NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The mayor of New Orleans has backed down from a plan to force all bars in the city to close their exterior doors at 3 a.m. nightly.
In January, Mayor Mitch Landrieu suggested the party should wrap up at that time to increase safety.
"I am going to work with our city council members to pass new ordinances to tighten and strengthen the laws on ABOs and bars so that we can have stricter regulation," Landrieu said while introducing his $40 million security plan at the beginning of the year.
The hospitality industry strongly opposed the 3 a.m. door closure.
"We believe it definitely would send the wrong message to the rest of the world that maybe we aren't open for business like we have been in the past," said French Quarter Business League President Alex Fein.
Business owners balked at the mayor's claim that closing exterior doors at 3 a.m. would lead to safer streets.
"He had a group discussion with a bunch of hospitality and other leaders...where he kind of laid out their vision, and we were still against it and voiced our opposition," Fein said.
Tuesday, Deputy Mayor of External Affairs Ryan Berni released a statement saying the decision to keep bar doors open after 3 a.m. was due to "public safety issues that may have resulted from reduced capacity and fire exits in bars."
Several other safety measures will be implemented in the $40 million security plan for the French Quarter and other areas of the city. The plan includes $8 million worth of cameras that will be monitored in real time.
The only security proposal the French Quarter Business League has had an issue with was the 3 a.m. door closure, according to Fein.
"We were definitely concerned about our image long term. We're definitely looking forward to working with [Landrieu] to finalize some more of these ideas he has for sure," Fein said.
Some of the other proposed security measures headed to the French Quarter include infrared cameras, road barriers and more officers on patrol.