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Mayor Mitch Landrieu Addresses Son's DWI, Alcohol Enforcement
CBD -- As we learned in driver's ed, licenses are a privelege, not a right. That maxim was on display on two fronts at a Tuesday morning press conference. Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed his son Benjamin's early morning DWI, and then announced a new initiative designed to pressed bars to follow all the restrictions associated with their liquor licences, and in turn curb violence. Of course, Da Mayor began the conference by addressing the elephant in the room.
After clarifying that 19-year-old Benjamin Landrieu was charged with a DWI as well as reckless operation of a vehicle after an early-morning accident in the university area, Landrieu addressed the severity of his son’s offense. “I love my son, but bad decisions have bad consequences, there will be legal consequences as well as family consequences,” Landrieu said.
Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert began his portion of the press conference by extending well wishes to the Landrieu family. “My heart and prayers go out to you and your family,” Hebert said.
“We all know that alcohol is just a part of our culture, not only in New Orleans but in Louisiana. We just want to make sure that it’s consumed responsibly. An alcohol permit is not a right, it’s a privilege to have an alcohol permit,” Hebert said.
According to the officials, Alcohol and Tobacco Control along with the NOPD is stepping up enforcement to be sure that the 1200 establishments with liquor licenses in the city are taking their privilege seriously and following the rules. According to Landrieu, prosecutions for ABO violations have risen from 32 in 2009 to 400 in January of 2011. Landrieu also said that they’ve hired several full time ATC agents and ten reserve agents. The new hires will be taken on as an addition to the twelve existing agents in the city.
Not just designed to suss out underage drinking in Uptown bars, the increased ABO enforcement is tied to the city’s “Nola for Life” campaign, the comprehensive murder rate reduction strategy. According to Hebert, drinking establishments in certain areas are oftentimes the source of neighborhood crime. Hebert advocates emergency suspensions for bars in gross violations of the rules since “the wheels of justice turn so slow."
” The commissioner said that once the ATC suspended the ABO for a bar in the Hollygrove area that was committing multiple violations, the crime rate in the immediate area went down 75 percent.
Landrieu aims to “change culture of violence to a culture of peace,” through the Nola for Life Campaign in conjunction with ABO violation enforcement.
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