Relations

The City of New Orleans will pay $500,000 for eight minutes of airtime on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” broadcast. That’s $62,500 per minute of airtime from Jackson Square for featuring New Orleans first responders.

The money is set to come from the New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund – a fund that was supposed to be used to support New Orleans culture bearers, musicians, and artists who have been out of work for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thought this fund was for an investment in our cultural economy and our culture bearers and our artists,” said City Council member Kristin Giselson Palmer. “This sounds to me like it’s $500,000 for four minutes during a period when our artists are out of work and I feel like this is not what this fund was created for.”

The $500,000 is set to come from a $4.6 million reserve initially earmarked for cultural events in the city such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. According to the Cantrell administration, appearing on the broadcast is an important way to promote the city, and keep people focused on New Orleans as a post-pandemic tourism destination.

“We’ll have an opportunity to highlight not only our culture and our city but our first responders who have been on the front line as well,” said Lisa Alexis, Director of the Office of Cultural Economy Lisa Alexis. Alexis believes that letting viewers across the country “see that New Orleans is leading in COVID safety measures” and will “be a reason to come back to the city of New Orleans, come fill up our hotels, and experience all the wonderful things the city has to offer.”

Throughout the pandemic, New Orleans music venues such as Tipitina’s have had to reinvent themselves in order to stay afloat – offering to-go coffee, holding online and outdoor performances, and asking fans to help through fundraisers. Although Tipitina’s was successful with its application to the Paycheck Protection Program, many other businesses weren’t – and that money has long run out, with no additional relief in sight.


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