LAFAYETTE, LA (KLFY) — A Lafayette business is the victim of racial vandalism. The owner of Lux Hookah Lounge on Johnston St. contacted the Lafayette Police Department Monday calling it a hate crime.
He reached out to News 10 exclusively saying he wasn’t looking for or wanting publicity, choosing to remain anonymous, but he wants this racial crime recognized and his establishment’s peaceful, fun environment to return to normal.
The words “Sand N***** Club” came as a surprise to the owner when he saw them on his front glass.
“There are a lot of Arabs in this neighborhood, and I feel this is against all of them,” the owner explained.
He had never heard of the slur, saying he’s always been treated fairly by the Lafayette community.
The Lux Hookah Lounge has been part of Lafayette’s economy for two years. It’s a place many people go for a good time, but Sunday, just before midnight, someone went there with a different intention, using spray paint on a security camera and the front glass to attack not the business but the people behind it.
“I can get a new glass and somebody to install it. Whatever it costs $400, $500. It’s fine, but this hurts a lot more inside,” he said.
The owner didn’t notice the graffiti until Monday afternoon because of the dense fog. The Lafayette Police Department confirmed detectives are investigating “criminal damage to property” at the location.
The face of the store was clean by Tuesday night, but the owner wishes this never would have happened and that whoever did this will show the same respect, Lux Hookah Lounge strives to show it’s customers.
According to the owner, “The way I was raised is that you treat what’s inside. You know, as a person, not as where you’re from or what religion you are, and this is very racial.”
In all his years in Lafayette, the owner says he’s never experienced anything he’d call a hate crime, and he hopes this is the last he sees of it, “If I didn’t talk about it and just clean it, who knows what’s going to happen next. I just feel broken inside. Upset.”
The owner said if there was a complaint about his products or staff, he could have taken it, made an adjustment, but an attack that targets race is different, and something that shouldn’t be tolerated no matter who the target is.
With events throughout the year focused on giving back to the community, he wants Lux Hookah Lounge to be seen as a place to come together when some seek division.
“People come here to have fun. They don’t come to be upset,” the owner explained. “I want to see unity”.