Tell City Council to Support Emergency Healthcare for All!

We are calling on the New Orleans City Council to support the Medicare for All Act of 2019 or Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act to meet the immediate need for full health care coverage with no out-of-pocket expenses. Public health is a social good, like clean air or fresh water. In this time of crisis it is clear that we are only as safe and healthy as our neighbors, coworkers, teachers, bus drivers, grocery workers, servers, and bartenders. We need federal legislation that will keep our neighbors safe and protect them from surprise medical bills and debt.

Take action – sign the petition! 

Please call your council member and urge them to support the Medicare for All Act of 2019 or Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act!

Call your council member today!
At-Large Councilmember Helena Moreno: (504) 658-1060
At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams: (504) 658-1070
District A Councilmember Joe Giarrusso: (504) 658-1010
District B Councilmember Jay Banks: (504) 658-1020
District C Councilmember Kristin Palmer: (504) 658-1030
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett: (504) 658-1040
District E Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen: (504) 658-1050

“Hello, my name is [NAME] and I live in District [X] in New Orleans. I’m calling to urge Councilmember [X] to support Resolution No. R-20-125 and endorse federal legislation to create universal healthcare.

Public health is a social good, like clean air or fresh water. COVID-19 has shown us that we are only as safe and healthy as our neighbors and community members. We need legislation that will keep our neighbors safe and protect them from surprise medical bills and debt. We need Healthcare-for-All! Thank you for your time.”

We Need a Fair Fund for Hospitality Workers

We’re part of a coalition fighting for hospitality workers. New Orleans’ Exhibition Hall Authority has nearly $200 million in cash reserves and, with over 90,000 hospitality and tourism workers in New Orleans currently out of work, we are demanding $100 million go to direct relief for workers. The GNO Fair Hospitality Fund is escalating now and we need everyone’s help! 

  • Sign the petition. Demand the Exhibition Hall Authority give direct relief to workers! You can sign here
  • Share the petition. Is someone in your family, a friend, or a neighbor an out of work hospitality worker? Ask them to sign and share the petition!
  • Film a #FairFundNow selfie. Check out some of the videos we’ve already uploaded to our facebook, and share widely. Instructions for how to do your own are here. If you’re not an out of work hospitality worker, pass this along your networks.
  • Join our online rally! On 4/20 from 5 pm – 7 pm. You can find the Facebook event here with links to zoom registration. 

COVID-19 Resources for Workers

We are in the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis. It is no secret that workers, especially in the service industry, will be disproportionately impacted, and that collective action is the greatest tool we have at our disposal to get through this. To that end, we’ve compiled a variety of resources to help workers in New Orleans and Louisiana at large, which can be viewed here.

Additionally, we’re working on setting up unemployment workshops, fighting for a fair fund for hospitality workers, and contributing to mutual aid projects throughout the city.

DSA New Orleans Stands With Workers in Health Crisis

We are currently experiencing the first wave of disruption that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is bringing to the United States, the South, and our beloved city of New Orleans. As this public health and socioeconomic crisis unfolds, the cracks in our institutions and systems will become apparent and may even fully fracture. When systems fail, it is people who pick up the pieces and reform them. As socialists and working people, we know our power rests in our ability to act collectively. We embrace solidarity over self-interest because it is necessary for survival.

Our capitalist economic system amplifies all the effects of the pandemic. Millions of workers earning low wages and facing ever-increasing rents and childcare costs now have difficult decisions to make. Over the past forty years, politicians on both sides of the aisle have cut funding to public programs and let investors and corporations dictate their policy. State and municipal governments have given private, profit-seeking companies control over vital services, and we are now seeing the disastrous results of that approach.

In the absence of a paid sick leave program, millions of working people face the stressful choice of whether to go to work sick or stay home as advised and risk losing pay or their jobs altogether. 

In the absence of a paid family leave program, working parents face enormous difficulty in obtaining childcare when schools close. 

In the absence of strong unions, businesses fire employees to offset lost revenue and treat workers as disposable.

In the absence of a national healthcare system, people go into medical debt when they pursue vital treatment or suffer the consequences of not going to the doctor. Healthcare workers face enormous strains without proper support. 

There are many solutions for the issues listed above, and we are at a critical turning point for demanding universal programs at the federal level, not compromised half-measures like the House paid sick leave bill written late last week that only covers 20% of workers by exempting all corporations with more than 500 employees. 

