New Orleans’s controversial clean-up

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IT WAS supposed to be a triumphant announcement, made only days before Mardi Gras, New Orleans’s signature celebration. A long-awaited repaving of the busiest blocks of Bourbon Street, the city’s most famous thoroughfare, was finally complete. But the news conference organised by city and tourism officials on January 31st was hijacked by a band of strippers and their supporters, protesting a crackdown on clubs at what is usually the busiest time of the year.

In recent months eight of the 13 strip clubs around Bourbon Street have had their liquor licences taken—temporarily, in most cases—after authorities said they discovered violations such as prostitution and drug-dealing on undercover visits. Three clubs have closed permanently.

The dragnet comes as the city wrestles with several changes. They include a law that requires strippers to be aged at least 21 and a plan to shrink the city’s number of adult-entertainment venues. Residents are also debating a new security plan proposed by Mitch Landrieu, the outgoing mayor, who…Continue reading

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