French Quarter residents reject public safety tax measure

(Photo: La. State Police officers arrest a man in the French Quarter. | Andrew Bardwell | CC Flickr)
Residents on Saturday rejected a ballot measure that would have extended a sales tax that would have funded additional police patrols in the French Quarter over the next five years.

Dec. 5 voting results showed the “quarter for the Quarter” sales tax received 297 votes, or 33% of the vote, with all eight French Quarter voting precincts reporting, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Five hundred and ninety-five French Quarter residents voted against the measure.

Unofficial results show that 22.6% of the district’s registered voters, or 892 of 3,949, cast a ballot.

The precinct with the highest voter turnout was 6-1 at 177 votes, with 115 ballots, or 65%, voting against the measure. The precinct is bounded by Bourbon to St. Philip streets, and Henriette Delille Street to Esplanade Avenue.

The next two precincts with the highest voter turnout include 6-1 at 176 votes, with 118, or 67%, ballots voting against the tax; and 5-3 at 148 votes, with 107, or 72%, ballots voting against the measure.

Only 12 voters cast ballots each in precincts 7-1 and 7-2, which border the French Quarter along Esplanade Avenue.

The lowest turnout percentage occurred in precinct 4-2, which is bordered by the Mississippi River, Canal and St. Louis streets and includes a portion of Treme. Only 52 residents, or 9.6% of registered voters, voted on the tax Dec. 5.

Early voting numbers show that 152 French Quarter residents voted on the tax, with 101, or 66%, rejecting the measure.

The measure was among three other parishwide tax propositions, which were also defeated.

If passed, voters would have renewed a 0.2495% tax added to individual sales in the French Quarter, and would have generated an estimated $2 million each year to pay for enhanced and supplemental New Orleans Police patrols throughout the district until 2025.

The tax equated to 25 cents for every $100 spent in the French Quarter.

In 2019, the sales tax generated $3 million dollars that went to the Louisiana State Police patrols. The tax was originally passed by voters in October 2015.