Downtown bar ban may be lifted by LCG

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- New bars may be allowed to open in downtown Lafayette come 2018.

In 2003, city officials placed a limit on the number of bars allowed to open downtown. It was an attempt keep out a Bourbon Street-type atmosphere. Now LCG may be lifting that ban.

“I think that this is really going to be a very good thing for Lafayette,” says Berry Kemp is the owner of Artmosphere Bistro on Johnston street.

Berry is one of the bar owners that wants to see the ban lifted. She says, “At this point, it’s done is restricted all the girls downtown and all of the competition downtown so that we tend to have kind of the same players over and over again.”

Geoff Dyer, CEO of Downtown Development Authority says, “The negative effects of the moratorium is been that it reduces the ability for bars to compete. You have a certain amount of licenses that are out there so they don’t necessarily have to compete. A lot of businesses aren’t necessarily improving. We are seeing a lot of revolving doors and those are things that are not really good for the nightlife. And that’s because of the moratorium.”

The moratorium was set downtown when an influx of bars began to open after the Jefferson Street renovations.

Bar owners and workers say the ban is now dated and has hurt downtown.

“The more businesses we have over here the less empty space we have on Jefferson Street overall and you know as the story goes with cities, when you have a bunch of empty buildings you know just a bunch of shady characters move in,” says William Gannon, a bartender at The Wurst Biergarten Downtown.

Dyer says they have been working to ensure that if the ban is lifted, things like security won’t be an issue.

A final decision will be made on Jan 9.

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