Tour operators say city is warning them to stay out of Lower Ninth Ward

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 27 at 6:40 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

NEW ORLEANS -- In the Lower Ninth Ward, the rebuilding process is now in its seventh year, its progress noted by tour guide Wanda Schultz.

"Katrina is part of our history and we can not leave it out," said Schultz, who is vice president of the Tour Guide Association of Greater New Orleans Area.

Schultz and others have been bringing tourists through the Lower Ninth Ward, since the floodwalls and levees failed and flooded the area in 2005.

However, that is a violation of a city ordinance, which passed in January 2006. It prohibits tours for compensation east of the Industrial Canal.

Tour operators, however, said it is only now that the city has warned some tour operators to stay out.

"We were told that would be enforced," Schultz said. "This is a clear connection for all of us to be able to relate to others and actually tell the big picture."

A city spokesperson said they were not aware of any enforcement actions involving tours in the Lower Ninth Ward. The issue came up, though, at a recent community meeting for City Council District E, which encompasses the Lower Ninth Ward.

"We have residents here who have been complaining about damage to their foundations, to their homes," said Vanessa Gueringer of the Lower Ninth Ward chapter of the group 'A Community Voice.' "We are concerned that the streets that are going to be repaired will be damaged again."

Council members at the meeting said a compromise may be in order.

"It presents an opportunity for us to maybe scale down the tours, have the buses smaller and maybe they can contribute to the community," said Council Member Freddie Charbonnet of District E.

"They can either donate, or patronize some of the local restaurants, go to local stores and make sure they go to any museums or cultural attractions that we have in the Ninth Ward," said City Council President Stacy Head.

"Let's just say, we might feel a little bit better if the community was benefiting," Gueringer said.

In the meantime, tour operators said they will stay out of the Lower Ninth Ward.

 

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