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Duck boat dynasty



  Duck boats faced another detour last week on the way to their proposed maiden voyage in New Orleans. The amphibious "Ride the Ducks" tour — operated by Gray Line Tours and featuring duck-shaped vehicles — would begin in the French Quarter and end at Lake Pontchartrain. The tours would include three boats/buses making three to four trips daily from the Toulouse Street Wharf at the Mississippi River, then around the Quarter and down Canal Street to the lake.

  At the New Orleans City Council's Transportation Committee meeting Aug. 27, committee members addressed a proposed ordinance that bans all amphibious transportation in parts of the city — including the French Quarter — and agreed to table the ordinance for further review. In May, Gray Line Tours sought permits for the duck boats but faced pushback from the committee.

  Last week, attorney Scott Whittaker asked members to hold off on a vote before reviewing the ordinance and coming up with a compromise. "We ask an opportunity to dialogue before a ban is imposed," he said. Robert Watters, vice president of the French Quarter Business Association, said the group supports the tours in the Quarter, with some limitations. Complicating matters, Watters also represents the French Quarter Management District — which opposes the tours in the Quarter.

  The tabled ordinance would also ban "quackers," souvenir noisemakers handed out to riders. — ALEX WOODWARD

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