Bare breasts, drunken revelry and almost anything else is tolerated along Bourbon Street, but after dark, the city is saying street preachers are forbidden.

Two weeks ago, a small group of street preachers were arrested during a gay pride festival, perhaps the first people to be booked under a nearly year-old ordinance against aggressive solicitation on Bourbon Street. Those who crafted the law say it’s a public safety measure to help with crowd control and discourage con-artists, but the street preachers believe it’s a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Specifically, the law bans loitering on Bourbon to spread “any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.”

“Have you ever been on Bourbon Street? There on Bourbon Street, you have nude pictures trying to entice people in. That would be my definition of aggressive solicitation,” said street preacher Ruben Israel, a familiar sight on Bourbon during Mardi Gras and the gay Southern Decadence festival held over Labor Day.

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