Bourbon Pub Parade files class-action lawsuit after insurance company denies coronavirus-related claim

A Bourbon Street nightclub on Monday sued its insurance company for alleged breach of contract after a claim for damages caused by a forced shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic was denied.

Bourbon Pub Parade, located at 801 Bourbon St., sued Nautilus Insurance for breach of contract after the company denied to cover a claim for ongoing damages caused by a city order ceasing business operations to prevent coronavirus spread, according to a federal lawsuit filed on May 4.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a March 16 proclamation ordering certain businesses, including bars, to close as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This includes the vast majority of businesses in the French Quarter, which relies heavily on tourism income.

While the actual economic impact from the business closures has yet to be fully quantified, tourists in New Orleans spent $9.1 billion in 2018, with much of it driven by leisure- and work-related travel, according to the city’s Tourism Marketing Corporation.

French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summerfest canceled due to COVID-19

“The damages [Bourbon Pub Parade] has sustained were not ’caused by or resulting from’ COVID-19,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, the proximate cause of…losses were the precautionary measures taken by the mayor of New Orleans and the Louisiana governor to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the future.”

The insurance purchased by Bourbon Pub Parade included an “all-risk” policy that provided coverage for all risks, unless the risk was specifically excluded, according to the lawsuit, adding that the policy includes coverage for business interruption, extra expense, civil authority and extended business income.

While the policy doesn’t provide an exclusion for losses stemming from a pandemic, it does exclude losses “caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease,” according to the lawsuit.

Nautilus denied the insurance claim on two grounds: first, that the bar and surrounding property didn’t suffer any physical damage; and second, the policy’s virus and bacteria exclusion.

Bourbon Pub Parade, however, said Nautilus’ reasons are erroneous because of the impact coronavirus is having on physical spaces throughout the world.

Citing coronavirus studies, the bar said contaminated surfaces could serve as a potential source of transmission.

“Based on what is understood about the way COVID-19 is transmitted, it is clear that the insured premises and surrounding areas have sustained direct physical losses within the meaning of the policy,” said Bourbon Pub Parade.

Additionally, the bar said losses aren’t directly attributed to coronavirus, but Cantrell’s order forcing it to close.

In the lawsuit, Bourbon Pub Parade requests a jury trial and class-action certification, which could involve other plaintiffs that are denied similar claims.

Read the lawsuit below:


French Quarter’s Westin Hotel completes $30 million makeover

Observatory Eleven at sunset. Courtesy of The Westin New Orleans.

A French Quarter upscale hotel wants you to know that it has a new look.

On Thursday, The Westin New Orleans announced that it completed an expansive, and expensive, revitalization effort that spanned the entire hotel.

The $30 million dollar redesign added a total of 30,000 square feet across 18 rooms on the property.

Hotel developers worked with Canadian firm Moncur Design Associates, which incorporated some of the local aesthetic to include the city’s history, culture, architecture and natural elements like southern oaks with hanging moss.

Three new additions include a new bar restaurant and ballroom.

All three — Observatory Eleven, Bistro at the Bend and Riverbend Ballroom — are all located on the 11th floor of the hotel and overlook the Mississippi River.

Observatory Eleven is a circular bar and includes approximately 2,3000 square feet of space. Dan Levy runs the drinks program at the bar.

Chef Daniel Mills, formerly of The Roosevelt New Orleans hotel, runs Bistro at the Bend. Some of his signature dishes include blue crab beignets, Gulf Coast au gratin, blackened scallops and pimento cheese arancini. The restaurant seats 104 people.

The ballroom is 4,200 square feet and holds 280 people.

The hotel, which rises to 19 floors and includes 462 rooms, is located at 100 Iberville Street near Canal Place.

The Westin is a hotel chain owned by Marriott International, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.

Earl Bernhardt, Tropical Isle co-founder, dies at 80

Earl Bernhardt, co-founder of the iconic Tropical Isle bar and the Hand Grenade drink, reportedly died on Dec. 5. He was 80 years old.

Bernhardt, along with his business partner Pam Fortner, founded the Tropical Isle bar after the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition and its melon-flavored signature cocktail served in an elongated neon green container shaped.

Shaped like a hand grenade at the bottom, cups are often seen strewn along Bourbon Street on a daily basis and have become an essential part of French Quarter scenery.

The drink comes in two varieties: frozen or with ice.

The bar expanded to five locations on Bourbon Street and has been a French Quarter mainstay for decades.

Longtime Tropical Isle employees praise Bernhardt for his generosity and treating them like family despite running a high-volume business with stressful hours.

His reputation extended to the local music community as his venues hosted many popular bands and musicians over the years.

Bernhardt was also known for his flashy dress. During visits to the bar, Bernhardt was occasionally seen wearing a solid gold chain with a Hand Grenade medallion around his neck.

Bernhardt was originally from Jackson, Mississippi. A cause of death was not disclosed.

A second line celebration of life parade was held for Bernhardt on Monday, Dec. 16.

NOPD: Suspects distracted Bourbon Street bartender, then stole cash

Courtesy of NOPD.

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) said two men are wanted after one allegedly distracted a bartender in the 800 block of Bourbon St., while the other grabbed cash from a bank bag on September 8.

The incident happened at about 5:30 a.m., according to the NOPD, adding that the suspects left the bar in an unknown direction.

The NOPD released a surveillance camera still photo allegedly showing the suspects, which is pictured above.

Anyone with information on the identity and whereabouts of the two men are asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080. Anonymous callers can call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.

GrandPre’s to host Stormy Daniels for LGBT Community Center benefit on August 1

Stormy Daniels at the 2010 Adult Entertainment Expo. Photo by flipchip | Wikimedia Commons

Porn star Stormy Daniels will visit GrandPre’s at 834 N. Rampart St. for a party on August 1 to help raise money for the New Orleans LGBT Community Center.

Titled “A MidSummer Night’s Cream,” the event will include an evening of “sparkly drink specials,” go-go dancers, and a “Most Fabulous Fairie” costume contest with prizes and $1,500 in cash. The contest will be judged by Daniels, Lewis St. Louis, and a surprise celebrity.

Additionally, there will be a silent auction, raffle, and Gentilly Snow will be serving food with a portion of the sales being donated to the LGBT Community Center.

Daniels—AKA Stephanie Clifford, a Baton Rouge native—was embroiled in a sex scandal involving President Donald Trump, who reportedly paid $130,000 via his personal (now imprisoned) attorney Michael Cohen in hush money before the 2016 presidential election to cover up an alleged affair with Daniels.

The benefit, which runs from 9 to 11 p.m., is organized by Daniels’ own Swamp Trash Events. Tickets range from $20 to $100 and can be purchased in advance at Big Daddy’s and GrandPre. There isn’t a fee to enter the costume contest but contestants must sign up before 10 p.m.