First NOLABA Relief Fund Grants Approved

NEW ORLEANS – On Monday, March 16, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) announced a dedicated relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted by a loss of income due to closures and cancellations associated with COVID-19.

NOLABA committed the first $100,000 to initiate the fund, with the goal of increasing its assets to a minimum of $500,000. That same day, Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson personally donated $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund in response to the coronavirus situation, with $100,000 allocated to the Gig Economy Workers’ relief fund.

As of  March 24, the size of the relief fund has surpassed $335,000 with additional donations from Baptist Community Ministries (BCM), Gulf Coast Bank and 211 engaged New Orleanians.

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Over the weekend, the first grant approvals were issued to a group that included musicians, ride share drivers, French Quarter performers and event production staff. 

As of 2017, gig economy workers represent more than 8% of the workforce in Orleans Parish. As contract employees of often large corporations, gig economy workers tend to lack access to minimum wage, paid sick leave, overtime pay, and standard employee benefits, making them particularly susceptible to changes within the economy.

“We’re incredibly grateful and proud of our community for stepping up and recognizing the hardworking men and women of the gig economy who have helped make our city what it is today,” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. “While the response to the fund has been enormous, the need will continue to grow. We are urging all local business leaders to join us in contributing to the fund. Our neighbors need to know that we see them, we support them, and we’re here for them. This fund and others like it provide hope for those who depend on the festival season for significant portions of their income. We will get through this; trust and believe, the only way forward is together.”

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For additional information regarding the gig economy workers’ relief fund, or to apply, please visit

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