Changes in Regulations Likely for French Quarter Strip Clubs

17:46 September 13, 2016
By: Anthony O'Donnell

Following serious investigations into strip clubs in New Orleans' French Quarter last year, the city council is looking at a series of new regulations, including new standards for how the clubs operate.

2015 saw nine Bourbon Street strip joints shut down as part of an undercover sting operation nicknamed “Operation Trick or Treat,” including heavily trafficked spots like Babe's Cabaret and Big Daddy's. The clubs were cited for violations ranging from prostitution to organized drug sales on the premises. Many had their liquor licenses suspended as a result of the charges, a sanction that heavily cuts profits for the club in question, in addition to driving customers (and freelance dancers) to competitors who still offer drinks.

The new proposal, which went before the Council's Planning Commission on Tuesday, September 13, replaces an earlier plan that aimed to flat-out shut down a number of Bourbon Street clubs, by limiting how many could be licensed to operate along the famed French Quarter tourist thoroughfare. The new proposal, submitted by the city's planning staff, includes regulations to cut down on illegal activity at the clubs and coordinate efforts with city and state authorities.

The proposed regulations include requirements that clubs have a vestibule shielding nude performers from the street, separate bathrooms for dancers, security cameras, and mandatory NOPD IDs for managers. The regulations are intended to cut down on criminal violations within the clubs, as well as to improve the quality of life for dancers.

The previous proposal aimed to limit the number of strip clubs in the Quarter to seven, a move that would put twelve of the area's nineteen adult entertainment venues out of business. The original proposal came following a moratorium the city placed on new French Quarter strip joints in January of this year, which will expire in 2017. The new standards will allow all compliant businesses to stay open, and others to set up shop as well after the moratorium has passed. City planners have noted that the regulations will only be effective if inspections are prompt, thorough, and frequent.

Sign Up!