Friday, May 4, 2012

Culture a job industry in New Orleans

World Cultural Economic Forum draws global leaders to New Orleans

Jaquetta White, The Times-Picayune 
Musicians, writers, visual artists and other people whose jobs are tied to New Orleans' culture accounted for about 13.5 percent of the local workforce, or 30,400 jobs in 2011, according to a report released Thursday by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office. The so-called cultural economy grew 6.7 percent in two years from 28,500 jobs in 2009 and returned to 2002 levels, according to the report.
04myculture_1024.jpgA delegate speaks during a Global Town Hall meeting during the 2012 World Cultural Economic Forum at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New Orleans Thursday.
Jobs in the sector include those related to culture, such as jobs in museums. Some entertainment jobs -- such as those in broadcast, film, music and live entertainment -- are included, but not those associated with sports and tourism. Culinary arts jobs -- such as those connected to catering, cookbooks and specialty foods manufactured in the state -- are included, but not jobs in restaurants.
The report was released as part of Landrieu's World Cultural Economic Forum, an event held Thursday and designed to draw attention to the city's cultural economy. As part of the event, Landrieu welcomed leaders from cities around the country as well as ambassadors and cultural attaches from several countries, including Israel, Lithuania and Georgia. The forum also included a panel discussion on the impact of culture on global change and a town hall meeting on the cultural economy that was streamed live on the internet.
Landrieu has attempted to draw attention to Louisiana's cultural economy since he oversaw tourism as Louisiana's lieutenant governor.
There were 1,300 cultural businesses in New Orleans in 2011, according to the report, up 9 percent from 2010. The industry paid more than $1.2 billion in salaries.
According to the report, 75 percent of the cultural businesses in New Orleans are small neighborhood-based businesses.
But businesses also include those tied to the city's growing film industry. New Orleans hosted 46 feature film and television tax credit projects in 2011, up 34 percent from 2010. Local spending on those projects skyrocketed in the year, climbing 46 percent to $531 million.
Landrieu said the data will be used to steer his administration's policy in the area of cultural economy.
Jaquetta White can be reached at or 504.826.3494.
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