SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – One of the four Shreveport business owners who signed affidavits to be involved in a lawsuit asking a Caddo District judge scrap Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins’ order mandating masks for all Shreveport businesses and government buildings says she’s in favor of masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but not for policing her customers while doing business.
Donesa Walker is the owner of The Brain Train Learning RX in Shreveport that pairs clients with brain trainers help enhance cognitive skills. Walker’s remarks were made Friday, prior to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announcing a statewide order mandating masks that will become effective midnight Sunday.
“You’ve got one guy who’s already shot at another guy for not wearing a mask. That’s already happened right there at Circle K right in front of my business. It’s just people are very touchy on this subject,” Walker said.
She says she’s not against masks and has spent a lot of money supplying herself with them. Her parents were diagnosed with COVID-19. She’s for limiting the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, but only if people individually choose to do so.
“If you don’t want to do that that’s your civil liberties. I’m not going to sit there and police you. It’s not my role. My role as a business is to provide great customer service,” Walker said. “When you start policing people, you run them off. I have already lost business over it just this Wednesday.”
Walker said losing a significant amount of business is what drove her to be a part of the lawsuit. As the only board-certified cognitive specialist in Louisiana, Walker said customers have stopped driving from other areas because they don’t want to have to wear masks.
“So for me to say, ‘OK, well you can’t have my services – that’s cruel and unusual for children who need this service. It’s really hard.”
Perkins weighed in on the lawsuit Friday afternoon stating all he wants to do is protect the health and lives of Shreveport citizens. He said the virus is a medical public health disaster, not a political issue, so leaders should listen to health experts in order to protect everyone.
“With a mandate you’re not going to have 100 percent of people that’s happy with it so we’ve gotten some surprises, but we still remain 100 percent committed to keeping our citizens safe,” Perkins said. “This is not the time to be thinking as an individual. The only way we make it through this is if we make it through together.”
Caddo District Judge Craig Marcotte signed the order Friday morning in response to the lawsuit filed. In additon to The Brain Train, the other businesses that signed on to be plaintiffs in the suit are Strawn’s Eat Shop Too, Air U Shreveport and Bearing Service & Supply.
A fifth business, Monjuni’s of Portico, is cited as a planitff in the lawsuit, but its owner, Richard Taylor denies being a party in the suit. Although there is an affidavit in the lawsuit listing his business and his name, unlike the other four affidavits, it is neither signed nor notarized.