NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Some food-truck operators in New Orleans say they plan to form a nonprofit association in hope of convincing officials to ease some of the rules they work under.

They're hoping to increase the number of permits, expand operating hours and extending the time a truck can stay in one spot, The Times-Picayune ( reported.

Rachel Billow, whose La Cocinita food truck serves Latin American food, said she and several other mobile food operators are working to apply for nonprofit trade association status.

City food truck licensing covers everything from snowball and produce trucks to the main-dish trucks that have sprung up in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Operators say the regulations are outdated.

Once the group has 501(c)(6) tax status, it will ask city officials "for an official interpretation of the laws" before asking to meet with city council members, Billow said. "Basically, then we can better address which laws are problematic."

Metairie attorney Andrew Legrand, said he believes the move will "get all the food trucks on the same page."

"We're at a time when New Orleans has more restaurants than ever before — I think there's thousands — so why not have food trucks out there kind of contributing to that?" said Legrand, who is helping with the paperwork.

There are similar groups around the country, said Matt Geller, who runs the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association. It started with 29 members in Los Angeles County. It now has about 140 and is considering statewide expansion.

Before his group got together, "there was a lot of misinformation," said Geller, who had worked in restaurants and has a background in law. "Even the regulators didn't know what was going on."


Information from: The Times-Picayune,