There seems to be a misunderstanding with regards to the recent resolution to increase the age to enter a bar, lounge or nightclub in the city limits of Marksville to 21. It’s all fine and good that Counc...ilman Gremillion doesn’t want to risk the city being sued for a fatality involving underage drinking. In fact, I would agree with Mr. Gremillion on that point. I think most would agree that drinking and driving, at any age for that matter, is a dangerous act that puts not only the driver but everyone in harm’s way. This is not the issue however. As much as I tried to illustrate to the council that we were dealing with separate issues, the more I was met with opposition.
The last time I checked, laws for underage drinking and laws for drinking and driving were both firmly in place. I’ve been the subject of countless raids enough to testify to this. Unfortuneately, increasing the age limit to enter an establishment will not prevent either of these things from happening and has great potential to actually make things even worse. It would be nice if we could solve those problems by simply doing this, but honestly I worry what other problems will manifest as a result of this drastic decision. Citizens I have spoken to agree that there will be more drinking and driving, only with less supervision and with our young adults driving farther distances. The most glaring fact is that it is still Louisiana law that one can be 18 to enter an establishment but 21 to purchase and consume alcohol. Until Louisiana changes this law, it creates an uneven playing field for everyone involved.
In a community of our size, there are not a lot of options for young adults to congregate. Our culture is one in which family and friends co-mingle and enjoy the different options our city has to offer. This will change. Local businesses will be affected and our city will be negatively impacted as revenue leaves our city to go elsewhere. It’s already happening. Keep in mind it’s not simply the bars and nightclubs that are affected, as people who choose to come to our fine city often spend their dollars at a multitude of other businesses, be it gas stations or restaurants or hotels.
I love our city but this decision to increase the age limit is one I do not agree with. As so many people have stated time and time again- if you can serve, fight and die for your country at 18, you should be able to dance with your girlfriend at a dancehall at 18. If you can get married at 18 and VOTE at 18, you should be able to enter a bar, lounge or nightclub. Once again, laws are already firmly in place for both drinking and driving and for underage drinking, so I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what problem this will solve.