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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Labor & Workers | LGBTI / Queer | Womyn
Lyn Archer speaks about New Orleans City proposed shut-down of French Quarter Strip Clubs
In-studio interview with Lyn Archer, New Orleans resident and stripper, on proposed shut-down of more than half of French Quarter Strip Clubs.
25 minutes. In-studio interview with Lyn Archer, New Orleans resident and stripper, on proposed shut-down of more than half of French Quarter Strip Clubs.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28, New Orleans City Council holds a Public Hearing that addresses the Planning Commission's just-published results of Motion M-16-22, the Adult Live Performance Venues Study, which calls for the shut down of more than half of the 23 strip clubs in and near the French Quarter. People who work in strip clubs, as well as French Quarter business- and home-owners have responded with concerns about the Disney-ification of the District, and the city's role in tourist-centric development that leaves behind the livelihood and wellbeings of people that live and work in the French Quarter.
The Vieux Carre Entertainment District is 6 blocks of Bourbon Street on which there are 14 strip clubs. The Adult Live Performance Venues Study proposes a cap that prevents any new strip clubs from opening and to reduce the total number down to 7 through zoning laws that space them block by block. The City Council Motion M-16-22 is a gun pointed at the "soft target" of sex workers and their work places.
One of the ways the City can legally target strip clubs is by suspending liquor permits. In October 2015 "Operation Trick or Treat" was a collaboration between ATC, 8th District Police, and State Police that resulted in loss of jobs for service workers and arrests of strippers, as well as 5 clubs losing their liquor licenses. Following the raids, dancers were afraid to dance for people, and customers were scared to pay them. The closures targeted the facades of the clubs, in particular clubs in historic buildings that fall under non-conforming zoning issues and those whose dancers are tattooed or whose weight, height, or age fall outside of the ideal numbers, or those whop are male, trans, or "read" as gay. Gay clubs in the Vieux Carre Entertainment District are impacted as well by the oppressive, violent legislation and policing.
In the 690 pages of comment included in the Adult Performance Venues Study, none consult strippers or service workers themselves, and most are based in a "broken woman" rhetoric. These "sex worker exclusionist feminists" ethics accuse women participating in the work of dancing as being unable to consent or establish fair work agreements because of a culture of sexual objectification. The Adult Performance Venues Study advocates for registration and licensing laws for strippers and relies on increased law enforcement and surveillance. It includes an overview of other cities that have thwarted strip clubs, which are some of the worst cities to strip in. For example, a massive scandal unfolding in Oakland, California, where strip clubs are illegal, involves police officers who solicited ongoing relationships with underage sex worker Celeste Guap and who disclosed information about raids and stings to her. Where strip clubs are illegal, the strip clubs lack safety and clientele.
Those who support and those who are against the ban on strip clubs are overwhelmed by concerns over violence. Lyn says community members can offer support and care to strippers by listening to sex workers, without judging or shaming them; helping them when they ask, without "saving" them or defining them; sharing and leveraging your rights when they say they need you, and loving them!
Join in solidarity at the Public Hearing on Tuesday, July 28, at 1:40-5:30pm at City Council Chambers in City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street.
You can read the full Adult Performance Venues Study in the City Planning section of nola.gov. Write French Quarter District Council-member Nadine Ramsey and districtc [at] nola.gov.