Louisiana Justice Institute Challenges New Curfew

Jan 10, 2012

A non-profit civil rights group is organizing young men to test the city's new 8 p.m. curfew for those 16 years old or younger. Eileen Fleming reports the effort is aimed at challenging the new restriction.

The Louisiana Justice Institute is sending what attorney Tracie Washington says are testers of the 8 p.m. curfew.

The New Orleans City Council approved an ordinance that took effect Monday banning unaccompanied minors from gathering in the French Quarter and parts of nearby Frenchmen Street. Supporters say it's aimed at protecting children from violent crime. Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the ordinance, and backs another pending change that will make the 8 p.m. curfew effective citywide.

Washington says "testers" are African-American males, 17-years-old or older, who, she says, have a constitutional right to assemble in the area – even without identification. Washington says a boycott she announced last week for the French Quarter to begin on Martin Luther King Day is now being reviewed.

Neither Landrieu nor Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas could be reached for comment.