“We are very disturbed,” state fire marshal investigating Grand Isle concert

Grand Isle party raises concerns about spread of COVID-19

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Dozens of people dance under a Grand Isle pavilion Saturday evening to the band Parish County Line, not following social distancing guidelines and with no masks in sight.

"This is extremely frustrating to me. It's frustrating," said Grand Isle Police Chief Laine Landry.

Landry says most of the group are tourists in town on what would have been Tarpon Rodeo but it is postponed due to the coronavirus.

"The fire marshal's office told us it's the responsibility of the band to maintain social distancing or whoever sponsored the event," he said.

Landry says an official with the state fire marshal’s office approved the event to move forward, preventing him from shutting it down.

However, the Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it did not approve that event. Browning says his office got complaints of the event before it started. He says someone went out to speak with the event organizers but couldn’t find them.

“We didn’t know who the organizers were. In speaking with the Sand Dollar Isle owners, they advised us that the next door property that belongs to the parish, there is a concert planed,” Browning said.

He says the official left information with the Sand Dollar Isle owners, Grand Isle police, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to give them a call if there are any issues.

“We are very disturbed with what we saw no matter where it’s at in the state of Louisiana,” Browning said.

“I don’t even know what ordinance or how to break it up,” Landry said.

Gatherings with more than 50 people are prohibited under Phase Two. Browning says once the investigation wraps up, the property owners are at risk of losing their licenses and could face misdemeanor charges.

As of Monday afternoon, the bar’s license was suspended while the Alcohol Tobacco Control investigates the incident.

“There shouldn’t be an event like this,” Landry said. “You know, allowed like this with the numbers climbing the way they are.”

He says he spent most of Sunday and Monday fielding calls from concerned residents and business owners.

“I really truly feel their frustration, I do. I cannot find anything where I can criminal charge anybody for violating this mandate at all.”

“It’s not fair to the vast majority of our businesses that are doing the right thing. Cause there’s a lot of right ways of doing things and we’re trying to advocating how to do it,” Browning said.

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