Businesses lose lawsuit to overturn smoking ban; swipe for details

Several French Quarter bars and restaurants lost a civil lawsuit against the city that would have overturned a sweeping smoking ban that started in April.

Harrah's Casino, Pat O'Brien's, Maspero's, Rick's Cabaret and Cat's Meow are among the 50 businesses that filed a lawsuit. However, Harrah's dropped out.

Business owners said customers are leaving their businesses to light up, and not coming back.

"The problem is the people who smoke are sitting in our bar, they have a drink, and instead of having four or five more, they go outside to smoke with their drink and they walk on down the street," said Bourbon Street bar owner Earl Bernhardt said. "We lose them. So it's costing us a lot of business."

Some owners think the lost business will cost them employees. The businesses hoped to create their own exceptions to the law.

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