Thursday, September 21, 2006
A half-century-long ban on tattoos has ended in Norfolk, the home of the world's largest Naval base. Norfolk City Council approved an ordinance yesterday allowing tattoo parlors in limited areas of the city -- a few industrial zones and downtown. Courts have ruled that cities may no longer prohibit tattoo parlors. Sixty years ago, Norfolk's East Main Street was world famous for its many tattoo parlors, taverns and burlesque palaces.That ended in 1950 when the City Council approved a city-wide ban on tattoo parlors. Tattoos were branded unsanitary and generally undesirable, even "vulgar and cannibalistic." The Navy now heavily regulates tattoos. Its policy forbids tattoos in places not covered up by uniform and regulates the types of tattoos members may have. The vote was ceremonial for one tattoo parlor, which has been implanting pigment into the skin of customers in Norfolk since last week.