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Mailbag: Keep Royal's Pedestrian Mall Open

Earlier in December, Brennan’s restaurant spearheaded a push to close the pedestrian mall on Royal Street. Reader Chris Olsen, a small business owner working out of the Quarter, was appalled by the idea. He launched a petition and penned an open letter to Council-Member Nadine Ramsey.


Councilmember Ramsey, 

I write to you in response to a recent letter from Brennan’s to the NOPD, signed by the businesses of the 400 block of Royal Street, asking to close the pedestrian mall on Royal Street in the French Quarter by allowing automotive traffic throughout the day.


Though I do not know the current state of the petition by these businesses, I understand that closing the pedestrian mall would require City Council approval. I, and the 700 signers of this petition, ask you to ensure that this request from the 400 block businesses does not progress into action. 


While these businesses may prefer an open street, we, the residents, and visitors of New Orleans, prefer a closed pedestrian mall that supports the thriving artist, musician, and street performer community that provides an atmosphere unique to the French Quarter. We oppose the request to close the pedestrian mall, and request and insist on Royal Street remaining closed for a portion of the day, as it has since 1971.

Further, we feel that in this case the threat of terrorism is unfounded and is being used as a red herring. This argument uses fear to disguise the attempt to accomplish two goals: 1. to remove street performers from in front of businesses (in response to complaints of noise, etc) and 2. to allow easier access to businesses for customers and deliveries. These goals benefit only the businesses and owners, and do not benefit or mirror the view of the residents and visitors of New Orleans.

Thank you very much for your time. 


Chris Olsen


The text above is a letter to the editor and expresses only the opinion of the author, not NOLA Defender or NOLA Defender's Editorial Board.

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