Hundreds of strippers, strip club employees, and their allies took to the streets of the French Quarter Thursday night. This was the latest and largest action in an escalating series of protests against crackdowns on adult venues in the Big Easy.
Just one day after interrupting a city news conference on infrastructure, a large crowd of dancers and other workers made its way through New Orleans, railing against lost wages and a work environment they said was made toxic by law enforcement efforts.
Starting on Bourbon Street near the still-closed clubs, the march made its way to St. Louis Cathedral before a rally at the Bienville statue, where strippers shared tales of woe about what they’ve faced since the raids and politically motivated law enforcement.
Scantily clad protesters questioned why the raids were timed at the start of Carnival – the busiest time for the clubs – and argued that a crackdown on vice in the Quarter was an attack on the industry that fuels the city’s tourism.
“This was built on our backs,” one dancer said of the French Quarter to cheers from the crowd. “We did this.”