Re-open Our City protest event planned for Saturday at Canal and Bourbon streets

(New Orleans residents protested the city’s COVI-19 restrictions on bars and music clubs Sept. 19 | Eric T. Styles)
A protest against the COVID-19 shutdowns on New Orleans bars and nightclubs is planned for Saturday, Sept. 26 at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets.

The Re-Open Our City protest is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. near CVS. Organized by Todd C. Aurand, whose objective is to “re-open and restore the very essence” of the city following the COVID-19 shutdown restrictions instituted by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

It’s the second such event since Sept. 19, when about 40 people gathered near the same intersection to demand city officials allow French Quarter and other city businesses to reopen.

Aurand encourages participants to bring signs, banners and flags that support local business reopenings, but not to bring any political signs, such as ones showing support for Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

“No politics, just business,” event’s Facebook page says.

Aurand gave a statement to The Quarter Rat:

I’m Todd Charles Aurand, a cook at a bar and grill still closed by the restrictions imposed by Mayor Cantrell. I am a Navy veteran who moved here in 2009. I was amazed and captivated by the life and culture of New Orleans. Aside from the historic beauty, bars and music were abound. I fell in love with a city for the first time, having grown up in the suburbs in New Jersey, I never thought it would be possible for me to love a city at all.

Since the restrictions of the pandemic, I have seen all that cultural beauty and vibrance just about disappear. I’ve seen a rise in violent crime. I’ve seen long time neighborhood bars close their doors for good, and several other businesses fold under the restraints also.

Being an admirer of military histories, I often think in terms more relative to an army, and in this case, The People of New Orleans are that army. An army travels on its stomachs, and as Napoleon once said about his retreat from Russia, “There is no atrocity unimaginable to a starving army.”

Ladies and Gentleman, If you don’t understand, We The People of New Orleans are starving from these restrictions and violent crime is on the rise. Desperation grows as the Unemployment and Lost Wage Assistance are running out.

We cannot afford to lose any more of our places of business, our places of employment, our hangout spots. We can’t lose everything that makes New Orleans a great place to visit. I don’t want us to become the “Detroit of the South.”

I want to see and hear all the things that made me fall in love with New Orleans again.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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