Panic for Port Allen bar owners after EBR blue laws repealed

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POSTED: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 11:37pm

UPDATED: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 11:53pm

Bar owners in East Baton Rouge Parish celebrated when the Metro Council repealed the blue law last month. But that decision is having an equally negative impact across the river.

Bar owners in Port Allen say that without help from their own government, they won't survive the end of the month.

"All of my customers come from mostly from across the river, and we was doing very good on Sunday, up until last Sunday," said Manuel Perkins, Sr., owner of The New Road Runner. "So last Sunday revenue dropped off about halfway."

"Matter of fact, last Sunday, I took a ride around all the places in Port Allen, and it was just like a ghost town here," said Wilson Battley, Jr., a co-owner of Ryderz Sports Bar.

Bars in Port Allen have to close at 10 p.m. on Sundays. Battley and Perkins went to the Port Allen City Council Wednesday night asking to stay open until midnight, just like in Baton Rouge, but they were told a special election is required to change the law.

"They said they gotta go back to the voters, to the people, and it'll be April before they put it back on the board or something else like that," Perkins said.

"The odds are great for them calling for one," Battley said, "but the odds are even greater that we won't be around to see it. We cannot survive six months."

Battley said Ryderz would lose more than $60,000 a year if Port Allen does not step in. He also thinks they are not working their hardest to solve this problem.

"When you figure out that the taxes that these clubs pay to the city, there's gotta be something they can do," he said.

He and Perkins both stated that the way things are going, they will not close at 10 p.m., they will close permanently.

"If it doesn't move fast," Perkins said, "I can't see how I can stay."

Allowing bars to stay open two hours later would have a great impact during football season. Games often do not end before 10 p.m., so lots of people choose to stay home rather than go out and watch part of a game.

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