JP Council votes to sanction businesses after crackdown on underage drinking

JP Council votes to sanction businesses after crackdown on underage drinking

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - It is one of the biggest sweeps against underage drinking many can remember as the Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday voted to punish more than 60 restaurants, bars and grocery stores after a big sting.

In one Metairie Road shopping strip, two restaurants will have to stop serving alcohol next month. One can continue.

"I believe they all came in at the same time," said Sarah Gomez with Mark Twain Pizza. She remembers the day the underage and undercover Jefferson Parish officer came in to try to buy liquor, and they were ready.

"We saw the officer and had a feeling, but we always card everybody." Gomez said.

A few doors down at Oscar's and Chateau du Lac, they weren't so lucky.

"I was blown away. Our customers aren't 20 years old," said owner Paige Saleun.

She says she had a new bartender who has since been fired.

"He didn't ask, he was brand new," Saleun said.

They were certainly not alone. Everyone from Circle K to  Applebee's was also busted and now faces a loss of liquor privileges for up to two weeks.

"What I'd like to do is defer this to a later date.Restaurants are hurting," said Applebee's Michael Pettus.

The original liquor prohibition called for a two-week suspension of bar service, but parish officials worked out a way to limit suspensions to one week.

"We will have the department come in and do the course at the restaurant," said Saleun, referring to new training.

The sheriff says more crackdowns to come.

"Underage drinking is not going to be tolerated. The physiological effects to young kids is significant," said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

Chateau du Lac plans to make the most of their liquor ban, when it goes into effect Labor Day week.

"We gonna do flavored teas and fake alcohol, with the little umbrella - a virgin," said chef Jacques Saleun.

They say they have reinforced training in order to avoid more repercussions in the future.

While the council voted to sanction 62 Metairie establishments, there are more than 300 that have been sanctioned recently across Jefferson Parish for selling alcohol to minors.

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