Karma, state reach agreement

by Walter Pierce

The downtown Lafayette nightclub facing a possible revocation of its liquor permit has reached an accord with the state and will remain in business.

Karma on a typical Saturday night

The downtown Lafayette nightclub facing a possible revocation of its liquor permit has reached an accord with the state Alcohol and Tobacco Control office and will remain in business, according to a press release issued Wednesday by ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert's office.

Karma Night Club was the subject of an ATC in Lafayette on Sept. 23 during which numerous members of the community including law enforcement, the Downtown Development Authority and downtown merchants urged the state agency to rescind the mega club's permit to sell alcohol, seeing that as the most direct means of closing the club down. The club, which has a capacity of more than 1,200, has been the source of numerous complaints about unruly patron behavior by members of the downtown community.

Under the terms of the agreement with ATC that will allow it to stay in business, Karma has agreed to the following terms, according to that ATC press release:

Karma will implement a No Smoking policy on a four month trial basis.

All persons are prohibited from using controlled dangerous substances, such as marijuana, in the Club and a NO Drug Use policy will be provided to all employees and security personnel.

Drinks will be served in plastic cups in lieu of glass bottles.

Video surveillance cameras will be posted both inside and outside the Club.

A "No Re-Entry" policy will be implemented.

ID scanners will be utilized by security personnel working the door and other reasonable measures will be taken to prevent underage access to alcohol.

The music from this club will be monitored closely to prevent any violations of any sound ordinances.

Karma will retain the services of 8 to 15 security personnel based on the number of patrons anticipated.

Bar patrons will be encouraged to utilize the side door when exiting the building at closing.

Patrons will be requested to exit and the Club will wind down the music at 1:45am.

Load capacity will be closely monitored by Karma's employees and approval will be obtained from the Fire Marshall before installing any interior walls.

Before installing any interior walls, approval will be obtained from the State Fire Marshall.

Karma will take reasonable measures to pick up the trash from the exterior of the building during and after events.

Karma will notify the Lafayette Police Department when major artists, who could potentially draw larger crowds, are scheduled to perform at the Club.
"ATC will continue to work with the Lafayette Police Department to monitor the situation to make certain that these terms are followed and the public's interest is protected," Hebert says.

Jean Ouellet, the attorney for Karma, says the club is pleased with the agreement, which averts a "trial" in Baton Rouge before Hebert. "Naturally Karma is satisfied with the resolution of the issue," Ouellets tells The Ind. "We're happy that we will keep at least 25 people employed, and we will do our best to make sure that we respect the safety of our patrons and that we maintain the high standards that we've been having in the past."

In IND Monthly's October cover story, "Bad Karma," Ouellet suggested that relative to other larger clubs downtown, Karma's security issues were par for the course, and he went further to suggest that the downtown community's issues with Karma stem more from the fact that Karma's patrons are overwhelmingly black and less from public safety concerns.

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