Bar owner attorney still fighting, in spite of a denial of request to re-open

Bar owner attorney still fighting, in spite of a denial of request to re-open

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - An attorney for a group of bar owners fighting to re-open, says he’s not giving up. The mayor of New Orleans says she agrees with a judge, who ordered bars to remain closed, in spite of complaints they are not being treated fairly.

With every bar boarded up on Bourbon Street, bar owners continue making long-awaited repairs as they try to deal with life without customers.

"We are still paying rent and taxes electricity and water but our income is down to zero," said Tropical Isle owner Pam Fortner.

Bars across the state are in the same boat and a group of them just fell short in one of two federal lawsuit filed in an effort to reopen.

“We are disappointed but we’re encouraged,” said bar owner attorney, Jimmy Faircloth. He says he will appeal a ruling out of federal court in New Orleans Monday denying the request to reopen and is confident of success.

"Judge Feldman made it clear that the actions taken against the bar owners was at the least unfair and there's been a constitutional right that has been deprived of them," said Feldman.

The mayor says she supports the judges ruling to keep the bars closed. The state health department says 464 cases have been tracked to 41 bars.

"Right now it's just not the time. We are not where we need to be," said Cantrell.

Some bar owners say they believe they’re being unfairly singled out. They say the same rules that apply to restaurant owners should apply to them.

One Bourbon St. bar converted itself to a restaurant to remain open. But city officials believe many of the bars that have shut down will never reopen.

"We are going to have to re-develop and re-imagine what our economy is going to look like many of those jobs that I've disappeared are not going to come back in any form or fashion," said New Orleans CAO Gilbert Montano.

The city has proposed a millage renewal with $4 million set aside for economic development.

"The idea being instead of the bartender waiting for his bar or her barred open let's think of what our other options are out there," said Montano.

But for many, options seem few and far between.

"We just sit around each day and wait," said Fortner.

Waiting for a return to normalcy that seems far away

In his effort to re-open shuttered bars, the attorney for the bar owners has filed a separate lawsuit in Lafayette. No decision has been rendered at this time.

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