A trail ride party on a property in Erwinville sparked the Parish Council to adopt an emergency ordinance requiring a permit for any event with more than 200 people. The Louisiana Zydeco Jamboree hosted by The Louisiana Trail Company brought approximately 2,000 people to a 60-acre property on Section Road on Oct. 2 and 3, according to local authorities. Event organizers disagree with that attendance estimate.
The emergency change in the ordinance lowers the threshold for a permit requirement from 2,500 people in attendance to 200. The Parish Council may impose conditions for issuing permits such as providing police protection, adequate water, food concessions, sanitation and medical facilities, adequate parking, hours of operation, lumination, overnight camping facilities and require a bond for the licensee.
The amended ordinance is in effect for 30 days and may be renewed for another 30 days by the Parish Council when it expires. In the meantime, the parish administration will work to bring a new ordinance to the council for consideration. The threshold could stay at 200 but have exceptions like high school football games and religious events.
Sheriff Mike Cazes thanked the council for “putting teeth” in the ordinance.
“This has been an issue in my side for years,” he said.
It can be difficult for the Sheriff’s Office to prove when 2,500 people are in attendance at an event. The lower threshold makes it easier to cite event organizers and property owners hosting large gatherings without a permit.
Clovis Banks, who currently leases the property and rented it to the Louisiana Trail Company for the event, told the council he has rented his property for these events for years, but this was by far the largest. Cars parked on both sides of Section Road about half a mile in each direction, stretching to McLin Road, authorities said.
“I’m not going to lie about anything, it was out of hand,” Banks said.
Authorities reported several shots fired, an alleged kidnapping of a teenage girl, two vehicle accidents involving pedestrians and noise complaints within a one-mile radius of the event.
“This is a public safety issue,” Detective Chris Bouquet told the council.
No criminal charges are pending at this time, WBRSO media liaison Zach Simmers said.
The council agreed that the intent is not to stop trail ride events, but to require permits to ensure adequate facilities and parking for attendees.
“We’re not trying to shut you down, we’re trying to make this event safe for the people at the event and the people in the parish,” Councilman Alan Crowe, who lives near the property, said.