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A New Orleans Curfew? Who Knew?

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A New Orleans Curfew? Who Knew?

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A New Orleans Curfew? Who Knew?

A New Orleans Curfew? Who Knew?

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Technically, there is a curfew in New Orleans from 6 in the evening through 8 in the morning. But with a few bars and clubs beginning to reopen, no one — including the police — seems to be paying much attention.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Residents of New Orleans have been warned that they return to their city at their own risk. There's also a strictly enforced curfew, 6 PM to 8 AM. But restaurants and clubs have been opening, and as NPR's Ina Jaffe reports, night life is alive and well in a city that can't seem to live without it.

INA JAFFE reporting:

Bourbon Street has long been know for its bars, strip joints, bars, restaurants and bars. There are now also huge fragrant heaps of trash, but you can still walk down the street with a drink in your hand, and this weekend, a lot of people were.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man: You girls want a beer?

Unidentified Woman: No thanks.

Unidentified Man: Well, how about a beer?

(Soundbite of laughter)

JAFFE: These guys didn't seem to be able to remember their names, which may be part of Bourbon Street's purpose. Its other purpose was on full display in the window of a club called Deja Vu, where a young lady dressed in her underwear was doing things that the FCC will not allow us to describe. The Deja Vu has been open for a week, apparently doing good business, and as we stood there, a bunch of uniformed cops and National Guard walked in.

Mr. MICHAEL ABRAMS (Manager, Deja Vu): Well, as a matter of fact, most of our business has been military, police and fire.

JAFFE: Michael Abrams, known to the world as Wolf(ph), is the manager at the club.

Mr. ABRAMS: Some of the guys that have traveled from hundreds of miles to be here to help were given a hard time because they were in a strip club. These guys are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. God forbid, they come in for some entertainment and a cold beer.

JAFFE: Asked if he'd heard about the curfew, Abrams just said, `Uh-huh.' He was more up to date, though, than a couple of New Orleans police officers who walked by.

Unidentified Police Officer: Yeah. I'm not sure about a curfew. Vince, is there a curfew here?

VINCE: I don't think so.

JAFFE: They said they weren't allowed to talk to the media and rushed off without giving their names. At the other end of the French Quarter, a crowd was crammed into a bar called Molly's for a community meeting focused on how the city and the Quarter will rebuild. At the microphone was magician and actor Harry Anderson, who owns a club down the street.

Mr. HARRY ANDERSON (Actor, Magician): But what we might come up with are some ideas that Jim and I and others can take to the city. Maybe the next time we get together, what I would like to offer, if you guys...

JAFFE: Still, a lot of people, both inside and outside the bar, were just there to drink.

Mr. JIM FERRARI(ph) (Club Patron): We're eating some MREs. They're really wonderful.

JAFFE: Jim Ferrari and half a dozen friends were hanging around in the bed of a pickup truck, washing down the MREs with plenty of beer.

Mr. FERRARI: I was evacuated for a month, and come back here and sitting here on the street drinking beer, hanging out, talking to your friends, this is the most normal I've felt in one month.

JAFFE: And nothing makes New Orleans people feel more normal than live music.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. WALTER "WOLFMAN" WASHINGTON: (Singing) Well, baby, tell me whatcha gonna do?

JAFFE: Local blues legend Walter "Wolfman" Washington was holding fort at the Maple Leaf in the just-reopened uptown area. Powered by generators and ice-cold beer, Friday was the club's first night of business since the hurricane. Nearly 100 people packed the bar, and a few dozen more hung out on the sidewalk, including Janine Bayham(ph).

Ms. JANINE BAYHAM: Look, the city hasn't even been open a good--I mean, to the public, hasn't been open for a good 24 hours and already there's a party going on. How could you pass that up? Need to come on back home!

JAFFE: And right now, this city, more than most, has a right to sing the blues.

(Soundbite of music)

JAFFE: Ina Jaffe, NPR News, New Orleans.

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