Lose the Blues

Happy New Year, everybody! Hopefully, if you made a New Year’s resolution, you haven’t already broken it, although chances are, you probably have by now. Either way, I’m sure nearly everyone is glad to see 2005 go into the history books.As for us, we at Red Shtick Magazine have made a resolution, too. As you probably know, for nearly two years, we’ve been the proverbial Evinrude® in a cesspool. This year, though, we plan to crank up that puppy to the red line! We’re going to be an even bigger pain in the side (and other, unmentionable places) of those in our area who exemplify poor leadership, resistance to change, and just plain ol’ stupidity.To this end, we have set a goal that is sure to cause much angst among many of the dimwits that fall into the aforementioned category. We shall embark on a noble quest, which, if successful, will prove that Baton Rouge is not the bastion of overly conservative prudes that many believe it to be.What am I talking about? What could possibly alter the paradigm of perception of the culture of the capital city? I’m talking about the elimination of the parish’s blue laws, thus allowing bars to open and serve alcohol on Sunday.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m about as crazy as that woman in New Mexico who got a restraining order against David Letterman, because he was using code words to try to get her to marry him and become his co-host. Well, maybe I am, but don’t forget that she did get a restraining order, even if it was only temporary. By the way, there’s a certain newscaster – and she knows who she is – that better stop emotionally torturing me with her coded phrases like, “The news is next,” or, “Have a great evening.” I’m a happily married man, for heaven’s sake.

WhatÂ’s our plan of attack? Well, we certainly wonÂ’t bother trying to get the Metro Council to do it for us. After all, they wouldnÂ’t even allow the bars to open on the Sundays when the Saints played in Tiger Stadium. Therefore, we already know going through them would prove fruitless.

Instead, we plan on following the same route that A6 did in their recent term-limits effort – a petition drive. All we need is approximately 12,500 signatures of registered voters in East Baton Rouge Parish, and the Metro Council would be required by law to put the issue on the ballot. Besides, that’s the most effective way to determine “the will of the people,” a term that’s been thrown around by several Metro Council members to excuse their miserable actions.

Why are we doing this? For starters, look at the calendar. ItÂ’s 2006, dammit! In my opinion, blue laws are about as relevant as leather football helmets.

I just donÂ’t get whatÂ’s so wrong with a bar opening on Sunday. Are the people who staunchly support the blue laws afraid that, without them, they might witness a scene similar to the one portrayed on this issueÂ’s cover? Seriously, these people make Reefer Madness seem like a bona fide documentary.

Besides, surrounding parishes like Ascension allow their bars to open on Sunday. As of yet, I havenÂ’t heard of any reports of fire and brimstone falling in Prairieville.

What I have heard about, though, are people from Baton Rouge driving to a place just on the other side of the parish line on Sundays, because itÂ’s the nearest bar thatÂ’s open. That means two things. First, East Baton Rouge Parish is losing tax revenue. But I guess we donÂ’t need any more tax money coming in. We probably have so much money that city employees use C-notes when thereÂ’s no toilet paper in the stall.

Secondly, potentially drunk drivers are on the road for a longer period of time. If, instead, those people were allowed to go to a Baton Rouge neighborhood bar instead, they might choose to walk home. At the least, they might be more willing to catch a cab if they only have to go a couple of miles rather than from Alligator Bayou to Mid City.

While most of the folks I’ve discussed our plans with have been very supportive, there have been a few who’ve tried to “enlighten” me about the reality of politics in Baton Rouge. These are well-meaning people who want to let me know that I’ll face a lot of obstacles and setbacks and that my chances of success are very slim. They remind me of the people who tried to dissuade me from starting this publication, because so many others with significantly more financial resources failed after trying to do the same. Yeah, I guess I should have heeded their sage advice.

The bottom line is that this isnÂ’t the same old Baton Rouge anymore. Katrina took care of that. You canÂ’t really use the past to gauge future results. We plan on registering a great number of our new neighbors from New Orleans, most of whom are as befuddled about our blue laws as I am, to vote here in the parish.

Of course, we know what the opposition will do. They’ll bang the same tired drum that they always bang whenever there’s an issue about loosening restrictions on alcohol: “We don’t want to become New Orleans.”

I want them to say that. I want them to insult tens of thousands of voters by saying that they don’t want Baton Rouge to resemble anything close to the place that many of our new residents wish they could call home again. Please say it again! Keep laying out that “You’re Not Welcome” mat. I’m sure it won’t damage your reelection chances at all in 2008.

Me Next!

Recently, Baton Rouge Business Report publisher Rolfe McCollister, Jr. was unanimously appointed to serve on a BREC citizen committee set up to screen applicants who wish to fill the vacancy left by former superintendent Mark Thornton. There was one small problem, however: McCollister had already told commissioner Collis Temple, Jr. that he wasnÂ’t interested in the position, since his publication is covering the search. Temple later said he planned to appoint Paulette Senior, publisher of The Baton Rouge Journal, to serve in McCollisterÂ’s stead.

When will I get a turn? IÂ’m a publisher! I want to play, too!