Letter to City Council

Good afternoon District C Council Member Palmer and all City Council Members:

My name is Gary Wheat. My partner and I live in the 1000 block of Esplanade Ave. We are very concerned about the negative impact that the proposed "Habana Outpost" could have on our community and ultimately on the French Quarter as a whole.

Sadly, at a VCC committee meeting that I attended a while ago the disconnected attitudes, non-attention to detail, and nonchalant body language of many of the VCC Commissioners gave the appearance that all of our protests and concerns voiced to them would be for naught. Based on the VCC's actions, whether it is true or not, many of this area's tax-paying homeowners believe that the VCC has ignored our concerns and their hearings were nothing more than a charade, held to consummate a "done deal".

Rather than act to protect the French Quarter from an unwanted, non-conforming and ill-suited development, it seems that the VCC has acted to "rubber stamp" this proposed entertainment venue for whatever reasons. Folks are left wondering why? Perhaps in order to help increase city tax revenue? To help jump-start commercial development along Rampart Street? To please and appease the masses of non-French Quarter folks that Habana Outpost's out-of-town owner recruited to pack the VCC meetings? Whatever their underlying motivations, in this case, the VCC has not followed its mission of acting in the best interest of the French Quarter.

This neighborhood doesn't need or want a loud, over amplified, crowded outdoor sandwich shop inserted into our midst. Any local resident or tourist who feels the need for that setting can walk a few blocks over to Bourbon Street if that's their idea of a good time.

Our unique and tranquil neighborhood is the main entryway into the residential section of the lower French Quarter. It deserves to be protected, not invaded and exploited by an out-of-state chain restaurant that is famous for specializing in crowded outdoor events at its New York City locations. This neighborhood is too important to the historic fabric of the French Quarter to turn it into another "honky-tonk zone" like the noisy blocks of Bourbon Street.

We beg you as our elected representatives to please join us by taking a stand against this outside effort to destroy yet another residential section of the French Quarter. Preserving the Quarter is more important than approving another venue that would sell cheap food and drinks to go.

Gary Wheat
1004 Esplanade Ave