OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - The Opelousas Board of Aldermen has agreed to change the rules for businesses seeking to sell liquor beyond the current closing time now allowed by a 5-year old ordinance.
Bars are generally required to close between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.,
but an exception was carved out for businesses where the sale of alcohol accounts for less than 15% of gross revenue during those hours.
Stallions, which operates as a restaurant as well as a bar, has stayed open past 2 a.m. under the same exemption, arguing that cover charges at the door combined with food sales have pushed its alcohol sales below 15% of gross revenue.
Opelousas Bar Ordinance Update 11/14
Since it's opening a few years ago one Opelousas restaurant and nightclub has had its fair share of controversy. Now the owners are being told they can't operate the way they have in the past. Stallions is basically a multipurpose facility. It serves as a restaurant, music venue, and nightclub. They've been able to skirt city ordinance and stay open and selling alcohol until 6:00 AM in the morning but not anymore.
News 10's Doug MacDiarmid tells why the city has singled out stallions once again in this report.
Opelousas Bar Ordinance Talks 10/9
On Sunday at approximately 3am, Tyler Viator was struck and killed by a vehicle, after trying to cross Interstate 49 in Opelousas. Approximately one hour later, at Stallions Restaurant, a fight occurred. Almost 30 minutes later, at Chevron, located on Creswell, a shooting occurred, leaving two victims wounded. Although the incidents are not connected, according to Sergeant Jody White, those involved were all patrons of Stallions. Now, Alderman Blair Briggs, is proposing a change to a current ordinance.
The current ordinance allows a restaurant to sell alcohol between the hours of 2am and 6am, as long as the alcohol sales are less than 15 percent of the total revenues. According to Briggs, Stallions uses a loophole, but charging a cover fee and adding it to the total sale of food. The amendment would force the cover charge to be included in the alcohol sales. This could mean the end of Stallions selling alcohol after 2am.
Briggs has proposed the amendment once before, but failed to receive a majority vote. Alderman Jackie Martin said she still isn't sure about the amendment, "I don't feel like a decision can be made at this time. We have to look at it a little bit more. Maybe if the chief makes a recommendation, and he believes it would fix the problem, I would consider it."
Briggs said he has done some investigating on his own, and found a huge number of problems in that area after 2am. "It's problem after problem. I have 65 police complaints from that location."
Sergeant White said, " The percentages of a business staying open after a certain time, there's always the chance of something happening."
Briggs said he hopes his fellow alderman support the alderman, and also said that he does not wish to attack Stallions.
"This is about public safety. We were elected primarily to protect the people that we serve and this has become an issue, people are dying. It would be wrong of me to sit back and not do anything about this," he explained.
Briggs is introducing the item into Tuesday's agenda, where he needs a majority vote to have the item discussed.