NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A resort island town on the Louisiana coast will repeal an anti-obscenity ordinance and let a contractor fly a flag from his truck that carries an obscenity aimed at President Joe Biden, under the terms of a lawsuit settlement filed Friday in federal court.
The settlement came in a lawsuit the Tulane First Amendment Law Clinic filed in January against the town of Grand Isle on behalf of Ross Brunet of Cut Off, Louisiana, who works on the island regularly. The suit said he repeatedly flew three flags from his truck. One promoted breast cancer awareness. Two bore vulgarities aimed at Biden and people who voted for him.
Brunet was ticketed seven times, according to the lawsuit. He successfully defended himself against four tickets. Despite winning those cases, he was later ticketed three more times. The last three cases were dropped after the town adopted an ordinance stating that signs on vehicles “shall not contain language deemed offensive and vulgar nor obscene in nature and cannot contain language that describes a sex act.”
Friday's settlement agreement states that Brunet “was wrongfully cited for engaging in constitutionally protected speech of flying flags with political messages.” It says Brunet will receive $40,000 in damages and legal fees. And it says Grand Isle officials will repeal the ordinance by Oct. 20. In return, Brunet will drop the lawsuit.
The agreement is awaiting approval from a federal judge.