The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control quietly awarded Back Brusly Grocery its liquor license recently after the owner of the neighborhood store’s highly publicized battle with state and local officials for the right to sell alcohol.

Jessica Starns, executive counsel for ATC, said the store’s owner was issued a liquor license Jan. 8.

In October, the Brusly Town Council rejected the convenience store’s first request for a liquor license because ATC had also denied the store’s application, based on the ownership interest of former Police Chief Jamie Whaley, who has a criminal record.

Louisiana law prohibits convicted felons from obtaining liquor licenses. However, there is a provision that the prohibition applies only to owners with more than 5 percent interest.

ATC accused Whaley, who resigned from office in April 2014 after he was indicted on charges of malfeasance in office and theft, of lying about the ownership stake he shares in the store with his girlfriend, Tricia Michel.

After the initial application was denied, Michel submitted a second application to the state and town, removing Whaley’s name completely from the application. The couple’s attorney also filed an appeal asking the 18th Judicial District Court to overturn the ATC’s Oct. 30 denial of its application with the state.

Officials with the 18th Judicial District Court confirmed that the appeal request was dropped shortly after the store received its liquor license from the state. The Town Council had already approved Michel’s second application in November after receiving backlash from Whaley’s supporters.

“Everything was proper and in order to obtain the permit this time,” Starns said. “The new application met our qualifications.”

Starns said state law allows Whaley to sell alcohol as long as he gets a responsible vendor license.

“We will definitely be monitoring the store to make sure the owners are who they say they are and the store’s manager is who they say it is,” she added.

Coupee Arts Council readies annual performance series

The Arts Council of Pointe Coupee will open its ninth Performing Arts Series at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 with a vocal performance by Spencer Racca.

Racca’s performance, titled “An Evening with the Rat Pack,” will feature selections from the Rayne native’s recently recorded cover album of favorites from Frank Sinatra and some of his Rat Pack running partners.

Tickets for the show will be available at Roy’s Jewelers and The Therapy Center in New Roads, or they can be reserved by contacting Arts Council Director Gale Roy at (225) 718-1574.

Iberville Museum hosts annual meeting

The Iberville Museum will hold its 2016 annual membership meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

This year’s guest speaker is David Plater, author of “The Butlers of Iberville Parish.” Plater will discuss the history of the Butler family and their Bayou Goula area plantation.

A book signing will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public. The Iberville Museum Association board will also discuss upcoming events and projects.

Tickets on sale for WBR chamber banquet

Tickets are on sale now for the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 annual Membership Banquet.

Tickets for the Feb. 2 event are $50 each, and RSVPs are required by Monday.

The 2016 banquet, taking place at the Addis Community Center, will begin at 6 p.m. with a social and silent auction, with dinner to follow at 7 p.m.

The event will feature the installation of the chamber’s officers and board of directors, as well as the presentation of the 2015 Business of the Year Awards.

Anyone interested in attending can call (225) 383-3140 or email

Submit news to Terry Jones at (225) 326-6627 or