In early July 2013, Tracy Riley, an African American woman, retired U.S. Army Major and disabled veteran, attempted to establish a supper club at 300 Decatur Street. The name of the supper club is called The Rouge House. In the process of opening the business (getting city/state permits, etc.), Ms. Riley was met with opposition by arrogant hotel employees of the Bienville House Hotel. The Bienville House Hotel, a division of the Monteleone Hotel on Royal Street, is located at 320 Decatur Street. These Bienville House Hotel employees deployed a nuisance spying expedition of The Rouge House to inaccurately submit allegations for opposition of The Rouge House alcohol permit. Refusing to be intimidated, Ms. Riley continued to pursue her objective.
The rich millionaires who dominate the hospitality industry in New Orleans are white men. One of their organizations is the French Quarter Business Association (FQBA). In fall of 2013, the FQBA’s officers, Jeremy DeBlieux, President; Robert Watters, Vice President; along with Steven Caputo, General Manager of the Bienville House Hotel, successfully opposed MAJ Riley (ret), a Black woman, from obtaining the last permit needed to operate her business in the French Quarter through their dictatorial connections with the New Orleans City Government (Nicole Webre) and Louisiana State government (Troy Hebert). Watters, as the chair of the French Quarter Management District, a Louisiana State agency, interfered with Ms. Tracy Riley’s right to access a permit which is a violation of the new hate crime prevention law of 2009 Title 18 U.S. Code 249. Watters is also the owner of Rick’s Cabaret, an adult entertainment-bar located at 315 Bourbon Street.
Although Ms. Riley has been denied due process for this unjust action, she is fighting back. She has appealed to the Civil District Court to protect and assert her democratic right for her argument to be heard in court. And she has taken steps to popularize this injustice against her. However, instead of the state upholding and speeding up her democratic right to due process, the state officials have purposely delayed her request. The state officials in league with the white millionaires of the French Quarter businesses appear to be attempting to force Ms. Riley to submit to their will and stop Ms. Riley from ever opening a Black owned supper club.
Organizations like the French Quarter Business Association seemingly desire to maximize their greed for profits ‘for themselves, of themselves and by themselves’ and appear to restrict Black citizens from owning and operating businesses in the French Quarter.
We believe that chauvinist business establishments that seek to deny Black people the equal right to pursue economic opportunities should be held accountable in the justice system. We believe that the hate crimes by Watters, the Bienville House Hotel, and the FQBA should be denounced. We ask you to donate so that we may pay the legal expenses of each of the lawsuits required to bring justice to The Rouge House.