Land of the free? Or land of the free to be bullied because of your skin color? Land of the free to unite as a group of bullies and work to make sure another citizen is denied their fair rights to free enterprise and business?
For a disabled female Army veteran, Tracy Moore Riley, this nation that she fought and sacrificed for has proven to not be a land of freedom and opportunity. For a few years now, Tracy and her family and supporters have been involved in a political war in the city of New Orleans, over her right to own and operate a business in the French Quarter.
Tracy followed the protocol that many other New Orleans businesses followed in order to operate legally. Believing in the procedure of equal treatment, she did not prepare for how other business owners would fight against her presence, even resorting to racial slurs and harassment.
Many of the French Quarter businesses petitioned the city to deny her a liquor license, insisting on multiple inspections, and a claim that she had broken regulations related to alcohol were all levied against her. Yet, there remains no evidence of these claims.
Tracy had done what many other businesses did. As a former small business owner myself, I am familiar with the regulations to open and then later to offer alcohol.
This Nola.com articleexplains how that process works. As the writer, Laura McKnight writes, “Traditionally, new restaurants have offered the option while awaiting liquor licenses. For a variety of reasons, from religious beliefs to a reluctance to navigate regulations, some business owners forgo ever getting a license and invite customers to bring their own wine, beer, and even mixed drinks.”
After opening for business, Tracy was awaiting the necessary license to serve alcohol at her dinner club and artist co-op located on Decatur St. She allowed customers to bring in alcohol but she did not engage in the sell of said items.
But that did not stop several of the neighboring businesses to oppose her.
Tracy was not the first, nor the last business to be given such treatment. Another small business owner, who I won’t name without getting permission, attempted to open a restaurant and was met with the same bullying and aggression, and to this day has still not been able to open.
Now comes my question:
Will you join with me in calling the mayor’s office and demanding that Tracy be granted the right to operate her business? Will you remind him that it is his duty to uphold the laws and live up to the reputation that his father, Moon Landrieu set, in protecting the equal rights of the people of this city. After all, this city was built from a brilliant diversity, and if we do not protect and nurture that diversity, the soul of what is New Orleans will surely be lost.
Call Mayor Landrieu’s office today at: (504) 658-4900 and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if you are not a resident of New Orleans, this is a city built on a reputation that the mayor should not want to see tarnished. With that in mind, whether you are from Oklahoma, Canada, Australia or any point on the globe, we would love to have your voice added to the chorus demanding that Army Ret Tracy Moore Riley receive the right to own and operate her business and to be protected from harassment and assault of any kind.
For more information on Tracy’s efforts, you can read this story. Also take a look at the businesses who have fought against her.