Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Smoking Ban Blues

17:00 April 26, 2015
By: Charles Tarpey

At the stroke of midnight this past Wednesday, the end of an era was ushered in at drinking houses around the city. Some cheered, some sobbed, and even more stared emptily into their drinks. For many, it was a moment of celebration and relief; finally everyone can enjoy the public houses, dives, and casinos that are so integral to New Orleans culture. For others, it felt like the latest nail in a series of hammering ordinances that are quickly closing the coffin on ‘bohemian’ New Orleans. Following efforts to implement a noise ordinance city-wide earlier this year, it seems that the city of New Orleans is doing more and more to actively pursue the vices that so many hold dear.  Many argue that there are plenty of bars that already prohibit smoking, so why can’t non-smokers enjoy those instead?  On the other hand, local chef Christian Miller-Dischler had this to say: “I think it’s better for the city in the long term, and after a year no one will even remember what it was like before the ban.  If a business can’t stay open because their customers can’t smoke inside, maybe they shouldn’t be open to begin with.” With many bars having spacious patios and outdoor seating, the ban doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world: “It’s like asking your roommate to stop smoking in the house. Chances are, they aren’t going to move out; they’ll just start smoking outside.” The ban targets bars, restaurants (where smoking has been prohibited since 2007), casinos, some parks, stadiums, and hotels.  

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