NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans warned they would take action on any bars not complying with COVID regulations and so far, they’ve shut down at least seven.
Over the weekend, officers were forced to go through hurdles to shut down the large parties.
In one video, you see officers with the New Orleans Police Department approach the seemingly closed Red-Eye Grill in the Warehouse District. There is music booming on the other side of the door.
The doors of the bar were locked tight with a padlock.
Officers eventually find an entrance in the back and discover a packed bar filled with people not wearing masks.
“What if this place caught on fire?” one officer says to the other as the manager is asked to produce permits.
Police shut the bar down and forced everyone to leave.
“I got employees that got to eat,” the manager says.
At Cadi Corner on Cherry Street, a flashing neon “open” sign and a locked gate greeted officers at the entrance.
A manager met officers near the bar of The District on Tchoupitoulas nearly an hour after the sale of alcohol is supposed to end.
“Y’all got a manager?” the officer asks.
“Yeah, we’re shutting it down right now,” the manager responds.
“We’re not going to have a job next week, so we’re making sure people don’t lose their housing and food for their kids,” he tells police. “There’s a place down the street that does whatever they want, all the time. We’ve been following the rules every day, but one day we’re open until 11:40 and we’re getting all this. That’s pretty crazy.”
Last weekend, FOX 8 spoke with the owner Albert Bowes who says the bar was only in business for about 15 minutes before NOPD showed up.
“They came in and they were actually pretty cool about everything when talking to me. They said to cease operations,” says Bowes.
Bowes says the crowd wasn’t expected. A flood of people showed up minutes after officers shut down a bar a few blocks away, The District, for code violations.
“…within ten minutes there was this mad rush of people and I was like where did this come from?” says Bowes.
He says his staff immediately became overwhelmed.
Following that evening, the City described all the bar closures as serious safety and fire violations that would have caused the bars to be closed in a non-violent environment and calling the scene at Red-Eye “a death trap”.
The City’s safety inspectors, code officers and police will be out leading up to Mardi Gras investigating any complaints that come in and other non-compliant businesses.
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