Hardest-Hit Katrina Victims to Bus Tours: Get Out

2006 law newly enforced, say angry tour companies

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 4, 2012 9:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Since Hurricane Katrina, visitors to New Orleans don't just want to see Bourbon Street: Many have been taking bus tours to view the devastation wreaked in the Lower Ninth Ward. But residents have had it with tourists gawking at them while the vehicles cause roadblocks, the AP reports. "We're fed up and tired of them coming through the neighborhood like we're some sideshow," says a resident. "After all the suffering we have been through, we deserve more respect than this."

A 2006 ordinance was intended to help by barring tour bus travel across the bridge into the area—but it hasn't been much enforced until now, bus operators say; tours have stopped, at least for the time being. The new enforcement stems from a wave of complaints. For their part, operators are frustrated by the sudden change. "A warning would have been nice," says a tour guide. Adds a rep for New Orleans tourism: People "want to see the Lower 9th Ward just like visitors to New York want to see the site of the World Trade Centers ... We certainly need to be respectful and not cause more suffering, but seeing these areas in person brings needed attention."

A tour bus turns a corner in the Lower 9th Ward section of New Orleans, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Kathy Stewart, of Enfield, Ill., looks at a blighted home as the tour bus she is riding in passes through the Upper 9th Ward in New Orleans, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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