A dispute over this weekend’s Bayou Boogaloo festival, prompted by an explosion of complaints on social media, was quickly resolved Wednesday when organizers removed a fence they were erecting along Bayou St. John.
Facebook and Twitter lit up Tuesday with gripes about the chain-link fence, which ran near Moss Street from the Lafitte Greenway to Orleans Avenue.
Organizers, in a response on Facebook, said the fence was needed to help control trash and ensure the safety of festival patrons. But after a call from City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, they reversed course, and the barrier came down.
Guidry said no one with the city had been told that the group that runs the festival — the Mothership Foundation — had planned to put up a fence, which would have required a city permit. When Guidry learned of it, she called organizers and city bureaucrats to ask that it be removed.
“There are a lot of people that walk their dogs on the bayou, exercise on the bayou and who know the bayou is a public space,” Guidry said. “To put a fence around it like that has negative connotations of trying to keep people out.”
Organizers agreed to remove the fence late Tuesday, Guidry said, but it took until Wednesday morning to get a contractor to the site.
The festival, started after Hurricane Katrina, has traditionally been a free event, so putting up a fence raised concerns among some that organizers might be trying to change that.
But festival representatives said the fence was only an attempt to deal with “trash, safety, traffic, liability, neighboring properties and outside beverages.”