Uber's up and running in New Orleans

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The New Orleans Saints' Cam Jordan was Uber's first rider in the New Orleans market. - COURTESY UBER
  • COURTESY UBER
  • The New Orleans Saints' Cam Jordan was Uber's first rider in the New Orleans market.

The car-sharing service Uber, which has spent more than a year attempting to enter the New Orleans market, began taking its first customers today, according to an email from the company. The first rider: New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan.

It's been a long process for the controversial car-sharing company, which was slapped with a cease-and-desist order from then-Taxicab Bureau Director Malachi Hull in October 2013 — before Uber had given a single ride in the city. After months of delay and discussion by the New Orleans City Council, Uber was finally given the go-ahead to operate in New Orleans at a Sept. 8 council meeting. The vote was 4-3, with several provisos: Uber is allowed only to use its Uber Black and Uber SUV services (not the popular UberX, which competes with traditional taxis), and there's a $15 minimum floor on all rides. The company has said it will keep working to change those restrictions.

As of 1:45 pm. today, a check of the Uber app showed four vehicles for hire — three of which were in the downtown area and one of which was Uptown. 

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According to Uber's gumbo-partyish email:

Bring out the trumpets and tune up the sax! Your Uber is arriving now, New Orleans. While it’s been a long road to get here, we’re SO jazzed to connect the Big Easy with reliable, safe, and convenient transportation…finally!

Starting this weekend, our UberBLACK and UberSUV options will hit the streets to take you and your krewe from Algiers to the French Quarter, Uptown to Gentilly, Downtown to the 9th Ward and all over the Crescent City in style.

Well, as soon as those four cars get out of downtown and Uptown.

If you want to try Uber this weekend, be ready to pay for the privilege. The company estimates a $15 charge for a ride from Frenchmen Street to Harrah's New Orleans ($25 in an SUV), and $29 from Preservation Hall to Tipitina's ($44 in an SUV). Those fares are quite a bit steeper than the mandated rates of New Orleans' traditional cab services.

And Cam Jordan (who can definitely afford those rates) just tweeted about it, as did District D City Councilman Jared Brossett:

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