In 2018 the tourism industry brought the city of New Orleans a record breaking $9 billion dollars. The vast majority of New Orleanians rely on the service industry for jobs. Hotels are one of the main sources of jobs and in 2018 Mohan Kailas announced plans for the Hard Rock New Orleans.
1031 Canal Street is a consortium between Kailas Companies President Mohan Kailas, Citadel Builders President Denzel Clark and All-Star Electric CEO Todd Trosclair. Kailas has a majority stake in the firm. The consortium is also building a new housing development near Xavier University.
The new hotel would be located blocks from the New Orleans Convention Center, which is the sixth largest in the country and would bring a large amount of construction jobs with it.
In 2015, the administration of former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu implemented HIRE NOLA. A local hiring ordinance with laid out requirements for New Orleans contractors. The New Orleans City Council, which included current Mayor Latoya passed the ordinance on October 1, 2015.
On major city contracts, only about 21 percent of the work hours are performed by local workers, according to the Landrieu administration. About 52 percent of the city’s black men, meanwhile, are out of work, according to an oft-cited administration statistic.
Construction lobbyists were skeptical of how the ordinance was to be enforced and with the collapse of the Hard Rock New Orleans hotel, we wonder how Mayor Cantrell is ensuring Kailas Companies, and others, are adhering.
Mohan Kailas is a regular campaign donor of Cantrell’s.
Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma, a Honduran national has worked in construction in the New Orleans area for the past 18 years. Ramirez lacked legal authorization to work in the U.S. and had been ordered deported by a federal immigration judge in 2016. Somehow Ramirez was hired to work on the Hard Rock New Orleans.
Ramirez complained to his employers about structure and unsafe working conditions that went ignored. In the end, ICE deported him.
How many other projects, being built by the construction consortium, also hire undocumented workers, in a presumed effort to save money, and also could be mired in structural deficiencies?
Further, why do cities go through the dog and pony show of creating local hiring ordinances, that aren’t worth the paper they are written on? Are there no qualified New Orleans bred workers?
According to the city’s own study over half of the black men in the city are unemployed and forced to work for minimum wage jobs that are instead being secured by undocumented workers.
The city has a workforce training program, run by local nonprofits, like the Urban League, yet undocumented workers are being hired over locals. The same happened here in Los Angeles. Money was earmarked for local nonprofits to provide construction job training but instead locals were trained on low paying service industry jobs.
No wonder residents have a hard time paying market rate rent. They are being forced into below market rate paying jobs despite local hiring ordinances designed to do otherwise.