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More businesses shutter in Fat City

Two years after an ordinance was passed to shut down bars early in Fat City, more businesses in the area have closed.  Business owners agree the changes to Fat City are obvious, but some don't think they're for the better.

"Look at the building for sale right here, you know. 3018... all of these places are just gone," said Boom Boom's bar owner Barbara Ann Richardson.

Richardson sees a dying Fat City. She's now relying on a loyal customer base to stay open.

"It's a shame, that this has to be done," Richardson says.  "I know they were trying to get rid of some undesirable elements, but it has hurt everybody,"

Popular Italian restaurant Salvatore's, which relied heavily on its late-night crowd and its Latin nights for the bulk of its revenue, closed in January.  "It really hurt him," said Richardson.

Area business owners say the building is now being leased.

"I don't understand how they can just take one little section, of the whole state, and say you all have to close at midnight," said Richardson.

Last September, Salvatore's owner Saul Bollat, who said the new ordinance limiting bar hours to 12:00 a.m. on weeknights and 1:00 a.m. on weekends, was killing his business.

"I kept it open because of the restaurant, because I'm a chef.  I went from a million dollars in sales to a half-a-million dollars in sales because of smart ideas," said Bollat.

Now, like many other bar and restaurant owners such as City Bar and the Edge, Bollat has moved on.

"Certainly for bars, it probably hurt their business, although I'm glad that some bars are still there and are still able to operate.  So Fat City still has bars, we just have that curfew," said Jefferson Parish councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.

Lee-Sheng has led the fight to shut down bars early in Fat City. The ordinance passed in September 2010. Two years later, she says she continues to see victories in what she believes will be a 10-to-12 year transition for the area.

"And we do have some new businesses going there and we still have other businesses looking at some places there, so we're really moving forward in the right direction," said Lee-Sheng.

"I think Cynthia thinks she can do some things to improve Fat City, and I hope she can," said Richardson.

Lee-Sheng says all adult establishments and strip clubs are set to close by December 31.  It was all part of the ordinances passed in 2010.

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