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Episode 897: New Orleans Vs. Airbnb

Charlene Griffith shows us one of the two properties she rents on Airbnb.
Alex Goldmark
Charlene Griffith shows us one of the two properties she rents on Airbnb.

Charlene Griffith has spent her life in New Orleans. She grew up there, and worked one of her first jobs in a hotel there. When Airbnb came to town, she launched her business there. She fixed up a blighted home in the historic neighborhood of Treme, invested a lot in it, and started renting it out to tourists for good money.

It was a great homegrown success story.

But lots of other people also got in on Airbnb. So many homes have become mini-hotels that whole blocks --whole neighborhoods-- are losing the thing that makes New Orleans, New Orleans: its residents.

So the city is cracking down. A complete about face.

Today on the show, how New Orleans set out to help residents like Charlene build wealth. And then pulled the rug out from under them.

Music: "Edge of Fear," "The Duchess," and "Shoe-Shine Rag."

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Alex Goldmark is the senior supervising producer of Planet Money and The Indicator from Planet Money. His reporting has appeared on shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Radiolab, On The Media, APM's Marketplace, and in magazines such as GOOD and Fast Company. Previously, he was a senior producer at WNYC–New York Public Radio where he piloted new programming and helped grow young shows to the point where they now have their own coffee mug pledge gifts. Long ago, he was the executive producer of two shows at Air America Radio, a very short term consultant for the World Bank, a volunteer trying to fight gun violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and also a poor excuse for a bartender in Washington, DC. He lives next to the Brooklyn Bridge and owns an orange velvet couch.
Tegan Wendland