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The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

Business Permits & Licenses

Occupational/General Business

Type:
License
Classification:
Business
Category:
Business/Individual
Apply online?
Yes

An Occupational or General Business license is required if you will be conducting business in Orleans Parish. If you will be selling alcohol, please begin by applying with the Bureau of Revenue in room 1W15 of City Hall. If you are conducting general commercial/retail sales or operating a home-based business, begin by applying at the One Stop Shop on the 7th Floor of City Hall. After applying, a zoning inspection is performed by the Department of Safety and Permits and/or State Health Department, depending on the nature of the business being opened.  Once approved, a tentative tax is paid to the Bureau of Revenue. 

Need to RENEW your existing license? Please visit nola.gov/pay-taxes/.

Need to RENEW your existing license? Please visit nola.gov/pay-taxes/.

An Occupational or General Business license is required if you will be conducting business in Orleans Parish. If you will be selling alcohol, please begin by applying with the Bureau of Revenue in room 1W15 of City Hall. If you are conducting general commercial/retail sales or operating a home-based business, begin by applying at the One Stop Shop on the 7th Floor of City Hall. After applying, a zoning inspection is performed by the Department of Safety and Permits and/or State Health Department, depending on the nature of the business being opened. Once you have approval from the appropriate entitie(s), you will then return to the Bureau of Revenue with your Certificate of Occupancy, additional State Health Department documentation, and the applicable fee/tentative tax. Click here for the business license guide and familiarize yourself with New Orleans City Code Chapter 30.

Once your business is registered with the Bureau of Revenue, you may request a Resale Exemption Certificate that will allow you to purchase items without paying the sales tax if the items will be resold in the normal course of operating your business. Non-profit organizations may also obtain sales tax, mayoralty permit, amusement tax, and occupational license tax exemptions for conducting activities benefiting their organization.

RENEWALS: An Occupational or General Business license renewal is required all businesses. Click here to renew online or fill out the form (Form 8030) here and return it to the Bureau of Revenue at City Hall.

Fees

  • Fees are based on the type of business license you need to obtain. Click here for the fee schedule and business descriptions.

Required documents/steps

  • Register your trade name, partnership or company with the Louisiana Secretary of State (225) 925-4704
  • Register and get a federal tax ID number (800) 829-4933 and your state tax ID with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (504) 568-5233 or (225) 219-7462
  • Once you have found a location to conduct business and before committing to any agreement:
    • If you will be selling alcohol, please begin by applying with the Bureau of Revenue in room 1W15 of City Hall.
    • If you are conducting only general commercial/retail sales or operating a home-based business, begin by applying at the One Stop Shop on the 7th Floor of City Hall. 
    • Fill out the Occupational License Application and submit to the City of New Orleans One Stop for Permits and Licenses, 1300 Perdido Street, Room 7W03, New Orleans, LA 70112.
    • Pay the applicable fee/tentative tax
    • Continue with steps to securing the other permits you'll need for your business (see the guide below)
Apply now
Type:
Permit
Classification:
Building/Construction
Category:
Location
Apply online?
No

A Certificate of Occupancy is required for home-based businesses operating in City of New Orleans-Orleans Parish only. Each business location must be inspected and approved for operation by the Department of Safety and Permits.

A Certificate of Occupancy is required for home-based businesses operating in City of New Orleans- Orleans Parish only. Each business location must be inspected and approved for operation by the Department of Safety and Permits. 

Fees

  • $190

Required documents/steps

Type:
Permit
Classification:
Building/Construction
Category:
Location
Apply online?
No

A Certificate of Occupancy is required to ensure your business location complies with all current zoning and building laws. Most commercial buildings have an existing Certificate of Occupancy for the property, however an inspection of the premises is required when the use or the occupant changes.

A Certificate of Occupancy is required to ensure your business location complies with all current zoning and building laws. Most commercial buildings have an existing Certificate of Occupancy for the property, however an inspection of the premises is required when the use or the occupant changes. It may be necessary to obtain a new Certificate of Occupancy under the following conditions: use of the property will change, the building does not meet current building code standards for the proposed use, or the building has been out of use for over six months. If you plan to or are required to make alterations or repairs, see the sections here for more information. No inspection will be made unless: the applicant or authorized representative is present on the premises, utility services are established and operating, and all equipment has been installed and connected.

Duration: Same day in some situations, 2-3 days if an inspection is required.

Fees

  • $190

Required documents/steps

  • Submit a Building Permit Application to Safety and Permits
  • Proof of ownership
  • Recorded Act of Sale, if the property has recently changed ownership (if applicable)

Issuing agency

Safety and Permits
Type:
Permit
Classification:
Business, Mardi Gras, Event/Film
Category:
Business/Individual
Apply online?
No

A Mayoralty permit is required (along with other permits and licenses) for vendors, artists and individuals conducting business or promoting themselves or their art in the City of New Orleans.

