St. Landry

Oct 9, 2012 7:38 PM by Maddie Garrett

Violence Stemming From Nightclub Prompts Council to Act

The Opelousas City Council approved an introductory ordinance Tuesday night that would limit bar hours in the city. Concerns arose after a violent weekend where two people were shot, another man was hit and killed by a vehicle and a fight also broke out early Sunday morning. All three incidents have one common factor: The people involved were all patrons of Stallions in Opelousas that night.

Opelousas Police confirmed the pedestrian killed had been kicked out of the restaurant/nightclub and was walking across I-49,back to his hotel room, around 3:00am when he was hit. Police also said that the suspects in the shooting had just left Stallions, however it's unclear if the shooting was related to a fight that happened just 30 minutes before the shooting, at 4:30am.

All three incidents happened after 2:00am, and Alderman Blair Briggs said that's too late to be out drinking.

"It's really become a problem and it's a public safety issue," said Briggs.

Since January, roughly 65 complaints have been filed with Opelousas Police against Stallions restaurant and night club. Those reports range from drug activity, to fights and noise complaints.

"And this is just at the particular establishment. This is not down the road, this is not everything else that goes along with bringing in all these people from out of town and everywhere else to party all night till 5 and 6 o'clock in the morning," explained Blair.

From fights on the premises, to accidents when patrons leave, late night business hours keep police busy.

"We haven't compiled statistics yet to show an establishment shutting down at one particular time versus another. However, the chances are, percentages say that the longer you do stay open or in business, well the chances (increase) that extra curricular activity could happen around your establishment," said Sergent Jody White, Opelousas Police Public Information Officer.

Stallions is normally a restaurant, but on weekends it turns into "Club Stallion." Briggs said because of laws allowing Evangeline Downs to stay open and serve alcohol, Stallions has found a loophole in the system.

The loophole is in an ordinance that allows businesses to stay open and serve alcohol 24/7 as long as alcohol sales makes up less than 15% of total revenues. Stallions stays open until 4:00am Friday nights and 5:00am on Saturday nights and mainly functions as a bar. But the business charges hefty entrance fees those nights.

Blair wants to close the loophole by including cover charges in that 15%. He said casinos and Evangeline Downs wouldn't be affected because a vast majority of their revenues come from gambling. He wants to essentially limit bar activity after 2:00 am.

"From 2:00 o'clock to 6:00 o'clock in the morning they're (Stallions) a bar. Every other bar in Opelousas has to close at 2:00 o"clock and we just want to put everybody on the same playing field," said Briggs.

Briggs tried to pass a similar ordinance last January but didn't have enough votes.

KATC was unable to reach Stallions for comment Tuesday. Stallions is listed online as being open seven days a week, however no one was at the business Tuesday and no one answered the phone.

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