Downtown drinkers may yet enjoy their booze in plastic cups while strolling down the sidewalk.
City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin has proposed repealing the controversial 2010 ban on go-cups and other open alcoholic containers in downtown Lafayette.
The ban barely passed with a 5-4 vote, and now one of the supporters five years ago, Councilman Jay Castille, said he might change his earlier stance.
The councilman said he is leaning toward supporting a ban on smoking in bars proposed by Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux and believes it might be only fair to allow exiled smokers to take their drinks with them if they go outside to light up.
“They play hand-in-hand,” said Castille, whose vote could make or break the repeal of the go-cup ban.
The repeal of the go-cup ban and the proposed ban on smoking in bars are both scheduled to be introduced at Tuesday’s council meeting and will be up for a final vote May 19.
The Lafayette Police Department and several downtown business owners supported the go-cup ban in 2010, arguing the measure would reduce litter and cut down on the big crowds that sometimes spill out of the bars and clog Jefferson Street.
A diverse group of opponents, including college students and established downtown lawyers, decried the ban as a strike at the laissez-faire culture of south Louisiana.
The issue even spawned its own Facebook page: “Save the downtown go cup.”
Shelvin, who represents the downtown area and was a vocal critic of the 2010 ban, could not be reached for comment Friday about his proposed repeal.
City-Parish President Joey Durel said Friday he was not aware of Shelvin’s measure but didn’t realize there was any renewed opposition to the go-cup ban.
The Downtown Development Authority supported the ban in 2010, but DDA CEO Nathan Norris, who was not with the agency at the time, said it was too early to comment on a possible repeal.
“The DDA has not discussed the go-cup ban, and the DDA would not have an official position on it until it has the opportunity to meet and discuss it,” Norris said. “The earliest that we could do that is after the Tuesday introduction of the ordinance.”
The 2010 ban also applies to the entertainment districts on McKinley Street and in the Simcoe-Surrey Street area, but the ban had less of an impact in those areas because it applies only to public property, like downtown sidewalks, and most of the bars outside of downtown are surrounded by private property.
The open-container ban does not apply during special events, such as Downtown Alive, Mardi Gras and Festival International.
Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter, rbb100.