The New Orleans City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the landmark decision to ban smoking in bars and casinos in a city known for equal parts indulgence and tourism.
Could Baton Rouge be next? Councilman John Delgado says maybe.
Delgado, who owns three bars himself, said he is considering proposing a smoke ban in the capital city.
He said he agrees with the public health concerns voiced by anti-smoking advocates, noting that bartenders or casino workers are exposed to hours and hours of second-hand smoke.
Delgado said he’ll need to talk to stakeholders from restaurants, bars and casinos about the financial impacts before proposing a ban. But he said it didn’t appear to have a detrimental financial impact when Baton Rouge banned smoking in restaurants years ago.
He personally doesn’t allow smoking in his three downtown bars, Huey’s, the Drafthouse and Brickyard South, because he said he sees smoky bars as a deterrent for customerss.
“If New Orleans has a much bigger bar culture and they’re doing it there, why wouldn’t we do it here,” he said. “Do we not care about our employees as much as the people in New Orleans do?”
Committee ponders attorney qualifications
Baton Rouge’s next parish attorney will need 10 years of experience as an attorney, one year of experience supervising attorneys, and licenses to practice in the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Middle District and all state courts.
Those on the committee formed to find a new parish attorney decided on the guidelines at a meeting this week.
The future parish attorney will need to be a full-time city worker as opposed to a technically retired employee or someone who has another practice on the side.
Some of the committee members expressed reservations that the top salary of $105,000 is not enough to attract a parish attorney who will not have a practice on the side.
“We don’t want someone advising us that doesn’t have their mind completely on us,” said Trae Welch, Metro councilman and committee member.
Whoever is chosen for the job will need seven Metro Council votes to confirm his or her official hire.
Delay in road overlay bid may not be bad
A 10-minute email delay set Livingston Parish’s road overlay bid process back by a few weeks.
But Parish President Layton Ricks said it actually worked in the parish’s favor because it gave officials time to find a few more tweaks to overlay specifications that will save the parish money.
An addendum to the parish’s bid packet was emailed to contractors at 2:10 p.m. Jan. 14, six calendar days ahead of the scheduled bid opening at 2 p.m. Jan. 20. But because of the weekend and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the new paperwork was 10 minutes too late to stay outside the 72-hour window required under state law.
That meant bid opening had to be pushed back to Tuesday, Jan. 27. And instead of the Parish Council approving the low bid Thursday night, the vote won’t come until the council’s next meeting on Feb. 12, Chairman Chance Parent said Friday.
Gasper Chifici, Burk-Kleinpeter Inc.’s new point-man on the project, said he has been riding the parish’s roads to familiarize himself with the territory. Jim Delaune, the engineer who had been working with the parish on the overlay program, is no longer at BKI.
BREC pitches more baseball at park
The Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission is gearing up for spring in the most American way possible: more baseball.
The BREC Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to approve two agreements that will allow Extra Innings Baseball Academy LLC and Pitch by Pitch Baseball Academy LLC to use its Airline Highway Park for coaching, camps, games and more this spring.
Former major league baseball player David Dellucci, a Catholic High graduate who runs Extra Innings, told the board his goal is to bring baseball back to popularity.
While other sports like football and basketball often limit athletes based on size, Dellucci said, baseball welcomes most with open arms.
Bill Dailey, former LSU baseball assistant coach, runs Pitch by Pitch and said he and Dellucci want to bring more communities together through baseball. He said he wants kids to know more than just the game’s competitive aspect.
“We try to make it a little more like backyard baseball and let the kids run the game,” Dailey said.
Advocate staff writers Rebekah Allen, Andrea Gallo and Heidi Kinchen contributed to this article.