Bar owners from across southwest Louisiana gathered at the Quarter Tavern in New Iberia Wednesday morning to discuss a potential class action suit to force Gov. John Bel Edwards to loosen restrictions on their businesses.
“We tried working with them,” said Ty Boudoin, owner of Quarter Tavern and organizer of the event. “They didn’t want to work with us.”
Boudoin referred to Edwards and his administration, some of whom met with the bar owners Friday in Baton Rouge. Dist. 48 Rep. BeauBeaullieu, who helped set up that meeting, said he was encouraged after the two groups got together.
“I thought it was a productive meeting,” Beaullieu said. “What will come of it, we will see. I wanted them to have their say. I was pleasantly surprised when they agreed to meet us.”
What happened afterward was that Edwards came out Tuesday with an extension of the current bar ban, keeping the current Phase Two restrictions in place until August at the earliest.
Consequently, the parking lot of Boudoin’s bar was full as the meeting prepared to start.
“We have owners from Terrebonne, Lafayette, Iberia,” Baudoin said. “We still have people driving up.”
Keith Hulin, who owns Emerald’s Billiards on Highway 182, said he was unhappy with the governor’s decision.
“I’ve been in this business for 10 years,” he said. “I was hoping to be able to turn my business over to my son. But I can’t do that if there isn’t a business left.”
The attorneys representing the group would not allow the media to attend and did not want to comment on the meeting.
Boudoin, however, said he was open to having any bar owners join the cause.
“Any bar owner in the state is welcome to join us,” Boudoin said. “I just want to thank Jeff Landry, Beau Beaullieu and Blake Miguez for standing behind us.”