The crowd outside a New Orleans Short-Term Rental Committee meeting on Aug. 6.
"Once in a lifetime opportunity," read an ad on Craigslist's "vacation rentals" listings. "STEAL from New Orleans Airbnbs! (Quaint Authentic Neighborhood)." Of course one clicks.
In the now-deleted post
, a delightfully anarchic and satirical screed against the slightly regulated short-term rental company and its network of hundreds of rooms and houses throughout the New Orleans area, "stealing indiscriminately" — rather than wishy-washy enforcement, full-blown legalization or letting things be to help out struggling artists (which "some dull person is probably saying right now, whilst painting a jazz guy with wavy music-lines coming out of his music-horn") — is the way to go. "Because Airbnb is an invisible middleman, we have no choice but to attack its physical expression within our city. A diffuse and decentralized campaign of petty theft is the best course of action."
Airbnb recently made available its own New Orleans data
, showing that 2,400 property owners used the website to host guests over the last year and on average made $10,900 annually from those transactions. Data-scraping projects like the New Orleans Short-Term Rental Report
have argued short-term rentals' stress on housing stocks, their likelihood to reinforce housing discrimination and racial bias, and their appeal to property owners in a city infamous for its lack of renters' rights.
But hey, "who needs neighbors when we've got brunch?