Popular college bars are targeted by NOPD
Hillel's Kitchen offers organic, kosher and seasonal food at university prices. Students from both Tulane and Loyola can use the dining area in the Hillel building to study and grab a quick meal. COURTESY OF HILLEL'S KITCHEN
The New Orleans Police Department has made a concerted effort to control underage drinking at bars near Tulane University and Loyola's campuses.
On Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, NOPD gave 10 underage drinking citations to patrons at two of the popular bars near both campuses, The Boot Bar and Grill and The Palms Bar and Grill.
In their attempts to curb such behaviors, NOPD has been penalizing those caught violating the legal drinking age. Students that are caught drinking under the age of 21 can receive either a minor-in-possession of alcohol charge or can be subject to arrest.
Captain Roger Pinac of the Loyola University Police Department said that they are aware that NOPD is starting to target bars around campus.
He said he believes that the arrests are NOPD's attempts to get ahead of the game and help students before they get hurt. However, Pinac said that these efforts are likely in vain.
"Underage drinking is like sweeping water up a hill. Kids will start going to one bar, police will start showing up, and then they'll start going to another place," Pinac said.
Anna Edwards, general studies freshman, and Lauren Sherar, accounting freshman, said that the convenience factor of staying near campus is what continuously brings Tulane and Loyola students to bars like The Boot and The Palms.
Edwards said that currently it is relatively easy for patrons to get around the legal drinking age at both bars.
"They always serve alcohol to underage drinkers. They check your ID at the door. If it scans, they'll let you in," Edwards said.
Sherar said underage males have more trouble getting served alcohol than underage females.
"It's pretty easy for girls to get past the bouncers with fake IDs," Sherar said.
However, an anonymous representative of The Boot said the bar always holds to its policy of not serving underage drinkers.
"Bartenders are trained not to serve people without a wrist band," the representative said.
The representative also said that the doormen at The Boot are specially trained to identify fake IDs, and said that uptown college bars are targeted by police in numbers disproportionate to other bars around the city.
"We feel it's some sort of selective enforcement. We get hit a couple times a week. They come in on their off hours undercover," the representative said.
The source said that it is in The Boot's best interest to continue its policy against serving minors alcohol in order to maintain the integrity of the establishment.
Pinac said the Loyola University Police Department takes underage drinking very seriously. He said that the main focus is on getting students help before their drinking develops into a problem.
"We lose a lot of students. If that's your goal, why bother with going to school?" Pinac said. "From my experience, getting a good education and doing the work that's required to get through school and partying, they just don't go together."
Lauren Stroh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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