NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Smoking in New Orleans bars and casinos is now prohibited.
The city ordinance went into effect at midnight Tuesday. It prohibits anyone from smoking inside of bars, casinos and other public places such as hotels, workplaces, private clubs and stores in Orleans Parish.
The ban was passed over the objections of many bar and casino owners in New Orleans. Harrah's Casino and a number of French Quarter bars are fighting the ban, but a lawsuit recently filed on their behalf did not stop the new ordinance from going to effect Wednesday morning.
Although smoking is banned, city leaders say they'll give it a couple of months before they start cracking down on places that violate the new smoking ordinance. The city is still trying to figure out what the penalties will be for those who do not comply.
Business owners reflect on what the ordinance means for their bottom line.
"I'll probably stand to gain some. I don't think we'll lose much," Redd's Bar owner Eric Orlando said. "My concern is really more length of stay, how long smokers are going to stay. You know a guy having four beers as opposed to maybe now only having two and moving on."
While Orleans is rolling out as a smoke free parish, Jefferson Parish bar owners foresee smokers blazing a trail to them.
"People are going to be leaving from there to find a place that they can actual have a beer or drink and relax and have a cigarette," Recovery Room manager Denise Doucet said. "Hey, we welcome it. Tell them to come on."
But some believe bar patrons have more loyalty than that, especially when people can still smoke outside.
"People who are going to come here are going to come here regardless of whether or not they have to go outside and smoke. They're not going to drive across parish lines just to go have a cigarette in a bar," Bruno's Bar manager Julia McDonald said.
"Down the line we expect some time in June to start working on what the enforcement mechanism are going to be in place," Health Department's Charlotte Parent said.
The agency is helping businesses come into compliance and workers will start to enforce the ban heavily in June.
Anyone wanting to submit a complaint can do so by printing out a paper from nola.gov or calling 311.