Friday, February 02, 2018

Funny how some could paint you as a criminal

Last night there was a rally for the embattled employees of Bourbon Street strip clubs.
Club workers have repeatedly pointed to the fact that officials have made no specific allegations of human trafficking, which both ATC and NOPD have said were the reasons for the raids.

“It’s like WMD’s, they said they were out looking for something they never found,” said Lee Laurent, a manager at Rick’s Sporting Saloon, referencing the non-existent weapons of mass destruction used by President George W. Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Several protesters suggested the raids were aimed at cleaning up the city's image, either to bolster Mayor Mitch Landrieu's political ambitions or to attract more family-friendly development.
"Several protesters suggested..." I hate when they write it in a way that implies facts are just one side's opinion. It isn't just the strippers "suggesting" that the raids are part of a tourism branding campaign. That comes directly from the Mayor's tourism industry funded "security plan" published last year which cites as one of its goals, reigning in the "culture of permissiveness"  in New Orleans. And delineates specific remedies via land use policy in the French Quarter.

In the near term, the City will In the near term, the City will seek to limit issuances of adult use occupational licenses, enhance requirements for live entertainment venues, and revise the Vieux CarrĂ© Commission design guidelines to enhance safety and security measures. Overall, this action will lead to a rebranding of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street’s image as a cultural destination.
The so-called "surveillance" ordinance which may still pass with or without the camera provision contains language that would allow the mayor to shut down any ABO licensed business based only on his own discretion.  
The ordinance contains an emergency suspension provision, allowing the mayor, the police chief or the ABO Board chairman the ability to suspend a permit. That suspension would occur if any of those three people believe the operation "endangers the health, safety and welfare of the community."
There is a proposal on the agenda at the City Planning meeting this coming Tuesday that limits the number of Adult Live Performance Venues in the quarter. So once a strip club is closed, nobody can open another one there. And, of course, the first few blocks of Bourbon Street also happen to be the lone exception to the ban on short term rentals in the Quarter.

Point is, this doesn't have anything to do with "lewd acts" or "human trafficking."  It's a deliberate strategy for giving Bourbon Street the Times Square treatment (the security plan actually cites Times Square as an aspirational case study.) It begins with bullying what is currently there out of the way through criminalization and marginalization.

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