Parking at a premium near Jazz Fest - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Parking at a premium near Jazz Fest

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New Orleans, La. - As music played inside the Fair Grounds, Ellen Corley circled outside looking for a place to park.

"This was my third spot," says the festival-goer from Mobile, Alabama. "The first place, they wanted to charge me $30, then $25 the second spot and $20 was my going price."

Finding street parking anywhere close to Jazz Fest can be impossible. And tow trucks are ready to haul away cars that block hydrants and driveways or park too close to the corner.

With such limited space along the road, hundreds of homeowners sacrifice their landscaping for easy money.  Darran Harper opens his front and backyard up to Jazz Fest attendees every year.

"Making money and you get to meet a lot of people," he says.

Harper says he gets a lot of return customers and people feel comfortable leaving their cars because he's always watching them.

"I'm here from start to finish," he says. "Last car leave, that's when I leave."

Harper doesn't have a parking lot event permit, though New Orleans requires all property owners to have one before charging people to park for special events.  The city started cracking down on people without permits last year, but focused the attention on businesses not following the rules.

Isiah Stewart says police are going around again this year to make sure people have the proper permit.

"The police do come by and check for it so you do have to have that ready," he says. "We have it in a binder and we present it to them if they ask and they haven't messed with it since last year, so we're pretty good."

The money raised at Stewart's lot goes to the House of Healing Outreach.  The ministry is restoring the St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church, which was closed after Hurricane Katrina.

Stewart expects to bring in a few thousand dollars over the next two weekends. "We're looking to park a lot of people," he says. "We have three lots, over 50 cars a lot and we're here all day until the last car leaves, so we'll do pretty good."

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