5 New Orleans strip clubs lock doors: can’t sell liquor

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 Bourbon Street-area strip clubs, bars’ alcohol permits suspended on drug, prostitution violations.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prostitution, drug sales and lewd or improper acts at five French Quarter strip clubs cost them their liquor and tobacco licenses Tuesday, said Troy Hebert, head of Louisiana’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Five Bourbon Street-area strip clubs and bars had their alcohol permits temporarily pulled after a month-long undercover investigation found drug and prostitution violations, state authorities announced Tuesday (Oct. 27).NEW ORLEANS –The world famous New Orleans French Quarter may have the reputation of being an adult playground, but according to Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert, that doesn’t mean anything goes on Bourbon Street. “You wanted drugs, you wanted marijuana, you wanted cocaine, you wanted sex, you wanted any of those things, and it was one-stop shopping at some of these places,” Hebert said. “This is not just about topless women walking around.

He said he suspended the licenses pending an administrative hearing at which the clubs can present their cases, but they could stay open without selling alcohol or tobacco. As three people left Lipstixx, a man who said he was the manager but would not give his name said any comment would have to come from corporate headquarters.

The ATC will hold hearings in the coming weeks that will allow the clubs’ owners to make their case for why their licenses should not be permanently revoked, Hebert said. There was a lot of touching going on, inappropriate touching.” For now these are administrative sanctions, but Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmondson said his detectives are now looking at possible criminal charges as well. “This doesn’t surprise me when I look at the locations,” Edmonson said. “A lot of complaints have come from citizens on this type of behavior at those locations, and this certainly gives us some credence as we move forward.” “It certainly sends a strong message to these businesses, and it sends a strong message to those that chose to do wrong or chose to do things that they’re not supposed to do on those premises,” he said. At Larry Flynt’s Hustler Barely Legal Club, on the same block of Bourbon Street as three of the closed clubs, scantily clad young women took turns chatting with tourists at the wide open door. Day manager Bret Esteves, a shirt under his knee-length white, orange and yellow tunic, said he just had one question: “Why would they wait till now to do this when they’ve known those places were like that for a long time?” Hebert said all three alleged activities occurred at each of the five clubs during a monthlong undercover investigation he called Operation Trick or Treat. “No pun intended,” he said.

In the seven months that State Police have been patrolling in the Quarter, he said, officers have seized 125 weapons off the streets and made 1,400 arrests — 533 of them for drugs with an estimated street value of $1.3 million. It is owned by Platinum Bourbon Inc. • The Mansion on Bourbon, 416 Bourbon St. on six counts of prostitution, two drug-related violations and five counts of lewd/improper acts. Hebert said the clubs have the right to ask the courts to issue a stay to block the revocations until the hearing on their license, but that is out of the ATC’s control.

Mike Edmonson said authorities are pursuing criminal charges against the five named venues and others, but the agency is still working to build those cases. “If something bad happens in those (clubs) and we have been sitting on this information, we’d be responsible,” Hebert explained. The investigation began the New Orleans Police Department’s 8th District, which includes the French Quarter, forwarded tips of violations to State Police.

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