Bourbon St. strip clubs could face crackdown on racy soliciting

Bourbon Street is known around the world, and much of that fame centers on its adult-playground atmosphere. For generations, strip clubs have been woven into that reputation, but there are concerns over how some clubs try to drum up business.

"It's a very fine line because Bourbon Street is Bourbon Street and almost anything goes, right? But where does it go over the line," said Bob Simms, a member of the French Quarter Management District.

A management district committee met Monday to discuss possible steps to address complaints over racy photo displays and scantily-clad dancers standing in doorways.

"What you actually see on the street is off-putting to some people, particularly to prospective people booking conventions," Simms said. "We know we have lost a convention because of what potential [convention] members saw."

FQMD Vice-Chair Kim Rosenberg said the committee's focus is solely on those advertising practices that are visible from the street.

"During the daytime when people have to walk on the narrow sidewalks because the street is used by traffic, that means you're right next to the nudity, and sometimes - especially on raised steps - it's in your face," she said.

Monday, the committee discussed a possible requirement for dancers to cover up in street clothes when standing in club doorways or on sidewalks. Another proposed restriction would be to ban dancers from hanging out in those areas altogether. Committee members said only a few clubs have drawn complaints.

"You don't want to be vague and you don't want to be Draconian, but where do you draw the lines?" Rosenberg said.

According to Rosenberg, the committee will float the ideas by two leading French Quarter business groups. Then, if the FQMD Board of Commissioners agrees on the proposals, they would submit them to city council members.

The ideas stirred mixed reaction on the street. Some folks said the scantily-clad dancers add to the allure of Bourbon Street, while others would welcome restrictions.

"There are families here and they're walking down the street. They're at the doors, half-naked and I think that needs to stop, and do their business, but do it inside," said Jim Watson, a tourist from Rockmart, Ga.

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