NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell, joined by Lisa Alexis, director of the Office of Cultural Economy (OCE), and the OCE team today held a press conference at Gallier Hall highlighting the work and economic impact of the OCE in New Orleans during the first quarter of 2022.

Highlights included large events including the return of Mardi Gras, the 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four, 24 major film and television projects, the Americas Competitiveness Exchange Conference and international partnerships to support the arts and culture of the city.

“We are on a strong comeback, and this comeback is tied to the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, even as it relates to film,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We have more film production happening in our city than we have ever seen before, and there is no slowing down. This is our way of showing our community and our city that the road paved to real recovery is going to be focused on investing in our culture as part of our infrastructure.”

The efforts of Film New Orleans is a section of OCE that is devoted to the city’s efforts to attract and enhance the production of feature films, television series, documentaries and commercial filming. New Orleans is the fourth largest production hub in the US, and in just the first months of 2022 alone, film and television productions have spent nearly $435 million thanks to the city and state’s film tax credit program. Additionally, actor and New Orleans-native Anthony Mackie recently announced that he is developing a film studio in New Orleans East to take advantage of this growing industry.

OCE also spearheaded this year’s return of Mardi Gras in partnership with dozens of state, local and business partners. This was the first time the city was able to host Mardi Gras since large gatherings were canceled or scaled back throughout the US due to the pandemic.

“Not only is this a very symbolic event that initiates a season that is culturally important to New Orleans, but it is also a sign of hope and recovery from the pandemic,” said Alexis. “Mardi Gras is also economically significant, and this event signifies that New Orleans is ready for visitors and locals alike to safely experience Mardi Gras.”

Mayor Cantrell and Alexis also highlighted the nearly $1.7 million in community grants that went to arts and culture organizations in 2021. OCE was able to use funds from these grants to provide more than $300,000 to culture bearers last year but is on track to beat that amount in 2022, having already spent more than $89,000 in the first quarter alone.

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