Thursday, September 27, 2012

Court filings: City Council to amend ordinance banning religious, political speech on Bourbon Street

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM

New Orleans City Council will be revisiting the "aggressive solicitation" ordinance that prohibits "loiter[ing] or congregat[ing] on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise," according to court records from a Wednesday status conference on a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Last week, Pastor Paul Gros filed a federal complaint, claiming that police officers threatened with him with arrest for preaching on Bourbon Street in May. The ordinance, passed last year by City Council, "serves to chill and deter Pastor Gros’s expression," the lawsuit reads. A second congregation filed another suit on Sept. 21 after its members were arrested. The two complaints have been consolidated.

U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon placed a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law last week. The parties were scheduled to meet for a hearing before Judge Carl Barbier on Monday. That hearing has been canceled following the status conference in which an attorney for the city said that Council will amend the law "in order to address the concerns and issues raised by the Plaintiffs in these two lawsuits," a summary of the conference reads.

Gros' complaint: PastorsvCityComplaint.pdf

Minutes from Wednesday's status conference: BourbonStatusConf.pdf

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