The cancellation of New Orleans' participation in the nationwide New Year's Eve celebration has stirred speculation about the reasons behind it, with contrasting theories emerging about whether money or concerns about crime were the driving factors.

Since 2017, the city has been an integral part of the Rockin’ Eve broadcast, a proposal initially put forth by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser's office to Dick Clark Productions. This event, held in Jackson Square, has been a pivotal moment for residents and visitors alike, reflecting on the year's end and future plans for the city.

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Was the event cancelled because of crime, finances, or both?

Substantial financial support from the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the city, and New Orleans and Company went into covering the costs of the live broadcast. However, this year, the decision to move the show elsewhere prompted a local radio host to suggest it was due to the city's crime issues. This opinion gained traction when Governor-Elect Jeff Landry shared these sentiments on social media.

However, WWL reported that Walt Leger, President and CEO of New Orleans and Company, contradicted these assertions. He clarified that the departure wasn't primarily linked to safety concerns but rather a financial matter. According to Leger, the production team loved being in New Orleans but required financial support, which wasn't provided this time around.

Leger mentioned that increased competition from other events in the same time zone and a reduction in promotional coverage of Louisiana and the city contributed to the decision.

Another layer to the story was revealed by the Lieutenant Governor, mentioning that their office stopped sponsoring the event after Mayor Latoya Cantrell demanded the removal of a local artist, Lauren Daigle, from the show in 2020. This followed the artist's involvement in a pop-up concert that violated the city's COVID restrictions.

Is there more to the story?

The cancellation has led to various viewpoints and a sense of puzzlement within the community. Some wonder whether the true reasons were financial considerations, as explained by Leger, or concerns about the city's safety, as suggested by others.

Despite the absence of Rockin’ Eve, attention is shifting to other New Year’s events in New Orleans. Walter Leger highlighted the anticipation surrounding coverage from a national semi-final football game and the Pelicans NBA game, projecting high occupancy rates for New Year's Eve festivities.

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Gallery Credit: Sydney DuCharme

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