NEW ORLEANS - It was a perfect Sunday for a festival. Henry and Ann Oppermann enjoyed themselves at Bayou Boogaloo for 90 minutes, thrilled to find a nearby parking place. But the good feelings died when their car was towed by the City of New Orleans.
"I'm very angry," said Henry. "I feel it was unjustified, and I feel victimized by the City."
They parked next to a concrete slab that was once a large warehouse, finding space on the front drive next to the loading dock. But they were ticketed for parking on a sidewalk.
"I would say where's the curb?" Oppermann asked. "There is no sidewalk that is representative of a typical city sidewalk. There is nothing that indicates to us that this would be an illegal parking area. If the City believes this is incorrect, the City should put up No Parking signs in this area."
The ticket cost $40, the towing charge was $153, and the cab fare to get their car back was $30, totaling $223, a pricey end to what should have been a priceless day.
"The City is just taking advantage of people who came to the festival," Oppermann said.
Looking at the area where the Oppermanns were parked, you could understand their confusion. There is no concrete on the 'sidewalk, there is no continuous strip of concrete.
"I will think twice about coming back to Bayou Boogaloo next year just because of this event," concluded Henry Oppermann.
Henry and Ann wrote Mayor Landrieu, seeking a refund. But a spokesman for the mayor responded in a written statement that people were ticketed and towed for blocking access to sidewalks. He added that there is an appeals process.