West Baton Rouge Parish will settle their legal dispute with gentlemen’s club Crazy Horse Cabaret, per a 5 to 3 vote of the parish council Thursday, May 23, allowing Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot to sign whatever documents necessary.
Tuesday, May 28, Berthelot signed a “Mutual Agreement of Compromise and Settlement,” which stipulates that West Baton Rouge will pay Crazy Horse Cabaret $70,000 and the court will dismiss all claims, “to avoid expense in burdensome, protracted and costly litigation.”
The property of Crazy Horse Cabaret, at 2901 I-10 Frontage Road in Port Allen, La., will also be “free from enforcement of use restrictions” but those use restrictions do not include “the authority of WBR to regulate the sale of alcohol.”
Crazy Horse Cabaret officials have yet to sign the agreement.
After an ordinance went into effect Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012 limiting the sale of alcohol to 10 p.m. on Sundays, Crazy Horse Cabaret filed suit against the parish and on Feb. 7 of this year won a preliminary injunction to continue serving alcohol past 10 p.m. on Sundays.
The parish was in the process of appealing that injunction this year and the council frequently met in executive sessions for the case, sessions which are closed to the press and public. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Crazy Horse Cabaret declined to comment.
In the decisive action to settle following Thursday, May 23’s executive session, council members Charlene Gordon, Barry Hugghins, Ricky Loupe, Edward Robertson and Randal Mouch voted in favor of the agreement.
Phil Porto, Gary Spillman and Chris “Fish” Kershaw voted in opposition. Council woman Naomi Fair was absent for the vote.
Spillman, also the council Chairman, has long been an advocate of legislation in the parish limiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
In May 2011, when the council first voted on the Sunday closing ordinance, he said, “Let’s be a leader one time. Let this parish be a leader one time and stand up and say, you know what, it ain’t but three hours that we’re shutting you down from selling alcohol. I don’t think that’s going to hurt that many people.”
Crazy Horse Cabaret Spokesperson Timothy Spratt said last year that while West Baton Rouge Parish officials were calling themselves leaders, East Baton Rouge Parish officials across the Mississippi River scaled back their blue laws.
Berthelot is also continuing to seek funding for an LA 1/LA 415 connector. He hopes to secure a private investor, as the parish is limited on funding for the project, estimated to cost between $75 million and $130 million.
In an effort to relieve traffic on LA 1, which sees approximately 45,000 motorists across the Intracoastal Waterway per day, Berthelot said the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has begun widening the turn lane from LA 1 to Wal-Mart in Port Allen.
“They quickly recognized that we have a problem,” he said.
Parish Planner Kevin Durbin also introduced a “West Baton Rouge Parish Alternative Transportation Plan” May 23, which details a plan for multi-use trails in the parish and an explanation of the environmental benefits, economic benefits and health benefits of alternative transportation.
The plan will go before a public hearing at the next parish council meeting, June 13.