Government & Politics
 

Absent officers stall hearing on 7th Ward bar

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

In a move to address repeated neighborhood complaints about two neighborhood bars, city officials held a second administrative hearing Tuesday, a month after negotiating an agreement with the first place, The Duck Off Bar.

That decision allowed the owners to continue operating a business, but as a restaurant and not a bar.

A hearing on The New Edition bar will continue next month.

The other bar, The New Edition the 2100 block of A.P. Tureaud Avenue, was also on the September Alcoholic Beverage Control Board meeting.

At that time, the city’s allegations against the bar included “obscene, lewd, sexually indecent, immoral or improper conduct.” In 2008 Louis Berthalotte was fatally shot at the bar.

At the September meeting, six New Orleans police officers were present to testify, but another four were absent. Dan McNamara of the City Attorney’s Office asked that the case be continued until October.

It appears that the same issue plagued McNamara today, with many of the subpoenaed officers absent.

The officers who were called to testify were vague when questioned by McNamara.

As he attempted to make the case that the bar had a long history of violence outside, and asked the officers to speak to those incidents one by one, the officers spoke in hushed tones about various times they were called out to the bar. None of them seemed willing to testify to any specific incidents.

McNamara asked that the hearing be postponed until the other NOPD officers could comply with the subpoena.

When asked by board member Rocky Seydel why they were absent, McNamara said he didn’t know.

The lawyers did agree that the testimony of neighbors could be heard today.

Joanne Aguilar who lives blocks away said The New Edition was never a problem because “they have security.”

McNamara asked Aguilar if she knows who is providing the security. She said she did not.

Aguilar said she was there representing a newly formed community organization on A.P. Tureaud.

McNamara also asked Aguilar if she was aware that members of the same organization had met with Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell to lodge complaints about the bar.

Aguilar said she was not aware of this.

Her brother, Eugene Aguilar, testified that the bar was not a problem in the neighborhood. Under questioning by McNamara, Aguilar admitted to being arrested for marijuana and crack cocaine possession.

The rest of The New Edition case was delayed until the Nov. 15 meeting.

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