Despite city ordinances vendors take advantage of Jazzfest crowds


Posted on May 2, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS - Before Jazzfest kicked off, the City of New Orleans warned those looking to make an extra buck or two it would be cracking down.

However, it appears that illegal short-term rentals and unpermitted street vendors continue to happen with little to no enforcement.

"They're complaining about the prices in the inside. We got the prices outside," said Troy Jones.

Young and old set up shop in and around the Fairgrounds hoping to catch the eyes and dollars of Jazzfest attendees.

"There's not enough water inside to be charging four dollars for it," added Jones who carts coolers filled with ice cold water for only a buck with his friend, Maurice Thomas. The duo consider themselves entrepreneurs. They're joined by dozens of others selling hats, water, food, even parking spots to cash-in on festival crowds.

"It beats just sitting around. Its also just a little extra cash and we're benefiting for selling water at cheaper prices," said Thomas.

However, city code prohibits vendors from illegally selling products in an area called "The Clean Zone" surrounding the Fairgrounds.

It also requires city-issued permits in commercial zones for those selling parking spots.

While some people pay for permits to charge for parking at Jazzfest on their properties, critics tell Eyewitness News the city isn't cracking down on violators who don't carry the proper permits.

"Everybody chargin' everybody," said Dwayne Hebert grilling burgers and seafood on his grandmother's Gentilly stoop.

"Its a good opportunity if you just want to make a living out of it. This is what we do in New Orleans, you know how we do it!," said Hebert.

Neighbors agree that people should be able to make a buck or two when the Jazzfest crowd rolls on by.

"Jazzfest makes their money. Fairgrounds makes their money. Local people give them an opportunity to help themselves. The city is not going to do it," said Gentilly resident, Terry White.
A city spokesperson tells WWL-TV during Jazzfest, City Bureau of Revenue agents are working with designated NOPD officers to remove any unlicensed vendors who are selling their products within the Clean Zone and issue citations when necessary.    

The Clean Zone is the area bounded by Florida Avenue on the north, North Broad Avenue on the east, Esplanade Avenue on the south, and Bayou St. John on the west.

The Clean Zone went into effect at 6:00 A.M. on Thursday, May 1, 2014 and will end at 7:00 P.M. on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The City says it is not issuing citations for individuals selling water in the Clean Zone or participating in Saturday’s annual Lemonade Day.