Event venues fear future after New Orleans gatherings capped at 25

Event venues complying with new restrictions

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Cannery is set up for one of their few remaining events after changing city mandates constantly whittled down their guests’ events and their calendar. Owner, Jackie Hughes says they’re fortunate to be hosting this one.

“They stuck with us for a few weeks thinking that the mayor would come around as numbers hopefully went down and go to the 250, we would all be on equal footing but they didn’t,” Hughes said.

Simply put, Hughes says she did not feel good after hearing the mayor’s announcement capping gatherings at 25 people. She’s since helped moved three weddings, on three consecutive weekends to venues in Jefferson parish.

“It’s just hard to have a function with 25 people, and it’s not just me it’s all of the New Orleans event venues,” Hughes said.

She says it’s clear how those competitors in neighboring parishes have the edge, and says she just wants a fighting chance, especially as key wedding months are at stake.

“It’s hurting the economy of the hospitality industry which New Orleans is known as a hospitality city this is us this is New Orleans,” Hughes said.

Meanwhile, some event venues have already had to close their doors, and don’t see when it’s going to be possible to reopen again without additional financial help.

“It really started to get crazy, I could see government starting to indicate they wanted to shut things down again,” said Rock ‘n’ Bowl’s John Blancher.

At the end of June, Blancher says he was forced to close their doors when the PPP money ran out. Now with even stricter restrictions, he says there’s no way he can justify re-opening hosting only groups of 25.

“Two-thirds of the total revenue that I take in comes through Rock ‘N’ Bowl and it comes from parties and those parties can be as small as 16 people to as many as 400 to 500,” Blancher said.

Both he and Hughes fear what the future holds as the ban on groups grows stricter, but both say they’ll keep fighting.

“It’s always gotten better for me up to this moment so I’m just going to stay optimistic and keep pushing on,” Blancher said.

“We’re gonna work together to do our best to make this work,” Hughes said.

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