MC Council revokes oyster bar's liquor license

By: GEOFFREY STOUTE

MORGAN CITY — The Morgan City Council revoked the license for LeBoeuf’s Oyster Bar after only a little more than a year in operation.

The council unanimously agreed Tuesday in a 4-0 vote (Councilman Luke Manfre was absent) to revoke the license of the establishment at 500 Front St., owned by James “Jimmy” LeBoeuf.

The action was taken after he was cited earlier this year by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control for violation of unfair trade practices because he didn’t buy his alcohol from an authorized wholesaler; and during a follow-up visit, a violation of underage sale of alcohol was observed.

This is the second time this year LeBoeuf has had to appear before the council for a violation of liquor laws.

At its April meeting, the council suspended LeBoeuf’s license at the facility for 30 days after reports of alleged underage drinking that had occurred at the bar during the previous two months that were documented by ATC and the Morgan City Police Department, respectively.

An incident also was reported in which someone suffered a cut — after they left the premises — from a fight that originated at the oyster bar and a report was filed documenting a distribution of marijuana charge after the narcotic was found on a patron.

LeBoeuf’s daughter, Cheri O’Brien, denied at the April meeting that the alcohol was bought from the facility. She said the underage drinking incidents must have been instances where alcohol was brought into the facility after it was purchased at another location.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the facility’s license was revoked a little more than a year after it opened in mid-October 2010.

As per city ordinance, the city was required to revoke the license because it was a second violation of the city’s liquor ordinance.

In a year, he can reapply for a permit.

During Tuesday’s meeting, LeBoeuf was given the opportunity to appeal his case.

After he was cited for the unfair trade practices for purchasing the alcohol locally from Cannatas instead of through an authorized wholesaler, during a follow-up visit, the ATC reported a citation on Oct. 6 for the sale of alcohol to a person under age 21.

LeBoeuf didn’t deny that charge, saying his employee miscalculated the age of the patron by one year.

He said during his time before the council that he has paid the ATC fine and obeyed their orders and was told it wouldn’t be on his record.

“But anyway, y’all do what y’all want to do,” LeBoeuf told the council.

He said he still questioned the first citation he got earlier this year because he said he never had any citation of fines but was given the suspension.

Before the council unanimously agreed to the revocation, Tamporello told LeBoeuf, “Just sell your oysters (and) do a good job at that.”

LeBoeuf responded, “I thank everyone for coming to get oysters.”

The license will be revoked by mid-January.

He noted that in 20 years at his other business, Table Five Bar, he has never had any violations.

Based on LeBoeuf’s comments when he originally applied for the liquor license, it was understood that it was supposed to be a positive addition to a historic part of Morgan City that would offer patrons the opportunity to eat oysters.

“What’s evolved, of course, is a nightclub,” Matte said in April.

Instead, it wasn’t even classified as a restaurant by the ATC, but a lounge, Morgan City police said.

Because it is a lounge, state law requires anyone ages 18 to 20 who enter the premises only do so with their parent or legal guardian.

The law is different for businesses classified as restaurants, who serve alcohol, because patrons can enter if they are under 21 without a relative because it is a place to eat.

LeBoeuf countered in April that he had both a bar and a grill and that only on Friday nights at around 10 p.m., he tried to offer something for those interested in nightlife an opportunity to stay here instead of going to Houma or Thibodaux.

At the April meeting, LeBoeuf said sales were split between oysters and alcohol, but he didn’t give those numbers.

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