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New Orleans Restroom Law in Effect

NEW ORLEANS -- A restroom ordinance that has rankled some New Orleans business owners while delighting residents of the French Quarter has taken effect, reported the New Orleans-based Times Picayune. The ordinance will force several hundred New Orleans businesses, including about 50 in the Quarter, to provide restrooms for their customers.

Mayor Ray Nagin signed the ordinance and presented it to the council clerk Friday, said Jane Jurik, a legislative aide to city councilwoman Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, who co-sponsored the ordinance with councilman Marlin Gusman.

Clarkson introduced the ordinance, which was approved unanimously May 20, after Quarter residents complained about to-go operations and other businesses that sell alcoholic beverages without providing restrooms. The lack of such facilities, residents said, explains why so many people urinate in the streets, on walls, in alleyways, on doors and against the walls of landmarks.

The ordinance requires "anyone selling alcoholic beverages to provide restroom facilities for patrons" and says the restroom must have a sink with hot and cold running water, soap and towels or other hand-drying devices.

The ordinance will affect convenience stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, drugstores and other locations citywide that sell packaged alcoholic beverages.

Asked this week if she might seek to amend the law to eliminate some areas of the city or some types of retail outlets, Clarkson said, "Not at this time." She said that some corner groceries and convenience stores in her district are among the worst offenders in terms of trash and the extent of public urination.
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