French Quarter residents in New Orleans claim police aren’t enforcing the ordinance to keep large vehicles, including motorhomes, off the narrow streets of the historic neighborhood.
According to report by the Times Picayune, vehicles longer than 31 feet are banned in the Quarter without a permit. But some residents said when they recently tried to enforce the law on their own, their efforts did not sit well with police.
Quarter resident and chef Horst Pfeifer said he had finally had enough last week when a motor coach tried to squeeze onto Barracks Street.
Pfeifer said he was trapped in traffic behind the RV, which had become lodged after hitting a stop sign and scraping a wrought-iron light pole in an attempt to turn onto Chartres from Barracks.
Pfeifer got out of the car and approached the driver, an out-of- state tourist who, he said, had wound up in the Quarter after taking a wrong turn. Pfeifer was soon joined by Erik Mahr, a chef at Louisiana Bistro who lives in the neighborhood and who also witnessed the incident.
Insistent that the driver be ticketed, Pfeifer began calling friends asking them to summon police officers. Meanwhile, he and Mahr agreed to help the driver dislodge the RV, Pfeifer said.
When it appeared the driver was going to leave before police arrived, Pfeifer and Mahr stood in front of the RV to block it, they said. That’s when investigators from the city’s Taxicab Bureau Taxicab Bureau and the New Orleans Police Department arrived on the scene.
Pfeifer, chef and owner of Bella Luna restaurant, received a summons and fellow restaurateur Patricia Boswell, the 61-year-old co-owner of Stella!, was arrested.
Pfeifer and other residents said the officers that responded to the scene treated them poorly. He said he wants the situation rectified, and he wants the city to enforce the laws on the books.
Reports by police and taxicab investigators paint a different picture. They say a belligerent Pfeifer chased down the RV in his personal vehicle, then laid in the street to block it from moving.
As for Boswell, they say she swung at an officer who was politely trying to escort her from the street. Later, in the police car, she became so volatile that shackles were necessary. Boswell eventually was hauled to jail and booked with interfering with an investigation, New Orleans Police spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo said.