A Mayoralty permit is required (along with other permits and licenses) for vendors, artists and individuals conducting business or promoting themselves or their art in the City of New Orleans. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Live entertainment including live music, DJ’s, music ensembles, etc.
  • Street entertainers
  • Certain sales in the Central Business District
  • Mardi Gras activities
  • Peddlers and itinerant vendors selling artifacts
  • Artists (Fence Guidelines for Jackson Square Artists)
  • Flower vendors and peddlers
  • Food vendors
  • Transient vendors
  • Canvassing, including distribution of fliers and pamphlets
  • Alcoholic beverage special event permits
  • Event promoters

Fees

Fees are based on type of activity, what is being sold and amount of gross sales. Click here for the City of New Orleans code, including more information about fees.

Required documents/steps

  • Fill out and submit the Schedule A form to City Hall, Bureau of Revenue at 1300 Perdido St., Room 1W15, New Orleans, LA 70112 
    (504) 658-1600
    revenue@nola.gov

Issuing agency

Bureau of Revenue

You may also need

User guides

Type:
Permit
Classification:
Building/Construction, Business
Category:
Location
Apply online?
No

A Sidewalk Use Permit is the approval by the City for non-exclusive use of the public right-of-way for a private activity.  Any time an individual or business would like to use the public right-of-way to support a private use, a Sidewalk Use Permit is required. The most common types of Sidewalk Uses are sidewalk cafes associated with food service establishments and A-frame signs or merchandise displays associated with retail businesses. There are also provisions in the City Code to allow residents to install electric vehicle chargers in the right-of-way, when there is no way to provide it on their own property.

This approval process it not new, but was streamlined  at the end of 2017 to make the application and approval process faster and easier for residents and businesses. Application intake for this revised process will begin on January 8, 2018. Application forms can be found here.

A Sidewalk Use Permit is the approval by the City for non-exclusive use of the public right-of-way for a private activity.  Any time an individual or business would like to use the public right-of-way to support a private use, a Sidewalk Use Permit is required. The most common types of Sidewalk Uses are sidewalk cafes associated with food service establishments and A-frame signs or merchandise displays associated with retail businesses. There are also provisions in the City Code to allow residents to install electric vehicle chargers in the right-of-way, when there is no way to provide it on their own property.

This approval process it not new, but was streamlined  at the end of 2017 to make the application and approval process faster and easier for residents and businesses. Application intake for this revised process will begin on January 8, 2018. Application forms can be found here.

Why does the City require a permit?

These permitting requirements have been established to protect public safety and accessibility. The City is responsible for ensuring that all of the City’s residents and visitors can enjoy public spaces. In order to do this effectively, we need to know where sidewalk uses are located and City agencies need to verify that those uses do not conflict with clear paths of travel on sidewalks or public uses already on the right-of-way. 

Restrictions

A-frame signs and display devices are prohibited in the French Quarter, except that these items may be authorized on N. Rampart Street subject to approval of the Vieux Carre Commission.

The following standards and criteria shall be used in reviewing the application and design drawings to determine if the proposed location is suitable and will not obstruct free and proper use of the public right-of-way:

  1. The sidewalk shall be of sufficient width to accommodate the proposed sidewalk use while maintaining a clear path of travel (>8 feet in most cases) that is:
    • At least four (4) feet in width on sidewalks of 8 to 10 feet in width.
    • At least six (6) feet in width on sidewalks greater than 10 feet in width.
    • In areas of congested pedestrian activity, the reviewing agencies are authorized to require a wider pedestrian path to ensure the free and proper use of the right-of-way by pedestrians.
  2. A clearance of 10 feet shall be maintained between any element of a sidewalk use and a fire hydrant, or fire department sprinkler/standpipe connection.
  3. A clearance of 10 feet shall be maintained between any element of a sidewalk use and a public transit pole or taxi (CPNC) stand.
  4. Sidewalk uses are restricted to the area immediately adjacent to the business/residence being served and may not project in front of neighboring businesses or vacant lots.
  5. Sidewalk uses shall not be located within the corner area of a public right-of-way, which is that area between the curb and the lines created by extending the property lines of the adjacent property being served and the curb.
  6. Tables, chairs, umbrellas and any other objects provided with the sidewalk cafe shall be of sufficient quality, design, materials, and workmanship to ensure the safety and convenience of users, and to enhance the visual and aesthetic quality of the urban environment.
    • Umbrellas, and other decorative elements shall be fire retardant, pressure-treated, or manufactured of fire resistant material and not interfere with the free and proper use of the sidewalk.
    • Within local control historic districts, the jurisdictional agency may provide standards or guidelines that shall be applied to determine the visual and aesthetic the suitability of proposed elements of the sidewalk café.
  7. Commercial uses seeking approval of an A-Frame Sign or display devices shall be limited as follows:
    • Commercial uses shall be permitted no more than 1 a-frame sign per street frontage occupied by the commercial use.
    • Commercial uses shall be permitted no more than 2 display devices per street frontage occupied by the commercial use.
    • A-frame signs and display devices shall be prohibited in the area bounded by the Mississippi River, the uptown side of Esplanade Avenue, the riverside of N. Rampart Street, and the downtown side of Iberville Street, except that these items may be authorized on N. Rampart Street subject to approval of the Vieux Carre Commission.
  8. The sidewalk use shall be permitted no closer than 18” from the edge of the roadway, unless otherwise approved by the director of the department of public works.

