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Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- On Esplanade near Rampart on Tuesday, workers installed a fence around one of two neighboring lots where, Saturday, some parade-goers fell victim to a parking scam.

As we first reported Monday, dozens of people thought they paid cash to legitimate parking attendants, but that wasn't the case, and the vehicles were towed because they were parked on private property.

Some of the vehicle owners said they were told the same scam has happened before in the same spot, but that the lot owner had them towed anyway.

'Especially for a repeat problem, it is not unreasonable to expect that somebody will prevent a problem rather than repeatedly call a tow truck,' said one of the victims, Jean Valliere. 'From what I understand from people who have had similar experience with that block and the towing company and what have you, there's a lot of questions.'

New Orleans police are investigating the situation. Meanwhile, city officials urge drivers to use caution during this busy season.

'Especially with all these big events coming up, and Mardi Gras is obviously a really hard time for parking and traffic and general, be vigilant,' said Ryan Berni, a city spokesman.

Berni said if something doesn't seem right about a parking lot, it's probably best to move on.

'A lot of the large businesses and schools and churches actually do get the proper permits along parade routes to charge for parking,' he said.

Victims in Saturday's scam, meantime, are hoping for stepped-up enforcement, and more answers about their ordeal.

'I could've used the $240 it ended up costing me for this whole fiasco,' Valliere said.

Officials said their primary focus for permit enforcement is on larger, commercial lots.

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