This month we have already seen how quickly the government can react and unleash spending that it typically says is impossible, most notably with the $1.5 trillion the Federal Reserve is loaning to banks to stabilize financial markets. But we have also seen many states and municipalities enact progressive contingency plans with low barriers to access, acknowledging that when we share our skills and resources, we exponentially increase our impact and reach and prevent further harm.

While New Orleans DSA strongly believes in and supports universal social programs, right now our attention is focused on our city and region.

We’ve watched our city’s infrastructure deteriorate under the strain of decades of corruption and inaction. Recently, in the wake of events like massive drainage system failures and the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, our leaders have asked us to normalize dysfunction and trust a process that doesn’t prioritize our residents’ needs.

We have over 80,000 service industry workers and 56,000 people over the age of 65 in the city, and almost 20% of New Orleanians live in poverty. Four in ten adults in the Greater New Orleans area live with chronic medical conditions associated with significantly increased mortality. Our city faces dire prospects in the event of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak, and the number of new infections is rising higher than in other metro areas in the country. Unless we make demands and work together to pressure the powerful, thousands of us will be broke and broken in the aftermath. 

It is time to prioritize the needs of all workers, especially and the most vulnerable among us, as we fight for concrete change and true public health in our city and region– not just physical, but social and economical health.

New Orleans DSA feels that organizing workers to take power into their own hands through all avenues is the only way to improve the material and social conditions of all people. We have already seen multiple mutual aid networks develop to help mitigate the secondary effects of this crisis in this city, and we believe those networks should also take advantage of this moment to focus pressure on those in power. While we are still developing more demands in coordination with other organizations, right now we insist that:

  • Entergy New Orleans must suspend shut-offs due to late payment in all instances, not just confirmed COVID-19 cases. The local energy monopoly announced that it will suspend shut-offs for customers who are affected by COVID-19 through the next four weeks, but hasn’t explained who qualifies. Entergy should suspend shut-offs indefinitely for all customers since it is clear that disruption will affect everyone, not just the infected. We call on Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Public Service Commission to require all energy suppliers in the state to do the same. Entergy, the parent company for several utilities in the South, has revenues of $11 billion a year.

  • New Orleans & Company must contribute financial relief from their substantial cash reserves for service industry and hospitality workers, as well as artists, musicians, performers, tour guides, and other culture workers. New Orleans & Company is a private non-profit that receives sales tax revenue generated by hospitality workers to fund expensive marketing campaigns that promote tourism. Our city’s over-reliance on tourism has made this entity very powerful while diverting taxes that could be used for public education, healthcare, and infrastructure. 

    This relief should be available to all service industry workers, undocumented and documented, and apply to lost wages that are not always accounted for by business owners, including tips and under-the-table payment. City Council has already made a formal request that New Orleans and Co. offer assistance to employees and develop fair rehiring practices for laid off workers, but as we saw from last year’s negotiation for infrastructure funds, constant pressure is necessary to spur action.

  • The City of New Orleans must take the health and safety of our vulnerable residents into consideration to prevent the spread of the virus. We support the Orleans Public Defenders in calling for the release of all people currently imprisoned for nonviolent offenses and that NOPD issue summons for new nonviolent suspects instead of placing them in Orleans Parish Prison. We also believe the sentences of elderly prisoners should be evaluated to assess them for early release on probation or parole. Since visitors are now banned from entering OPP, prisoners must be provided access to social interaction with their friends and family through phone. Sheriff Gusman must call for Securus, the jail’s communications and banking contractor, to waive all fees and surcharges for the duration of the pandemic. The city must build or find emergency shelters for the unhoused, including food and sanitation facilities necessary to prevent further spread of the virus.

Join Us.

New Orleans DSA is currently contacting other allied organizations to plan concrete actions. We are holding a joint conference call on Tuesday, March 17th at 6:30 p.m. Email if you are interested in how to participate in the call.

You can sign up for our mailing list here for updates as we plan our ongoing response campaigns.

If you are able to contribute to our local COVID-19 mutual aid efforts, please fill out this form.

If you believe that democratic socialism and worker power is essential to the long-term health and justice in our country and the world, you can join the Democratic Socialists of America here.

While this statement is limited in its focus to our city, our chapter stands in solidarity with all Louisianans and the entire Gulf Coast, and we will look for ways to offer assistance to them as well.