Sidewalk Cafes

Any food or beverage service business is authorized to request a Sidewalk Use Permit for a sidewalk cafe. However, please note that the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance does not allow sidewalk cafes at non-conforming bars in residential zoning districts unless the location is within a Residential Diversity Overlay.

  • The capacity of an approved sidewalk café shall not exceed the approved seating capacity indicated on the approved site plan and as stated on the permit placard.
  • Tables and chairs associated with an approved sidewalk café shall be structurally sound and maintained in a manner ready for access and use by patrons.
  • Sidewalk Café permittees shall wash the sidewalk daily and at the close of business or, if open 24-hours, at the close of the sidewalk café element of the business.
  • No live entertainment, speakers, or other sources of amplified sound shall be permissible on or adjacent to the approved sidewalk café.
  • Carts, receptacles for waste or dirty dishes, and cooking appliances shall not be placed or stored on any portion of the sidewalk.
  • Tables, chairs, and any other components of the approved sidewalk use shall be neatly stacked and organized at the end of each business day, at the hour indicated by this Division, in a manner which will result in minimal intrusion into the public right-of-way.
  • All property/building ingress and egress where a sidewalk cafe exists must remain unobstructed (including queuing lines) for clear, barrier-free pedestrian passage, consistent with the fire department regulations and ANSI standards for barrier-free access.
  • Hours of operation:
    • Seating within the sidewalk café shall not begin before 8:00 a.m.
    • Unless otherwise provided in this Section, seating within the sidewalk cafe shall end no later than 10:00 p.m.
    • In the area bounded by the Mississippi River, the Pontchartrain Expressway, South Claiborne Avenue, and Canal Street (inclusive of uses which front on both sides of Canal Street), seating within the sidewalk café shall end no later than 12:00 a.m.

Fees

  • Application fee: $50.00
  • A-Frame Signs, Display Devices, or other approved items: $200.00 per item.
  • Sidewalk Café:
    • In the area bounded by the Mississippi River, Poland Avenue, St. Claude Avenue, McShane Place, N. Rampart Street, Canal Street, S. Claiborne Avenue, Pontchartrain Expressway, St. Charles Avenue, Broadway Street, Maple Street, S. Carrollton Avenue, Oak Street, to the Mississippi River, inclusive of both sides of bounding streets: $350.00 per table (up to 4 seats), or $100.00 per seat for tables seating more than 4.
    • All other areas: $200.00 per table (up to 4 seats), or $75.00 per seat for tables seating more than 4.
  • All permits are valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance; the annual permit fees are the same as the initial issuance fee.  

Required documents/steps

  • Application
  • A plan on 8 1/2" X 11" paper or in digital format. This plan does not need to be to scale, but had to show exact dimensions of entire sidewalk abutting the property. This plan must include an outline of the area to be occupied by the sidewalk café, a-frame sign, or display, as well as all existing encumbrances with measurements on the public way including, but not limited to, parking meters, fire hydrants, bike racks, light poles, and trees. A written narrative may accompany the plan.
  • Photographs depicting the proposed site where the sidewalk use will be implemented and the relationship between the proposed sidewalk use and the surrounding public right-of-way.
  • Images, renderings, or photographs of the furniture or fixtures to be utilized as part of the requested sidewalk use.
  • Copy of the applicant’s current occupational license as well as current copies of any Mayoralty Permits and Alcoholic Beverage Outlet Licenses, if applicable.
  • Commercial: Proof of commercial general liability insurance with limits of not less than $500,000 per occurrence/$1,000,000 aggregate combined single limit for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage liability. The insurance shall name the City of New Orleans as an additional insured, and shall provide for 30-days prior written notice to the department of safety and permits if coverage is substantially changed, cancelled, or not renewed.
 
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Last updated: 4/6/2015 4:46:25 PM

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