THIBODAUX — Lafourche Parish Council is considering whether later bar-closing hours on the weekend would provide an economic boost or a law enforcement problem.
The council will debate and vote later this month on a measure that would give Lafourche bars the option of staying open until 3 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Bars would still have to close at 2 a.m. Sundays through Fridays — the same time required throughout the week now.
The change would not apply to bars in the incorporated areas of the parish.
Councilman John Arnold, who introduced the proposed change, said the parish would benefit from extra tax collection and increased video poker royalties.
“That extra hour is going to help out each bar owner,” Arnold said. “Consider there are 20 to 25 bars in the parish ... they each have about five to 10 employees. They will benefit.”
Not everybody is convinced.
“I don’t know about it to be honest,” Councilman Daniel Lorraine said. “I’m going to listen to the public and see what they want.”
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said he is opposed to the change. “The existing law has functioned well for the 30 or so years it has been in place,” Webre said.
“To expand it further will create safety issues. Particularly with impaired drivers and such.”
Webre also said there will be a greater likelihood of alcohol fueling other crimes such as domestic violence.
There are no plans to change Thibodaux’s 2 a.m. bar-closing ordinance if the parish passes the change, said Ryan Perque, executive assistant to Mayor Tommy Eschete.
The council will vote on the issue Jan. 22.