New Orleans food truck operators asking city to ease up on rules

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 3 at 10:21 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Food truck operators across New Orleans are asking the city to ease up on the rules.

Critics say current ordinances make it difficult for food truck vendors to make a living.

"We've got people who track us down and we've got people who kind of stumble upon us," said Rachel Billow, co-owner of La Cocinita Food Truck & Catering.

Follow your nose or smartphone, and you'll find them. Food trucks are growing in popularity across the New Orleans landscape.

Back in November, Rachel Billow and Benoit Angulo turned their bright red truck into a Latin American restaurant on wheels.

"I've worked in the restaurant industry most of my life. Cooking and working the front of the house. The food truck business model seemed like a more adventurous way to go," said Angulo, who uses his Venezuelan heritage to spice up what's on the menu.

Business partners Billow and Angulo say it's been an adventure, but they have also had to navigate rules laid out by the city of New Orleans -- rules they and other food truck operators would like to see changed.

"There are some restrictions as far as timing. We can't park in any one given spot for more than 45 minutes in a single day. We can't park in the CBD or the Quarter," said Billow.

Right now, food truck vendors have to operate under a long list of city ordinances. Some require food trucks to operate at least 600 feet from restaurants, schools or churches. Others restrict hours of operation.

Now a petition is circulating online pushing for change.

"Our goal is to get 1,000 signatures. We already have almost 600," said Billow.

A group calling itself The New Orleans Food Truck Coalition hopes to convince the City Council to ease up on current rules.

Food truck operators like La Cocinita say if that happens, you'd likely see more entrepreneurs setting up shop on Crescent City streets. Foodies at heart, happy to cater to hungry crowds.

"People love the food truck and the food truck scene," added Billow.

The New Orleans Food Truck Coalition plans on hosting a Food Truck Festival later this month. It also hopes to introduce its proposal to the City Council in May.

A spokesman for the city of New Orleans says over 20 new mobile vending permits have been issued this year alone.  

 

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