BATON ROUGE – City leaders shot down a proposed ordinance that would allow bars and clubs to stay open even farther into the early morning hours.
The proposal by Councilman LaMonte Cole would have allowed bar and club owners the option to serve alcohol and close their doors as late as 4 a.m. In an effort to amp up the nightlife in the city, Cole wanted to give more options to party goers past 2 o’clock. Bars would have had to pay for a permit to operate later.
“We would attract more people to our city as a result. We could increase revenue and job creation to help our city,” said Cole.
Edwin Edwards, owner of Ivar’s Sports Bar & Grill on Perkins Road, did not support the proposed ordinance. He cited a need to staff more people around the new hours, and the overall safety risks.
“It’s already a very rowdy crowd. You push that back to 4 o’clock… People of the younger age will start coming out at midnight and 1 o’clock as opposed to 11, and you’ll have more people on the road at 4 a.m. and a lot more drinking. From a safety point of view it doesn’t seem responsible.”
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul says his department does not have enough manpower to keep watch during those hours.
“With the current crime situation, it’s going to be really challenging if we have to respond to calls from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.,” Paul says. “I don’t think it’s a good strategic decision for me to support something like that right now.”
For Cole, the ordinance would bring more nightlife business to the city and give residents more options.
“Casino’s in our city are able to serve alcohol for 24 hours. Why not extend and give that opportunity to bars to create those jobs opportunities for people and create that business in our city right here?” Cole said.