Algiers business owners painted a dire picture of their summer business projections at the New Orleans City Council Transportation Committee meeting July 23. Business owners said they're in a tight spot now that service hours of the Algiers-Canal Street ferry have been reduced significantly.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development took over operation of the ferries earlier this month and stopped offering service through midnight. The new schedule halts the ferries at 6:15 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. weekends.
"For the bars and restaurants, this has effectively eliminated all our tourism business in the evening," said Vine and Dine owner Vanessa Thurber. "We've got to have people back on the ferry by 6:15."
"We've been cut off from the rest of the city because of the ferry hours," said Skip Gallagher of the Algiers Point Association. "The trick is the immediacy of the moment. People are losing patience, and people are losing jobs."
Gallagher was referring to service industry employees who take the ferry to work downtown and are left without a ride home when their shifts end. House of the Rising Sun Bed and Breakfast owner Kevin Herridge said the city doesn't help remove the poor public perception of Algiers Point, and Thurber said there should be a promotional push of the ferry service similar to those provided for the St. Charles Avenue and Canal streetcars.
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will seek public comment at a special City Council meeting at 5 p.m. Aug. 5 to discuss a proposed fare restructuring. The ferries currently are free to pedestrians. The fare plan creates a $75 monthly pass, or a $2 one-way fare. A day pass with access to buses and streetcars would be $8. — Alex Woodward
West Coast critics not Fans of the bounce rapper
"Postal Service Delivers; Audience Jarred by Opening Act" was a headline on the front page of The Seattle Times last week after New Orleans bounce rapper Big Freedia opened for the 1990s electropop band The Postal Service on some of the band's West Coast dates.
Reviews for Freedia's signature cross-dressing, booty-popping style were worse just across the border in Vancouver. "Either way, the 'Queen Diva all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana' has done something quite impressive making a career out of such a limited and, ultimately, annoyingly repetitive genre," sniffed a critic for The Vancouver Sun.
In Santa Barbara, Calif., a reviewer for the Santa Barbara Independent called Freedia's act "a show as mesmerizing as it was completely out of place, not to mention wholly appalling to a sizable cross-section of early arrivers. The verdict: the most fantastically ridiculous booking misstep to hit the Bowl in years."
A reality show about the performer's life and the New Orleans hip-hop scene, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, is set to debut on Fuse TV in September. — Kevin Allman