As of midnight, the smoking ban has officially arrived in all New Orleans bars and casinos, though Kevin Allman notes "you can smoke on a patio or in a courtyard if the bar permits it." And while some bars went out in a blaze of glory last night, Harrah's employees apparently went around the casino in relative alms-for-the-poor fashion, holding up "plastic cups filled with black sand" like an army of Dickensian bottom-dwellers, telling smokers "Harrah's is now smoke free. May I ask that you put out your cigarette." Because Harrah's is truly concerned with its clientele's right to smoke inside—enough so that it's leading the charge of some 50+ bars/restaurants' lawsuit against the city—they offered
free drinks, discount Thunder From Down Under tix, Tootsie Pops in exchange for patrons' stubbed-out cigarettes.
One patron did note that he's likely not to return to Harrah's because of the ban and instead plans to patronize the casinos on Mississippi's Gulf Coast because they still allow smoking, even after he "managed to convince a Harrah's employee to give him two Tootsie Pops in exchange for his one cigarette."
Elsewhere in smoking ban land, Adrienne Quinlan questions what will happen to all of the city's finest ashtrays. Mid City pub The Holy Ground (3340 Canal) is having an ashtray auction tonight, April 22, for their myriad gaudy ashtrays, the proceeds of which will benefit boxer dog rescue.
Also the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has released an official statement, via their state lead volunteer Amber Stevens, about the ban. Per a press release:
Today is the beginning of new future for New Orleans with less cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. It is also the first day that anyone, anywhere in New Orleans can go to work knowing they won't have to breathe the cancer-causing toxins found in secondhand smoke. Today is certainly a day for everyone concerned about protecting public health to celebrate.