Grassroots Cultural Master Plan
Many cities around the country, including New York, Austin, and Washington D.C., have developed ‘Cultural Master Plans’, which guide cultural development and ensure some level of support for a wide variety of cultural activities and businesses. New Orleans does not have a cultural plan, and until very recently, planning, policy, and legal decisions surrounding music and culture in New Orleans have almost always been reductive—viewing culture, particularly cultural activity in working class African-American neighborhoods, as a problem to be managed rather than an asset. Recent gains are precarious, often little more than a handshake agreement that can easily be undone by a new Mayor, City Council, or civil servant.
While the creation of most cultural plans is usually top down—with the local government or hired planning firm running the process—New Orleans, with its indigenous, neighborhood based culture, is uniquely suited to change that paradigm, and instead be the first city to adopt a plan entirely created and driven by the members of the cultural community. The creation of a grassroots cultural ‘Master Plan’, developed by City’s musicians, artists, and culture bearers themselves, would create permanent protections for New Orleans’ most important cultural practices, and create blueprint for greater economic prosperity for cultural practitioners.
With our deep knowledge and experience working at the intersection of culture and urban planning, MaCCNO is uniquely suited to help guide this process. Preliminary work is underway, and we will be providing updates as the work progresses.