NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The rain did not stop tourists from leaving their hotels and exploring Bourbon Street, including the Boackles from Alabama.
“[We] wanted to come down have fun, have good meals, we both love that,” Mark Boackle said. “It is one of the best parts of New Orleans, cuisine. To hear restaurants are reopening, to hear stories like Galatoires are struggling and to support them and so forth.”
To show their support, the couple booked reservations at a different restaurant each night.
“It is blowing my mind how many are shuttered, by walking through the quarter, I’m just flabbergasted,” Kimberly Boackle said.
This will be the first weekend the city aggressively enforces its mask mandate in hopes of preventing regression.
“This is already laws on the books, been there already on the books, It is just a matter of taking that step to enforce,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell during a Thursday, Oct. 23 press conference announcing the measure.
Masks are required in public in New Orleans except during personal outdoor recreation. The city says it must be worn at all times at a restaurant unless you’re actively eating or drinking.
“If we have to put our masks on, walking down the street, because we’re in such close proximity to people, we’ll do it,” Boackle said.
But other visitors aren’t as receptive but will do so to avoid paying hundreds of dollars in fines.
“I don’t really care about the mask,” Arlanda Tyler said. “I just wear it because I have to, and I don’t want to pay a $500 fine.”
As tourists walk through the French Quarter, some of them are handed face masks by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who says wearing one is the only way he sees the state easing up on restrictions.
“We’ve got to do this the right way, but we want people to know they’re welcomed here,” Nungesser said.
He is hoping to send a message to visitors, the French Quarter is open, and you can safely enjoy it.
“We want people to come here,” Nungesser said. “We want them to follow the rules so we can continue to drive that curve down and get everything back open.”
Even though Kimberly Boackles is in town for the weekend, she says she knows people are desperately waiting for the city to fully open, “you can’t let New Orleans die,” she said. “You can’t. It’s an institution.”
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