Opportunities a’poppin’

I’ve decided something.

Over the past six months, I have poured thousands upon thousands of dollars into construction of a restaurant on Magazine St. I have been scrupulous to do so as required by the City of New Orleans. In addition to the usual Health Department things, I have also had to construct, at the city’s direction, two ADA-compliant restrooms — complete with all the ramps and the turning space and the grab bars and all the other things required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If not for these, I would have been open, um, like four months ago.

Over the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to go eat at numerous restaurants around the city — some of them brand new and some of them more than 150 years old. But in NONE of them on Magazine St (including one that opened less than three weeks ago) appear to be facing these same requirements. I used a restroom at lunch today that was only marginally larger than the head on my freaking sailboat. Seriously — and this was in a NEW restaurant.

..so I have decided I am going to loudly advertise the fact that I have what’s apparently the ONLY FREAKING ADA RESTAURANT ON MAGAZINE STREET. I’m going to advertise in every publication and ahead of every convention that gears itself toward the wheelchair and/or PowerChair crowd. And I know there’s some rich sumbitches out there. Larry Flynt — take a break from your place and come see me.

Sorry. I am seriously all set to accomodate any and all customers, as long as they behave like dey Mama raised ’em right. But the city seems to allow so many others to qualify for some kinda grandfathering clause. The rules seem to be as adjustable as your average AM radio dial. I guess I’m just not paying off the right people.

12 Comments so far

  1. Sarabeth (unregistered) on December 4th, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

    My father, a contractor in Pensacola, FL, once rebuilt a public restroom building on the beach after it was wiped out by hurricane Ivan. It also had to be ADA compliant along with being built on tall piers so it would survive another hurricane. After the extra square footage, long ramps, and proper handholds, the price per square foot tripled from that of a normal public restroom. He griped about it constantly.

    I like your idea of using the restrooms as an advertising hook. Probably will work, too.

  2. Craig (unregistered) on December 4th, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

    Interesting you say this. In Cape San Blas FL, a local contractor came up with the idea of building Florida’s first ADA-compliant beach park. He convinced the state to run all the power and other infrastructure out to what had been a pretty forgotten piece of beach — thereby opening the entire peninsula to what is now one of the most affluent stretches on the entire Gulf coast.

    It can have its advantages.

  3. Heatherlee (unregistered) on December 5th, 2007 @ 7:59 am

    Dear brother-in-law…as you know, I have some physical limitations. Without going into the reasoning, I’ll just say that, as a result of these limitations I generally prefer to use the larger stalls in public restrooms whenever possible (never going before a wheelchair bound person, of course). I have often wondered how much business is lost to establishments that do not have ADA equipped restrooms. There is one place we frequent on Mt Lemmon here in the Tucson area that someone with a significant weight problem couldn’t fit into their stalls – forget a wheelchair. They also do not have ramps outside, only stairs, so no one wheelchair bound can eat there. Heck, catch me on a bad pain day and I can’t eat there, because I couldn’t walk up the steps!
    Your idea is fantastic. Let us know how it works out.

  4. Sarabeth (unregistered) on December 5th, 2007 @ 9:38 am

    Oh, the restroom is used. It was just a b!tch to build. He didn’t gripe because it was necessary. He griped because of the difficulty of building it and all the rules associated.

  5. Craig (unregistered) on December 5th, 2007 @ 9:46 am

    I gripe because others who came after me aren’t required to do the same thing, even though they appear to be facing the same situation.

    If there’s a cutoff date, then fine. There just seem to be about two dozen “yeah, buts” in the requirements.

    We’ll live. Thanks for letting me vent.

  6. Laureen (unregistered) on December 5th, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

    Wasn’t this a restaurant before? And they did not have to meet ADA specs? You are being burdened but it will be a benefit I believe and you should market it! This town has so many of those little old guys cruising around on the motorized wheelchairs, you should host a night just for them. In fact, bring some coupons in to the dealership . . .

  7. Craig (unregistered) on December 5th, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

    That’s apparently one of the main problems — this place has never been a restaurant or bar before. So it’s viewed, in regulatory terms, as if had been a vacant lot. Everything from facilities to facades has to be approved and coded from the ground up as if it were brand new.


  8. Laureen (unregistered) on December 6th, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

    Well, jeez, that does make it more challenging. I was thinking, you could probably also host a night for the Big Easy Roller girls if ramps are part of the project. . . it’ll be an asset for you in the end. Can’t wait to see the place.

  9. City Hell (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

    We went through the same issue with a Gallery Space we bought. It was an old 900 sq foot house, we were required to build a ramp, and fix the bathroom. The overall cost would have been about 20K.

    We went to the State ADA officer and they said we could be exempt if we offered to bring our goods to the Customers Home. Which, of course we would do.

    The City stonewalled and when an inspector came to the site to dscuss he suggested that we “pray on it”

  10. sid (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 9:22 am

    Yada yada Yada. . . What kind of sailboat do you have? Could you post on some sailing issues, pontchartrain etc.


  11. Craig (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    I have a 30-foot Morgan Outislander sloop, which is moored at Massalina Bayou in Panama City FL. My intent was to move her closer to New Orleans, but Katrina came and kinda took out a lot of the marina space between here and there.

    I have no experience sailing in Lake Pontchartrain. It’s all been in the Gulf and down to the Keys.

  12. Laurie (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

    I only have 2 am stations that come in!!

    But, seriously didn’t it snow at 3p.m. on Decembre’ 25 2005?


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