New Orleans strip clubs fight back against shut-downs
Strip clubs in America compete in fierce and sexy ways to stand out from the competition. At the Palomino Club, we offer all-nude dancers, and a full bar for gentlemen seeking some liquid courage before a lapdance. Other clubs around Vegas do their own thing, and we all thrown big parties for big events, special promotions, you name it. But the competition isn’t always limited to rival clubs. Sometimes, the most powerful competition isn’t a club in the same city, but rather the city itself. As eight New Orleans strip clubs learned this January, sometimes a city is willing to play the hardest ball to shut you down, especially when it wants to pretend it has the moral high ground.
Not that this is a surprise anymore. New Orleans strip clubs can now count themselves among a growing number of clubs that have been shuttered or otherwise screwed with on a pretense. During the raids themselves, officials were reluctant to actually discuss what the clubs had been cited for. Ultimately, the New Orleans PD and Alcohol Tobacco Control came forward to state that the raids were part of an on-going effort to root out human trafficking.
That’s some pretty serious business, and it is a problem worth pursuing. Except now the employees of these clubs, some of which are shuttered, others stripped of their alcohol licenses, have been protesting the raids. They claim they were singled out for political motives, and similar to Reno, an effort to re-zone property they’ve legally operated on for years.
It’s not over yet for these New Orleans strip clubs.
For now, it’s all up in the air. On February 6th, a meeting between the City Planning Commission, club employees, and their allies, yielded some favorable results for the clubs. The CPC rejected parts of City Council plan to sharply limit the number of clubs on Bourbon Street. For now, many of the clubs can stay as is while the City Council deliberates on its next move.
Unfortunately, it’s not likely they are just going to give up here. When you have people like Rafael Salamanca or the entirety of the Reno City Council in charge of things, these fights don’t end with one round. They will likely come back, citing crimes by employees or owners that are real or implied to be real. They’ll try to limit the liquor, they’ll try to limit the dancers on stage. They might write new zoning laws to drive clubs off Bourbon Street, and they’ll keep pushing to get the results they want.
For the employees of the affected New Orleans strip clubs, this fight’s far from over, and this fight is getting repeated all over the country. The raids were particularly harmful to the employees, who rely on the regular income from these clubs to stay afloat. Even a short-lived shut down could be a serious financial set-back.
For now, most of the clubs remain open for business. There will likely be more action in the clubs as they try to bring back the customers, and action outside of the clubs as the employees and their supporters try to hold off an overzealous city council. Good luck, Bourbon Street.