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Festival visitors face parking issues

Posted: 7:03 PM, Apr 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-25 20:03:52-04

If you plan on coming out to Festival International anytime this weekend, don’t forget that Cajun Field is the official parking area.

Drivers now have to pay $10 to park and ride a shuttle downtown.

But last night several cars were towed from one parking lot on convent street, after they paid someone for parking.

Angela Nolan paid the people who were standing with signs in the lot $5 for parking and went on to enjoy festival. But when she got back later that night, the entire lot was empty.

“It just so happened other people were walking with me and they said they parked right here too. It just so happened when we got there, the tow trucks were leaving,” said Nolan.

Several cars were towed from the small lot behind an abandoned building.

Nolan said she saw the tow signs, but thought she was allowed to park there since people were selling parking.

“I never thought about ‘hey there’s a towing sign right there, they’re just taking our money to take our money.’ We thought we could park there because there were people there who were telling us to park there,” she explained.

She ended up paying $216 to get her car back Thursday morning and had to go in late to work.

“It was just a mess,” she said.

Another woman who parked there had to pay more than $500 to get her car back, less than 12 hours after it was towed by the same company, R & R Towing.

KATC’s Dannielle Garcia spoke with one of the women who was selling the parking spots. She said she got authorization from the owner years ago and has been selling parking during the festival to fundraise for different charities ever since.

She explains it was a case of miscommunication. The owner had forgotten she was still using the lot and recently signed a contract with R & R towing.

As our crew was preparing for their 5 o’clock live shot, the towing company came up and threatened to tow their car. He started unlocking the chains saying since they were not in the car, he would tow them.

When KATC’s Dannielle Garcia spoke with them briefly over the phone earlier, they said people need to read the towing signs because if there is a car parked there they will tow, and hung up.

“That’s why we provide parking at Cajun Field. We have accessible parking with an accessible shuttle and it stops right here by the church. So that’s why we try to provide that to try and help people avoid any sticky situations like that,” said Festival International Executive Director, Scott Feehan.

Now Nolan is warning others.

“Make sure you know where your car is, you know your car is secured because you just never know,” she said.

It’s unclear if the people will get their money back.