A half-dozen Bourbon Street bars and strip clubs accused of allowing drug sales and prostitution have struck a deal with state officials that will let them continue selling alcohol after installing high-quality surveillance camera systems that cover their entire premises, except for the restrooms.
The agreement also says the businesses must hire an outside security firm to watch for illegal activity, allow “mystery shopping” by a third-party company at least twice a month and self-report any violations of state alcohol laws to the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
The clubs further agreed to pay thousands of dollars in fines and to participate in a campaign known as Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking.
“ATC hopes that this ruling sends a strong message that we are serious in doing our part to help protect the French Quarter so that it can remain a strong economic engine for New Orleans and the entire state,” ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert said in a statement.
The deal, which outlines nine separate “consent terms,” follows a crackdown that state officials referred to as Operation Trick or Treat, an undercover investigation that resulted in seven strip clubs and two bars having their alcohol licenses suspended. No criminal charges have been filed, but Hebert has said State Police are conducting a parallel inquiry.
The ATC has agreed to terms with Bourbon Cowboy, Lipstixx, Temptations, Centerfolds, the Mansion on Bourbon and the Swamp on Bourbon. Those businesses, which together were fined $46,000, were placed on probation for a year and warned that second and third offenses would result in more fines and suspensions of their permits. Upon a fourth offense, their alcohol permits will be revoked.
The agreement spells out that the surveillance footage captured by the new camera systems “shall be made available to ATC immediately upon request.”
Several of the businesses already have fired dancers accused of prostitution, but the agreement mandates they terminate any employee accused of breaking the law during Operation Trick or Treat. “The business shall provide proof of termination to ATC within five days,” the agreement says.
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