Curfew Lifted in Many Areas, Businesses Relieved

The curfew has been lifted in most coast cities and counties. It comes none too soon for businesses here.

Michael Villapando grimaced as a tattoo artist needled a K for Katrina into his skin. Villapando is just one of many customers who have flooded into Airborne Tattooz & Piercings since the shop opened two days after the hurricane.

"There is no slow time. The phone don't quit ringing and people keep coming in," said shop owner Aaron Antonucci.

Antonucci says tattoo parlors like his do most of their business after dark. So, the curfew that's been in effect the past few weeks slowed down his booming business.

"I've had quite a few customers. Like I said, we're trying to get to them all as fast as we can. We've had quite a few who have had to wait because they don't want to get caught with the curfew," Antonucci said.

Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr says that many business owners wanted the curfew to be lifted, but he says public safety concerns had to be addressed first.

"Mainly, I consulted our law enforcement and public safety people. I wanted to make sure that we could enforce the law. Looting is still something that we've kind of had to watch a little more closely. We seem to have kind of gotten control of that, and of course, the debris that's in the streets and the condition of some of the buildings," Mayor Warr said.

Meanwhile, Aaron Antonucci will continue scratching out a living, and that's sure to be a lot easier now that the curfew's been lifted.

The area south of the railroad tracks in Gulfport is still under curfew from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m.