GOOD Ideas for Cities: Supporting Food Truck Culture In New Orleans

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Supporting Food Truck Culture In New Orleans GOOD Ideas for Cities: Supporting Food Truck Culture In New Orleans
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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Supporting Food Truck Culture In New Orleans

by Chappell Ellison

November 30, 2012

In recent years, New Orleans has become an urban incubator for creative ideas, drawing artists and entrepreneurs together to help guide the city towards a positive future. This meeting-of-the-minds atmosphere has revealed a simple truth about the city: New Orleans has a lot of archaic laws in dire need of a modern overhaul. 

When GOOD Ideas for New Orleans convened and tasked a team of creatives to tackle food truck reform, the group was unprepared for the outdated laws of the city. Not only does the city ban food trucks from its Central Business District and the French Quarter, information for would-be food truck operators is convoluted and hard to find. "It makes no sense that a city with a tagline 'We live to eat' would make it so difficult for food trucks to operate," says Kelley Troia, a member of the GOOD Ideas for Cities creative team.

Read more about their solution.

New Orleans is representative of many cities struggling to incorporate food trucks into a traditional restaurant scene. In the past, restaurant owners have argued that food trucks steal customers. The reality the team discovered is that mobile vendors fill a completely different niche than restaurants. "There's a thought process that happens when people go to eat: what kind of food do I want? How much time do I have? Do I want to sit down or take something on the run?" says Troia.

Rachel Billow, president of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition (NOFTC) and owner of mobile-eatery La Cocinita, agrees. "In other cities, restaurant owners have found that the presence of food trucks actually helps their businesses by bringing foot traffic to the area. The two formats complement one another, rather than compete with each other," notes Billow. This clustering effect is well-documented: Along Magazine Street, tightly-packed restaurants thrive on the competition they present to one another in what has become a go-to dining destination in New Orleans. Billow believes that the same effect is achieved when food trucks and restaurants cluster together.

After plenty of research alongside the NOFTC, the GOOD Ideas for Cities creative team set to crafting a new identity for nolafoodtrucks.com, reinventing the site as a resource for eaters and vendors. The goal is for the site to become a huge benefit for food truck entrepreneurs looking to learn about the in-and-outs of the city's laws.

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