The cultural center for New Orleans has lost the main thing it relies on to bring money in, the people. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been hit where it hurts most, the bank account.
“It’s not just me, it’s the musicians, it’s the jazz clubs it’s the restaurants. It’s everyone. Until the people are here the French Quarter can’t survive,” says Anne Lane.
She is an artist with her own gallery on Royal Street.
She’s started a campaign to get people back into the Quarter.
It’s called “The Point of No Return,” after Andrew Lloyd Webber made a plea to British Government to loosen restrictions for the sake of the arts.
“I think it’s extremely important that the arts are protected, because what is our culture with out that?” says Anne Lane.
“I think that Anne is really brave and I’m really proud of her. It’s hard to speak up, especially when people are scared. People are really scared right now,” says Katy Bea, an artist across the street.
At Fawkes Fine Art, Bea says a conversation needs to happen between French Quarter businesses and the Mayor’s office.
“I would be horrified to make that decision, but I believe that they are elected to be the strong one to make the decision,” says Bea.
“Since we’ve gone through the summer, I can count seven personal friends that have had to close their galleries. Not for a time, for good. We’re about to renegotiate our lease here and you don’t know which way to stand on,” says Lane.
Fliers are printed of the painting that takes inspiration from the “Phantom of the Opera,” which ties in the pandemic with the mask represented.
“My face is covered and that warm smile that you greet everyone in as they come into your restaurant is kind of lost,” says Melissa Rogers, general manager of Doris Metropolitan.
Just like everyone else, they’re in survival mode.
“We’ve had to really figure things out to really, to provide for dine in, also do take out, and keep running as a restaurant. At this point, it’s about longevity,” says Rogers.
For now, all Lane wants is a conversation with the city to figure out how to move forward.
“If you have a boat on fire and it’s sinking, what’s the point of putting the fire out if the boat is going down. You better rescue your boat first. And I feel like the boat is sinking right now,” says Lane.