New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America

DSA for Bernie: Campaign Update!

it’s 2020 and we’re ramping up our local campaign for Bernie Sanders. We had thirty people attend our Bernie planning meeting this past Saturday, and on Sunday the 5th, fifteen folks turned out to knock doors in the upper 9th Ward!

Our next Bernie Meeting is set for Sunday, Feb. 9th, 3 to 4:30PM at 2533 Columbus St.

Bernie is polling neck and neck with Biden. He can win, but it’s up to grassroots organizers to make it happen. That’s why New Orleans DSA is running an ambitious campaign and we’ve set goals to:

– Knock thousands of doors
– Register hundreds of voters
– Hold Bernie 2020 events every week until the primary

Bernie doesn’t have billionaire funders or corporate media on his side, but he has an army of volunteers like us who are organizing all across the U.S. to win Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, democracy in the workplace, racial justice, and a stop to endless wars.

Keep reading to see all of the events we have planned for this month! If you want to get involved but don’t know where to start, fill out this form and an organizer will be get in touch with you.


December General Meeting Recap

We had over sixty people attend our November General Meeting, including many new folks! We’re so glad you made time to come out and participate in our chapter’s work. To recap:

We’re starting a new project to learn more about our membership! We’re conducting a survey to help us learn more about our members so we can make a real strategy to grow.  

Click here to fill out our brief Membership Survey.

DSA Joins the Coalition to Stop Jail Expansion

In February of 2019, DSA signed on to join the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, which is fighting to stop jail expansion and bring justice to our city’s broken criminal punishment system.

Since then, we’ve helped make calls, email our city council members, and show up to demand community resources be spent on social services like improving education, creating good jobs, and fixing our infrastructure — NOT jailing New Orleanians for crimes of poverty.

Yesterday, 12/5 we turned out 10 of our members to a hearing where the City Council deliberated on whether to expand OPP. And our coalition won! City Council unanimously passed a 1,250 person-cap for the city’s jails, soundly rejecting the sheriff’s proposal and moving us towards the Council’s pledge of getting the jail population below 998 by 2021. Councilmember Banks also agreed to create an ordinance that makes the new cap enforceable, and the Council overall supported the notion of ensuring that no ICE detainees are held in Orleans Parish Prison.

“This is a win for the advocates who want to reduce the size of the prison,” said District B Councilmember Jay Banks.

The fight for justice, prison abolition and an end to mass incarceration continues. Onward!

DSA Supports Marciano Art Foundation Workers!

In November, art workers at the Marciano Art Foundation museum announced their intention to form a union, so they could have power and democracy on the job, and the ability to bargain with management to improve wages and working conditions. Within days, the Marciano family fired every worker and closed their museum.

But the Marciano Art Foundation workers are not giving up without a fight. They’re running a community pressure campaign around the country demanding the Marciano family reopen their workplace, rehire the workers and recognize their union.

The Marciano family also owns the Guess brand and is known for union-busting, paying poverty wages, and violating workers rights. So on Black Friday, the MAF Union lead a coordinated action around the country to disrupt business as usual at over 50 Guess stores across the U.S.

New Orleans DSA members Michael and Jeff joined AFSCME and UTNO organizers to flyer inside the Riverwalk Mall, passing out information and having conversations with around a hundred different people. DSA will keep following the MAF Union campaign as we do our part to support workers around the country!

DSA for Bernie! Campaign Update

New Orleans DSA members & supporters at the chapter’s favorite bar, Pirogues, for a debate watch party.

We know that Bernie Sanders is the best presidential candidate for workers and our families, so New Orleans DSA is running an ambitious campaign for Bernie 2020! We will be knocking thousands of doors, making hundreds of calls and texts, registering voters, hosting monthly Bernie educational and social events, and canvassing & tabling across the city. There’s plenty of work to do and we’re going to need all hands on deck, so come join us! Our next Bernie campaign meeting is Saturday, Dec. 7th, 2 – 3:30 PM in the common space at Fairgrinds Coffee House (3133 Ponce de Leon).


2019 Runoff Voting Guide Released

Our Voting Guide for this year’s November 16th Runoff Election has arrived! It’s live and online to help educate y’all about candidates and issues. Huge shoutout to Municipal Action Committee for their extremely hard work on this!