A strip club was among the top recipients in Baton Rouge of federal grants earmarked for struggling entertainment venues during the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the $8 million that came to the Baton Rouge area, The Penthouse Club, an adult entertainment venue, was awarded $1 million through Baton Rouge Sports Restaurant LLC at the strip club's Bennington Avenue address.
Its application was approved in recent months, records show, though the U.S. Small Business Administration rules for the program, known as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, specify that any "live performances of prurient sexual nature" are not eligible for the grant relief.
The program is support for operators of live music clubs, movie theaters, museums, performing arts organizations and other similar venues.
The local business asserts that the SBA was correct to award the company the funding.
"The Penthouse Club - Baton Rouge was eligible to apply for the SBA's Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and was informed that our application was approved, however, the grant has yet to be funded and we still await this much-needed relief," according to a statement from the business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration declined to comment on any individual award application.
The grant is a small slice of the overall grants awarded across Louisiana, of which there were more than $107 million across 126 organizations.
The Baton Rouge metro area, which includes a nine-parish region, saw $8.1 million in grants across 18 organizations. Only two other grants were larger than the one awarded the strip club — Baton Rouge's city-parish government, $2.9 million, and Celebrity Theatres of Baton Rouge, $1.4 million.
Separately, the New Orleans Penthouse Club, controlled by the same owners, was awarded $5 million through the SBA's Restaurant Revitalization Fund, records show. Any strip clubs, golf clubs, gambling establishments were not eligible for that program either, according to SBA documentation.