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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Court Upholds New Orleans' Tour Guide License Requirement

The City of New Orleans requires tour operators to apply for and obtain a City tour guide license. To qualify for a license, an applicant must pass an exam testing the applicant's knowledge of the historical, cultural and sociological developments in the City, cannot have been convicted of a felony within the past 5 years, pass a drug test, and pay a $50 fee.  Four tour guides sued the City, claiming that the license requirement violates their First Amendment rights. 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held in favor of the City, finding the tour guide license requirement constitutional.  Kagan v. City of New Orleans (June 2, 2014).  The court determined that the license requirement was "content-neutral" and that it promoted important government interests by protecting tourists and other visitors to the City.  The court also noted that the license requirement had no effect on the content of what tour guides say.  

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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