Maurice Police Chief Warren Rost would love to see the bars in Maurice close at 2 a.m. instead of 3 a.m. However, what he wants is not always what he gets.
The decision to change the bar closing ordinance from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. is not decided by Rost. That decision is decided by three Maurice aldermen: Phyllis Johnson, Gary Villien and Darin Desormeax.
The Maurice Aldermen had a monthly meeting Wednesday night and there was no talk about changing the bar closing ordinance. While there was no talk at this meeting, the issue is not expected to go away.
For starters, long-time Maurice Police Chief Warren Rost is concerned about what may happen to the Village if and when the police jury changes the rural bar closing ordinance to 2 a.m. Today it is 4 a.m. By the end of the month it is expected to be 2 a.m. if it is approved by the jurors.
If the jurors did change the closing ordinance to 2 a.m. for rural bars, Maurice will have the latest closing bars on a Saturday night. With Maurice bars closing at 3 a.m., Rost fears the worst.
He said not only will the Village get the bar-closing Lafayette crowd; now he is worried bar drinkers from south Vermilion Parish will drive to Maurice for a beer or two.
“If the bars close at 2 near
Kaplan, I am worried they will leave early and come to Maurice and drink,” said Rost.
Rost said with only two deputies on patrol throughout the night, having extra traffic in the Village will make it rough on his men.
“We have to patrol the entire community and not just the bars,” said Rost. “We are about to enlarge the city limits by a few more square miles, which is OK. But that means we will have more traffic, which is going to make it more difficult to patrol.”
Rost told the police jurors at their recent meeting that he will do everything in his power to try to encourage bar owners to close at 2 a.m. “It is time to do something,” Rost said.
Matthew Trahan, owner of Maurice’s City Bar, said he is tired of bars being blamed for auto accidents where the driver or the passenger had been drinking at a certain bar before the accident.
“Why do we have laws?” Trahan said Wednesday in a phone interview while he and his family were on vacation in Florida. “When is the adult who drinks and drives going to be held liable for his or her actions? Why is always the bar?”
He compared it to a person causing an accident who was texting while driving. No one wants to shut down the place where he purchased the cell phone, he added.
Trahan said over the last year most of his business from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. is people returning from Lafayette Parish and driving into Vermilion Parish to go home. City Bar is getting fewer and fewer people coming from Lafayette to Maurice for one hour, Trahan said.
He also added he does not expect a large number of vehicles coming from south Vermilion to Maurice when those bars close at 2 a.m. Trahan said if the police do have a problem with more traffic coming from south Vermilion, then he is all for closing the Maurice bars at 2 a.m. Until there is a problem, the bar closing ordinance should stay at 3 a.m., Trahan said.
The 3 a.m. bar closing ordinance is expected to remain in place at least for another month, or until the next aldermen meeting in Maurice.