Pelican Institute Calls for Path to Reopen Louisiana’s Economy

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute) launched “Get Louisiana Working,” a call to Louisiana’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and political leaders to find the best and most expedient plan to re-open Louisiana’s economy.

In the coming days and weeks, the Pelican Institute will call on leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to develop solutions for reopening Louisiana’s economy and getting citizens back to work. The organization will then release a comprehensive policy solutions framework for lawmakers to consider when they reconvene the legislative session.

In its case to Get Louisiana Working, the Pelican Institute discusses research it reviewed on the Great Recession to demonstrate the major impacts economic downturns can have on human life. Between 2007 and 2010, the rate of increase of suicides in America accelerated, spiking to 4.8 percent. Other studies also highlight the dramatic rise in food and housing insecurities during the Great Recession, such as one showing the number of children living in food insecure households skyrocketed to over 23 percent and another that found the estimated number of homeless families in the country rose by 30 percent from 2007 to 2009.

Between March 1 to April 4, 227,000 Louisianans applied for unemployment, and the Pelican Institute notes these numbers will continue to worsen and Louisiana families will face more desperate circumstances the longer the state allows the economy to remain closed.

Daniel Erspamer, chief executive officer of the Pelican Institute, said Louisiana’s past combined with the state and nation’s core principles have prepared the state to step up to these new, unprecedented challenges.

“Throughout our history, Louisianans have faced down countless crises, and through determination, innovation, a strong sense of community, and a stubborn will to succeed, we’ve prevailed,” Erspamer said. “Today, we face two major crises – the public health threat posed by COVID-19 and the crippling effects the measures being taken to contain and treat the virus are having on families and businesses across our state. These principles are precisely what we need to emerge strongly from the challenge we face today. Each poses different yet grave threats to the future of our state and nation – and individual human life – and it’s critical Louisiana’s leaders put equal and urgent energy into solving both crises and get Louisianans back to work as soon as possible.”

Over the coming days and weeks, the Pelican Institute aims to spark discussion and innovation from every corner of the state and nation to Get Louisiana Working. The organization will also be releasing additional recommendations and policy solutions to spur the economy and get Louisianans back to work.