Lupin: Sweep 'trash' from French Quarter

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jackson Square and the French Quarter are shown in this July 2013 Advocate file photo.
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jackson Square and the French Quarter are shown in this July 2013 Advocate file photo.

Dr. Ralph Lupin is fed up with the “useless occupation” of the French Quarter by the shabbily attired and unsatisfactorily groomed “trash” that hang out near tarot-card tables in Jackson Square, the Vieux Carre Commission chairman said during the commission’s meeting Wednesday.

Lupin urged those present at the meeting to call the cops when they spot such loiterers.

“The only way that we are going to get any peace and quiet in the French Quarter is if we get help,” Lupin said.

Lupin’s comments came during the chairman’s address he gives at each meeting. He said he wanted to discuss the things he sees on his regular walks around the French Quarter.

“I am especially concerned over what I’ve been seeing recently and that is the occupation of sidewalks near Jackson Square by people who are using it as a place to sleep or whatever else they might have to do,” Lupin said. “I regularly wake up to go to surgery at 6 o’clock in the morning and I see these people out on the sidewalk.”

Lupin, a resident of the Quarter, said he intends to ask the city’s legal department to “review the laws that govern the tarot-card, or so-called tarot-card readers” who set up shop in Jackson Square.

“I am not opposed to tarot-card readers, not at all. But I am opposed to tarot-card readers who have six or seven chairs around a little table and those six or seven chairs, as I observed on my way over here this afternoon, are occupied by people that I hate to say I consider trash, but they are people who look like they are,” Lupin said. “They are ill-dressed, ill-washed. They are cursing. They are drinking alcohol. And I’ve heard they use drugs in Jackson Square.”

The comment drew both giggles and gasps.

It’s not the first time Lupin’s bluntness has raised an eyebrow or two. He was criticized six years ago for calling then-Sanitation Director Veronica White a “bitch” during a dispute about trash bins in the French Quarter.

“I don’t understand Ms. White’s obstinance, other than that she’s a bitch,” Lupin said.