No one can deny that the ban on smoking in bars is in the best interest of public health. However, it is now becoming obvious that there are unintended consequences.

The ban has put smokers on the sidewalks in front of their drinking establishments and, this being New Orleans, they take their drinks outside with them. Soon, their buddies join them and a sidewalk crowd develops, impeding foot traffic.

Now, I live in the French Quarter, where the problem is becoming acute. Bar patrons, some emboldened by alcohol, try to outdo each other by making “witty” remarks to passersby. Residents like myself were happier when saloon behavior was behind doors.

My neighboring bar put out a small bench for smokers. This was a good thing as it seemed to limit the number of patrons outside — but the city wouldn’t allow it.

The only other solution I could think of is encouraging the use of patios for smoking or enforcing loitering laws. I am open to ideas.

Mary LaCoste

semiretired tour guide

New Orleans