As New Orleans businesses and tourism grinds to a halt, workers throughout the city are feeling the pinch, especially those in the hospitality industry.

With this in mind, this page is designed to provide useful resources and information to businesses and individuals in our region.

Unemployment Benefits

Workers can apply for financial assistance and SNAP benefits (food stamps) through the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which has loosened eligibility requirements to help workers affected by COVID-19.

As a worker, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance if: 

  • Your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to Coronavirus.
  • Your workplace closes temporarily, and you are not being compensated.
  • You have been instructed not to go to work, and you are not being paid while at home.

If any of these situations apply to you, you can file a claim for unemployment insurance by visiting www.louisianaworks.net/hire or calling 866-783-5567. Be sure to answer “yes” to the question, “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 ?” This will provide needed information to the LWC to help process your claim.

For more information, got to laworks.net.

Utilites

The City of New Orleans is working with power, water and telecommunications utility providers to ensure efficient and uninterrupted service to residents, especially during the response to COVID-19.

Sewage and Water Board – It is important that residents and businesses in New Orleans have access to running water and electricity during this emergency. The Sewerage and Water Boardsuspended water service shut-offs on March 12, and will adhere to this policy change for the duration of the Mayor’s Declared Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SWBNO will also work to restore water service to those customers who have been disconnected.

Cox is now offering its low-cost internet service, Connect2Compete, free for 30 days for eligible customers including premium remote desktop support. They have expanded eligibility to Connect2Compete to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and current K-12 families without home internet service. After the free period, Connect2Compete is $9.95 a month. There are no contracts, no termination fees, no equipment costs and no installation fees. Equipment will be shipped directly to the customer for home installation with phone support.

AT&T, CenturyLink,  Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verzon have also publicly committed to the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” to ensure customers aren’t cut off from communications services during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes no shutoffs, no late fees, and making wi-fi hotspots available to anyone who needs them.

For the next 30 days, Entergy will halt customer disconnections if nonpayment is the result of the coronavirus. Customers can call 800-368-3749 or visit entergy-neworleans.com for more information. 

Small Business Administration Loans

Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Orleans and Jefferson Parish. This would provide business owners impacted by COVID-19 with up to $2 million dollars in low-interest loans.

The interest rates are 3.75 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits (the average SBA loan is about 8 to 10 percent). That money can be used to pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills.

Once the SBA approves the governor’s request, business owners can call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for information on how to apply.

Gig Economy Fund

The New Orleans Business Alliance is awarding between $500 and $1,000 to musicians, drivers, and other gig workers affected by COVID-19. Must be an Orleans Parish resident.

Apply here.

Food Banks

Beginning March 17, Nola Tree Project will be distributing hot meals at their headquarters (1509 Filmore Ave., New Orleans) from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Second Harvest is offering hot meals at all NORD Recreation Centers (except the Annunciation location) from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Residents can also call 2-1-1 and ask about “emergency food assistance” to receive more information, find out where a food pantry may be located in their community, and sign up for services.

Mental Health Support

If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, fear and anxiety about the uncertainty surrounding this public health emergency, there is a special Keeping Calm through COVID Hotline you can call. This connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services.Call 1-866-310-7977 24/7  Trained counselors available 24/7. All calls are confidential.

We hope this list of resources can help you if you are in need of assistance. For a more robust list of resources, visit https://ready.nola.gov/