Alex Goldmark

Episode 897: New Orleans Vs. Airbnb

Feb 28, 2019

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.

What do silver dollars, Venmo, and Brexit have in common? They're all on the minds of our listeners.

Today on the show, we take listener questions, and hunt for answers. We try to figure out how Venmo makes money, how the tax system really works, why truckers are buying helicopters in England, and more.

A lot can happen after we put an episode out into the world. That's why we love The Rest Of The Story, our periodic check-in on stories we've reported.

Today on the show, we revisit some episodes from the year that was. In case you missed them, here are the original episodes featured.

If something is going wrong in your workplace, there's probably a law that explains why. Like Goodhart's Law, which says if a company decides to measure something, workers will find a way to respond with good numbers. Or, the Peter Principle, which says that every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence.

Today on the show, we picked a few of the more famous laws and tested them out in our office. And that's where the giant trophy comes in.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Tonight's Mega Millions jackpot is at a record $1.6 billion. Audie, I don't know about you, but I have not even bothered buying a ticket because I'm a total pessimist about the lottery. I don't even try anymore. What about you?

A version of this episode originally ran in January 2016.

Tonight's Mega Millions jackpot is the largest in history at $1.6 billion. And we've got lottery fever again.

Today on the show, the story of the first known lottery. It goes back to Queen Elizabeth in 1567, involves poems, gold plates, and petty criminals. It didn't go well. And we have the story of lottery legend Stefan Mandel. He created a system to take the luck out of the lottery and won jackpot after jackpot. He tells us how he pulled it off. (Think bank heist but legal.)

Every hero has a nemesis. Tom had Jerry. Batman had the Joker. Politicians are no different. Basically every candidate who has ever run for office targets the same enemy: Regulations. Red tape. Rules churned out by the federal bureaucracy that touch on everything from carbon emissions to goat farms to vending machines.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit