Shreveport City Council votes down expanding open container law | #citycouncil

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As the City of Shreveport is preparing for the biggest party in town, the laws about drinking downtown goes before city council Tuesday.

A resolution went before the council that would expand the area where open containers are allowed in preparation for 50 Cent’s upcoming Humor and Harmony festival in August. However, it did not pass.

City council passed an open container ordinance for the Red River District earlier this year. Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor looked to expand the area to cover the Humor and Harmony festival along with Stageworks. She said she spoke with Police Chief Wayne, city attorney Marcus Edwards, and SPAR beforehand.

However, concerns from fellow council members about safety, a lack of precedence, and prior information before today’s meeting led to it being voted down in a five to two decision.

“I have a problem with who is going to serve these drinks, how old are these people going to be? Are we promoting them to be outside to drink? Who is going to clean up all the trash the next day? I don’t see this as being a good idea at all. As the representative of District B I’m going to ask the council to vote no on this and possible revisit this in two weeks with a possible different resolution,” said councilman Gary Brooks, District B.

“This whole piece of legislation has been discussed in its entirety because had it not been discussed in its entirety I would have never put it on the agenda. It was vetted. I spoke to Chief Wayne in reference to it and asked if there were any other additional concerns to this,” said councilwoman Tabatha Taylor, District A.

Questions were posed to Chief Smith about what is the difference between drinking at this event compared to others.

“Explain to me how some drinking is different. I don’t understand but what you were talking about yesterday has me confused because the way I see it, drinking is just drinking,” said councilman James Green, District F.

“I was not targeting this event as opposed to any other event,” Chief Smith said.

Smith told the council his department will, “handle it no matter what.” He’s had ongoing meetings about safety preparations for the festival.

“We, in our minds think about all the worst possibilities and that’s what we plan for,” Smith said.

SPAR Director Shelly Ragle also told the council that G-Unit is going to pay for the police presence and clean-up, and so far, 50 Cent has booked 715 hotel rooms, which she said “is quite a lot for the city.”

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