New proposal could ease parking boot punishment

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council may soon vote to give citizens a break from the dreaded parking boot. The move comes as a relief to those who've been booted, but there will still be a cost.

Dozens of times each day, drivers must deal with the dreaded parking boot. Today, it's Mark Trahan's turn.

"Pay a $400 fine, and then they will come remove the boot. So at least I have a vehicle," he said.

The Antoine's housekeeper was greeted by the orange disc in the 400 block of Burgundy, and it was a rough end to a tough shift.

"This guy's got a Sebring, he's got places to be, and he's got the orange death lock on his vehicle. You just can't deal with that," said
Gerald Gregory, who has also felt the boot's sting. "It makes me feel the anger of a thousand suns boiling inside of me."

Help may be on the way.

"The rule was established in 2009 to bring more revenue in," said Councilman Jared Brossett.

Current law allows a boot to be placed after one outstanding parking ticket. Now, Brossett has drafted a measure that would only allow a boot, after three outstanding tickets.

"Just think of someone coming to City Hall to get a permit, or to pay property taxes, and then come out and get booted. It's ridiculous," Brossett said.

Brossett drafted his ordinance after Sen. J.P. Morrell proposed one in the Legislature, but then deferred to local government.

"We will deal with this locally, and this will give him the assurance he needs to relax, move back, and know the City of New Orleans will do this on their own," said New Orleans Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell.

Normally the city sends out a notice when your car is eligible for the boot, but in this case, Trahan said that didn't happen.

"There were a couple of tickets I have to pay. I just thought I would get a notice that I was eligible for a boot," said Trahan.

After a quick phone call and credit card payment, a city boot technician frees Trahan's Sebring, one of dozens of cars booted on any given day.

But if the boot re-boot rule passes, the orange discs could become far less common.

"Whatever break you can give us, you know?" said Trahan.

Brossett said the new rule could cost the city about a half-million dollars a year in revenue. It's expected to come up for a final council vote April 19.

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