NEW ORLEANS—The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control isn't waiting until Fat Tuesday to start cracking down on sales. The ATC is already issuing citations to businesses that sell to minors, but so far, things are off to a good start. ATC agents from across the state have inspected businesses all along parade routes. Of the 888 businesses inspected, only 9 received violations.
These restaurants, bars and stores are spread all over the various parade routes from Orleans Parish to Jefferson and St. Bernard parish to St. Tammany. It's a pro-active program with the purpose of cutting back on underage drinking and other alcohol related problems during carnival.
ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert says alcohol enforcement is a joint effort. He's working with business owners and managers to see how the ATC can do a better job this Mardi Gras season. He's also reached out to the State Police Colonel and State Fire Marshal.
ATC agents will be working parade routes in uniforms and undercover. They'll be keeping a close eye out for underage drinking and illegal alcohol sales from vendors who don't have permits.
As for the cost of this amped-up enforcement, the ATC Commissioner says it's primarily paid for with a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The ATC has also re-worked agent schedules to minimize the cost to the state.