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St. Martin Parish judge temporarily blocks enforcement of governor's restrictions on bars

Posted at 5:32 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-04 16:56:56-05

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. —
UPDATE 12/28: A pre-trial hearing was held on Monday, Dec. 28 to hear arguments regarding the preliminary injunction in this case and the judge ruled against Red's Levee Bar and removed the injunction.

KATC reached out to the St. Martin Parish Clerk of Court that said the judge didn't rule on anything else regarding the protective order.

However, the case was not dismissed and is pending another court date for the next hearing.

The main plaintiff in the case, Liz Breaux, who owns Red's Levee Bar, made a statement on the ruling:

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ORIGINAL STORY: A St. Martin Parish judge has moved to temporarily block the enforcement of Gov. John Bel Edwards' restrictions on bar operations Wednesday after a lawyer representing a Catahoula bar filed a lawsuit against them.

"I never knew what I could do in my own building, so I decided to file an injunction" Red's Levee Bar owner Liz Breaux said.

The order from 16th Judicial District Judge Anthony Thibodeaux granted a request to temporarily block enforcement of the restrictions against Red’s Levee Bar in Catahoula until a hearing slated for Dec. 28.

The order comes after a lawyer representing the bar, Jeff Wittenbrink, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the bar after an enforcement action by the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

"The TRO says the ATC can no longer suspend her license. They have to refrain from enforcement of the governors orders until we have a hearing" Wittenbrink said.

According to court records, the ATC investigated a complaint against the business on Dec. 3 and found the bar was serving six people inside the bar “without social distancing and not wearing a mask."

"I have a sign on the door, enter at your own risk. Im not responsible for any kind of sickness. Covid, hang over. The flu. It's up to them" Breaux said.

The lawsuit states that Edwards' latest emergency proclamation, which is in effect until Dec. 23 and closes indoor consumption at most bars across the state, is "without effect having been terminated" by a petition filed by the Louisiana House of Representatives on Oct. 23.

That petition sought to terminate the governor's public health emergency and was ruled unconstitutional on Nov. 12 by 19th Judicial District Judge William Morvant, which Attorney General Jeff Landry said he would appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The lawsuit states the governor's emergency orders and coronavirus restrictions, including the mask mandate, are not in effect while that case is under appeal.

The story was first broken by our media partners at the Advocate, which you can read here.

Red's Levee bar was opened in 1952 By Breaux's parents.

"I know that if my parents were alive, they would want to see their business survive" Breaux said.

You can read the full court order below:

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