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T-Shirt Shops Under Fire, Some Operating Illegally

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Fed up with the repetitious French Quarter T-shirt shops stuffed full of "I Got Bourbon Faced On Shit Street" gear? You're not the only one. "It is one of most common complaints we hear in the French Quarter from people who live there, visit there and work there," Meg Lousteau, executive director of Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates said. "They can't understand why this beautiful historic gem allows the proliferation of T-shirt shops. We have yet to find anyone who thinks they add anything of value to the French Quarter." The Times-Pic's Richard Webster reports that many of these tourist traps are operating illegally or without the proper permits and City Council is putting its foot down.

Of the 66 T-shirt shops in the Quarter (which, by the way, is a 78-square block area), apparently 42 of them aren't following the rules. A ban in 2011 halted any new T-shirt shops and they're not supposed to be within 600 feet of one another. Although some of the shops were grandfathered in, a couple definitely opened under false pretenses. The T-shirt/gift shop at 301 Decatur St. opened its doors right before this year's Super Bowl. It received the okay to be a "retail clothing shop" but "instead opened a T-shirt and gift shop directly next to several other T-shirt shops, violating two city ordinances." While there could be bigger fish to fry, City Council isn't pleased. "We sit here and enact laws and craft legislation in a proactive stance and then a lot of our legislation isn't being enforced," Councilwoman Kristin Gisleon Palmer said.
· New Orleans City Council demands crackdown on illegal T-shirt shops [NOLA.com]
· photo by Gary J. Wood via flickr