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Banks and Janae Pierre, addressed the growing anger over Walk-On's closure during Essence.

So many listeners called in that the show took up the issue of businesses closing for Essence again on Friday. Not a new phenomenon The fact of businesses closing during Essence, along with theories about those businesses' motivations, has been brought out of the shadows recently, thanks largely to social media.

"When other restaurants around us would close during Essence, they'd call it a 'black out.' They'd close because they didn't want to deal with black customers." Philipe La Mancusa, a chef who has worked in a variety of French Quarter restaurant kitchens and bars, recalled blunt workplace conversations about race dating back decades.

Word of large crowds moving through the Quarter would travel from restaurant to restaurant via phone, La Mancusa said.

Any restaurant that is closing (during Essence) is generalizing a whole group of people.

No matter what your profession is or how much or how little money you have, how well-dressed you are, how you act, etc., you will be stereotyped and marginalized based on race.

The repairs required the restaurant to remain shuttered through the weekend of the Essence Festival 2016.

While many of the establishments cited construction or the holiday weekend as their reason for shutting down, there is speculation that these restaurants chose to take the long weekend intentionally to avoid the largely African American audience of Essence Festival.

It's not the first year Essence officials have reported larger attendance than Jazz Fest, which takes place over seven days compared to Essence's three.

To the minds of critics, it's impossible to separate race from a decision to close a downtown New Orleans business on one of the heaviest tourist weekends of the year.

Melissa Weber, the popular local DJ who goes by the name DJ Soul Sister, said the number of restaurants closing or imposing an automatic 20-percent tip during Essence became particularly disturbing to her in 2013.

She started posting the names of offending businesses to her Twitter and Facebook feeds.

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