Jun 262017

Festival-goers braved the rain Sunday to spend time on the bayou (Claire Byun).

By Claire Byun

This year’s Bayou Boogaloo drew in more than $25,000 for ten citywide nonprofits, though beverage sales plummeted due to the weekends’ poor weather, organizers said.

Jared Zeller, founder of Bayou Boogaloo, said beverage sales decreased 49 percent on Sunday from the year before. Sales also decreased 18 percent on Saturday from 2016, though Friday’s totals grew by 65 percent, Zeller said.

“I really think it was just because of the rain,” Zeller told the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization earlier this month.

This year’s annual fest was met with a new financial burden from the city. City officials proposed a $5,000 fee to lease the land surrounding Bayou St. John, which was opposed by The Mothership Foundation – the nonprofit that puts on Boogaloo and works to improve the land surrounding the bayou. Zeller spent several weeks working on a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the city rather than pay the “astronomical” fee.

That endeavor failed.

Zeller said the original CEA would have been for five years, but it would require a vote from City Council. Due to the limited timeline, the CEA fell through.

“Our goal is to improve the space and contribute to the nonprofits that work with us, not to pay the city a big fee where we don’t know where the money goes,” Zeller said.

Instead, Bayou Boogaloo paid the city a fee and recommitted $5,000 to mulch trees, treat for termites and place trash bins along the bayou.

Going forward, Zeller said he’ll continue working with the city to hash out a way the Bayou Boogaloo can remain on the water and free for the public. Zeller said he’s working toward the original plan of a five-year CEA.

“Things are tight, but we’ll see what happens,” Zeller said.

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