New Orleans Moves to Slash the Number of Strip Clubs

There could be an interesting constitutional case brewing in the Big Easy. As some know on the blog, I spent a few years in Louisiana and lived in New Orleans while teaching at Tulane Law School. The city has changed a bit after Katrina, but some of the biggest changes are social. The French Quarter always had a certain raunchy edge with strip clubs and seedy bars. Now, it is packed with tee-shirt shops and . . . tee shirt shops. Politicians have taken particular effort in cracking down on strip clubs and a new measure would likely cut the current 23 clubs to 7. That raises a serious question of the disparate treatment given adult entertainment business, a subject that we have previously discussed.

Exotic dancers have protested the measure that would effectively cap the number of strip clubs. This follows a state law limiting dancers to women over the age of 21. The dancers and owners charge that the laws are little more than morality legislation disguised as public policy.

The new measures are the outgrowth of a study by Planning Commission staff that proposed capping the number of Bourbon Street strip clubs at 14 and instituting new spacing requirements designed to break up clusters of clubs in single blocks. The study supports claims that strip clubs are linked to human trafficking, prostitution and illegal drugs in and near the French Quarter. However, those are problems that can be addressed through the enforcement of current laws. There has long been an interesting alliance between the religious right and feminists in seeking to shutdown these clubs in the name of public health.

City and state laws already forbid sexual activity at the clubs. It is also illegal for customers to touch dancers. Moreover, that is a ban on performances offstage partially by nude dancers.

The reduction of these clubs to just seven establishments could give rise to claims of the violation of due process, equal protection, and even bills of attainder. My libertarian tendencies tend to activate at moments like this. I have no interest and have never gone into one of these clubs. However, the effort to remove businesses that are legal and obviously popular raises concerns over the public enforcement of a de facto morality code.

What do you think?

54 thoughts on “New Orleans Moves to Slash the Number of Strip Clubs”

  1. In New Jersey, ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control, requires ‘performers’ in places that serve alcohol to keep all their clothes on. No BYOB either. There are ‘nude’ juice bars, but they are few. The one I know is ‘Delilah’s Den’ (formerly ‘Frank’s Chicken House’) in Manville. There’s complete nudity with ‘full service’, but no booze.

    I agree with Mitch and Bill H. The controllers want control, and suck money and Rights away from Free citizens …

  2. Yesterday’s news is today’s news. Sex offenders gone missing after Hurricane Katrina:

    There are an estimated 1,300 sex offenders registered in the New Orleans area and another 3,500 in Mississippi. The New Orleans police department and Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety have identified 197 unaccounted-for sex offenders who could pose a particular threat to the public.

    New Orleans police Lt. David Benelli said the increasing urgency of the search reflects the threat that such offenders could pose, as well as authorities’ desire to make sure that registries are updated so citizens can be aware of such risks.

    “We have no idea where they all are,” said Benelli, commander of the department’s sex crimes unit. “Wherever they are, they have the potential of creating problems.”

  3. I greatly enjoyed Louisiana, and New Orleans, when I’ve visited, although it’s been over 15 years since my last trip. I don’t think I had a single bite of bad food, and I loved the Zydeco music spilling out of doorways. The architecture is charming, and it’s so lovely and lush. There was a lot of our nation’s early history to learn, including the religions that came over and blended from Africa, and of course the ubiquitous haunted house tours. It was filled with wonderful restaurants and music and you could tour the swamps nearby and see gators. Your intrepid guide would even go catch a young gator to show you up close, to make the tourists squeal.

    There is a seedier side, as has been pointed out. There was some crime at night, and there are a lot of drunk guys on the street. I saw them hosing the vomit off the street, and it looked routine. I recall young boys would dance on the street for money, with crushed cans affixed to their shoes as improvised tap shoes. I saw an older girl pretty much rob a boy of his take, but I think it was his sister.

    It would be nice if they could protect the tourist nature of the town without turning it into a tourist trap. There were already plenty of souvenirs when I was there. If every establishment was a T-shirt shop, that would be boring. I recall bars, strip clubs, trannie clubs, lots of tarot card readers, the old cemetery, and there was this one night club we had to go underground through a long hallway to some basement to get to.

    I can understand if every new business that opens is a strip club, they will eventually push out any family tourists from the area. So I get that concern. But washing the adult out of an adult city would be like taking the sin out of Vegas. And it does harass the business owners who have been operating there all this time.

