NEW ORLEANS—Hoping to quell accusations of racism following the New Year’s Eve death of a black tourist, the city will employ “mystery customers”—people of varying racial backgrounds and ages wearing different types of clothing—to visit local businesses and report on how they are treated.
Levon Jones, 25, a black college student from Georgia, died after a scuffle with white bouncers outside a Bourbon Street bar on New Year’s Eve. Three bouncers were later charged with negligent homicide. The coroner said Jones suffocated as one held him in a headlock for 12 minutes and another pushed down on his back, preventing him from breathing. A third held Jones’ legs.
Jones’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the bar claiming race was a factor in the fight. Jones was black and the bouncers are white. The president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference recently said the group will organize a boycott by black tourists if authorities don’t take seriously the idea that racism played a part in the death.