Hurricane Katrina Bus Tours Sparks Backlash

NEW ORLEANS (October 4, 2012)--Some New Orleans residents and elected officials are pushing back against tour operators who bus out-of-towners into the city's Lower 9th Ward, where Hurricane Katrina unleashed a wall of water that pushed homes off foundations and stranded residents on rooftops when the levees failed.

The devastation is the centerpiece of a cottage tourism industry that formed after the August 2005 hurricane, sending visitors streaming in for a close-up look.

Worried that the tour vehicle traffic would interfere with clean-up efforts, the City Council approved an ordinance in 2006 banning the coaches from the area, but now tour operators are crying foul, claiming the ordinance was thinly enforced until recently, and that their business is being hurt.

Residents say they're weary of being gawked at and say the buses damage their streets.

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