Bourbon Street dancers protest, hijack city’s French Quarter press conference

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NEW ORLEANS — City tourism officials held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to tout construction progress on Bourbon Street, but the event was quickly overshadowed by exotic dancers and other industry workers affected by the recent shuttering of eight French Quarter strip clubs.

Employees of the eight strip clubs held up signs behind the mayor’s press conference with messages like “We Are Not Victims” and “Hands Off Our Jobs.”

They chanted loudly over the voices of city officials.

The press conference was held to show the completed construction in the 100-400 blocks of Bourbon Street and to let the world know that “Bourbon Street is open for business” amid one of the busiest tourist seasons of the year.

The eight strip clubs that were shut down in recent weeks are Dixie Divas, Rick’s Sporting Saloon, Rick’s Cabaret, Scores, Stilettos, Temptations, Hustler Barley Legal and Hunks Oasis.

Law enforcement has said the strip clubs were targeted in an effort to fight human trafficking. Although  ATC investigators working with the NOPD said they uncovered “multiple incidents of prostitutions, lewd acts, and in some cases illegal drug activity at these strip clubs,”  they have not made any arrests for human trafficking.

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