  4. Paul, SUPERB suggestion about having tranny night @ the titty bar. That showed judo like moves, using an opponents “strength” against them.

  5. Born and raised in the city that care forgot, I feel strongly that the quarter would do well to provide a better quality of entertainment, let’s say for the sake of diversity. The quarter is a national treasure with old world appeal to those who prefer it’s history rather than it’s bars.
    The serious issue, however, is rampant crime. I avoid the quarter at night and stick to day trips.
    Let’s see how many shots are fired during the 4th of July festivities.

  6. General Stonewall Jackson fought the Battle of New Orleans to uphold American rights against those damn Brits back in the War of 1812. He is rolling over in his grave because the gays have taken over New Orleans. We would be wise to give the town back to the Frogs.

    1. Mental Midget – Stonewall Jackson fought with General Lee for the Confederacy. Andrew Jackson fought the Battle of New Orleans. It is the only battle we won in that war and took place after the war ended.

  7. There’s not enough information regarding the bases for the reduction. How much human trafficking is there? How much prostitution? As Prof. Turley stated, why are current laws unable to prevent this? If it isn’t a valid health and safety issue, with statistics to show how the reduction beneficially affects health and safety concerns, then it seems the reduction is an arbitrary, morality judgment.

    On the other hand, even if it is a morality judgment, unless the Louisiana constitution has some bar against it, local government can and should be able to make reasonable zoning laws, shouldn’t it? That said, current businesses should be grandfathered in or their removal constitutes a taking requiring recompense.

    Can’t touch the dancers? Holy blue balls, Batman!

    1. ” How much human trafficking is there?”

      And what is the involvement of the clubs in criminal activity.

      If a club is involved it should not take a zoning change to put them out of business.

      If the club is casting a blind eye to employment issues then strict enforcement would seem to be a perfectly sufficient response.

      If the clubs are struggling as much as LE, and the politicians to deal with the problems of organized crime then scape-goating the clubs seems to be cheap and small minded ploy to avoid dealing with the real problem.

      1. bfm – I am willing to bet they are doing drugs in the city jail. Why don’t they close that?

  8. @Hugh Beaumont: ” all laws should be able to trace their origins to a moral precept.”

    I could not disagree more. In fact, NO laws laws should be able to trace their origins to a moral precept. One person’s “moral precept” is another man’s infringement of freedom. All laws should derive from the common good and/or the right of the members of society to go about their lives in safety from the acts of others.

    Laws against mayhem, for instance, are based not an ony morality about displays of violence but on the principle that “your right to express anger ends at the tip of my nose.”

  9. Or maybe people could just not go into them if they dont want to.

    So sick of people forcing their morals on others. Just mind your own business.

    Oh and Hugh, before you say democracy rules, perhaps you should consider what happens if say a ton of muslims move into your area and want Sharia.

  10. Just no respect for diversity when it come to artistic expression.

  11. Each strip club should hire a transsexual dancer. Closing the club would violate everything liberals stand for. Besides, how are they going to decide just which clubs to close.

  12. It seems that not only has PC and a complicit govt./court establishment established special protected groups, it has correspondingly made certain groups and activities persona non grata. In this case, while gay is to be celebrated in our PC culture, hetero is to be regulated and shamed. We are SO imbalanced as a people and culture.

  13. If corporations are people and money is protected speech, why can’t physical displays among consenting, legally aged adults be?

    We have our priorities soooo misplaced.

  14. Mental Midget,

    Skip New Orleans & Las Vegas. Take an ecotourism trip to Hell, Peru’s Amazon jungle.

  15. New Orleans has gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket. Prov. 35, Hymn 8.

    It all started when the got the New Orleans Saints. They can play ball on a field but no girl can touch a ball off the field. It is a town run by gays who wish to cater to gays. Huey Long is rolling over in his grave. He ought to be. Hurricane Katrina moved his casket. No place in America is really a fit place for a straight male to have fun with a straight female unless they are married. Why don’t they limit the number of churches in New Orleans? Why would any guy want to go to Mardi Gras unless he is bent and wears a bra?

    Someone on the blog tell me a good place for me to go this July 4th to enjoy women who would enjoy a male and who might put out if the price is right. A woman at the travel agency suggested Las Vegas.

  16. A society, local or large, has a right to establish rules of conduct for the common good. You can call it “legislating morality”, but all laws should be able to trace their origins to a moral precept.

  17. It’s like banning the ladyboys from “Walking Street” in Pattaya, Thailand. Leave us alone.

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