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Cover-Up: Clothes No Longer Optional at The Country Club

By Ashley Rouen

NOLA’s favorite (and only) clothing optional pool will require its patrons to wear proper swim attire. Carefree, nudie days and nights swimming at the Bywater’s Country Club are over after complaints from neighbors and a rape allegation. Though local customers have expressed their continued support of the venue via Facebook the new rules were effective Tuesday (10.21). 


The establishment situated on Louisa Street between Chartres Street and Royal Street features “gay-friendly dining & a lively pool”. It’s a unique and special place that has gained more exposure since Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Solange took a dip there this past summer. While it offers a pleasant poolside bar and lounge chairs, including a hot tub surrounded by a Palm tree grove, the reason for the abrupt change in their clothing optional standard is not so casual. 


The Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABO) sought to strip the Country Club of its liquor license after 14 neighbors signed statements asking the ABO to revoke their liquor license. According to an Oct 21 post on their Facebook Page, which has garnered 136 comments so far, the Country Club came to an agreement with the regulatory board to hold onto their license, but require swimmers and tanners to put something on.


“Today, the Country Club settled the pending action with the ABO, the City of New Orleans liquor licensing agency. We will post more details about the policy changes, but at this point we want to inform our guests as soon as possible that, effective immediately, the Club has discontinued its clothing optional policy. 


The destination apologized for any inconvenience and asked people to help spread the word about the new rules. 


The City Attorney’s Office cited the club for “Maintaining or Creating a Public Nuisance” and “Permitting any disturbance of the peace or obscene, lewd, sexually indecent, immoral or improper conduct on the licensed premises”. Improper conduct is specified in Section 10-157 of the New Orleans City Code as actions, which violate penal provisions of the code.  


John Guarnieri, Chairman of the Bywater Neighborhood Association, defended the business to WWL, saying, “They were one of the first establishments open in the neighborhood and have always been very cooperative. We hold a lot of neighborhood events at the Country Club and we’ve never heard of any complaints.”


WWLTV got the scoop on a New Orleans woman, identified as Maria Treme, who was sexually assaulted at the Country Club on July 1. She alleges that somebody slipped her a “rufie" causing her to blackout, after which she had sex with three different men, though it is unclear who the perpetrator that drugged her is. The woman also reported that her keys and car were stolen. While the Country Club usually has tight security, she argues that measures were not taken to protect her safety.  


In her interview with WWL, Treme stated: 


"I had no problem with the nudity; I was naked, I wanted to be naked, and a sicko took that away from me. My issue was with the security doing their jobs and watching out for the patrons, which was not happening obviously. Making it about the nudity is kind of like blaming the victim for how she dresses; it feeds into this victim-blaming mentality that has to stop."


NoDef’s calls to the Mayor’s Office as well as gthe ABO were not returned.

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