NEW ORLEANS, La. – There’s a new chapter in the debate over how to revamp adult entertainment in New Orleans.
The city’s planning commission voted Tuesday night to send a revised version of its plan to the city council.
For Jim Kelly, Executive Director of Covenant House in New Orleans, it’s all about safety.
“We see young people, who have been exploited and have been preyed upon in these strip clubs,” Kelly said.
Covenant House is a place that is a refuge for troubled youth. Kelly says many of the workers at local strip clubs, have ended up at his building.
"We need to clean them up. We need to see that the rules, regulations and laws on the books are followed,” Kelly said.
The bright lights promoting bare skin are hard to miss. As eye-catching as they may be, some tourists say there must be a sense of safety for the women working in these clubs.
"We've been to Amsterdam, places like that and, you want women to be looked after. You don't want to come on a holiday and see anything seedy, so, any laws that can protect these girls is good by us," Aileen Clark, a tourist visiting from Scotland said.
The proposed plan for strip clubs calls for various changes, such as stricter enforcement of rules. Perhaps the biggest change is a cap on the number of strip clubs. Right now, there are 19 strip clubs in the French Quarter.
The city planning commission is recommending that number be cut down to seven. Professional planner Suzanne Perilloux Leckert spoke at the meeting and believes limiting the number of clubs will not solve any perceived problems.
"There's no evidence that these clubs create crime. Further, no analysis has been done to establish what is the right number of venues for our city. Any number or cap that is not based on sound analysis is arbitrary,” Perilloux Leckert said.
The proposals come on the heels of a recent state law raising the age of dancers from 18 to 21. Many tourists walking down Bourbon Street say these changes are a good thing.
"I think if you have some licensing provision, I think that's a good thing and it might give the workers more protection,” David Blythe, a tourist from the United Kingdom said.
The discussion now moves forward to the city council, where they will vote on the options.
(© 2016 WWL)