Tour Companies Say Attack On Employee Is Just Part Of Ongoing Problem

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From the office of New Orleans attorney Tom Shlosman, the owners of three walking tour companies called for justice Thursday afternoon.

Cindi Richardson, Sidney Smith, and Thomas Cook claim workers with the New Orleans Taxicab Bureau recently began harassing their tours.

“We had nonstop harassment every single night,” Smith said.  “Every single group that came near the corner of Royal and Governor Nicholls.”

The corner in question is where the Lalaurie House is located, a home that is reputed to be haunted and is a part of virtually all haunted walking tours in the quarter.

The Taxicab Bureau is responsible for enforcing regulations on the walking tours which include their hours of operating and maximum number of customers per tour.

Smith says one of his workers was assaulted by a Taxicab Bureau worker while she was giving a tour near Royal and Gov. Nicholls.

The city has suspended the accused worker and says safety during the walking tours is its priority.  A spokesman for the mayor’s office said there would be no further comment because the case is being investigated by the NOPD.

Another company owner, Richardson, said her workers are harassed by Taxicab Bureau workers who sometimes stop the tours to check the guide’s credentials and count the number of customers.  Richardson says the stops can sometimes cover extended periods of time, and if they go past the required 10:00 pm quitting time for walking tours, the guides’ licenses are confiscated for the violation.

Richardson also says he has video tape that shows a worker waiting for tours to arrive.

Attorney Tom Shlosman says he’s already filed legal requests for information from the city regarding the regulations for the tours.  He says more legal work is sure to follow.

“I have seen murder cases go to trial with less evidence,” Shlosman said.