“Raid in the shade: Men with guns are cracking down on brand-name bar umbrellas.” So wrote headlines in the Times-Picayune. Strange but true. They’re protecting the public from seeing alcohol beverage brand names.
Armed officers of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) have been making demands. That is, that cafes remove all their outdoor umbrellas that show any alcohol brand name.
The umbrellas are the international symbol of the cafés. They are from the streets of Paris to the bistros of Buenos Aires to the beaches of Miami. But they’re illegal in Louisiana. Seeing them will make people drink. At least that’s the view of Louisiana’s temperance-era law. Of course, drinking is bad — perhaps even sinful.
And alcohol-branded umbrellas aren’t the only prohibited contraband. Louisiana law prohibits bars and restaurants from showing the brand name of any alcoholic beverage outside their venues. That includes any such display that are at all visible anywhere from outside the premises. They must be shielded from the eyes of innocents.
Says one restaurant operator, “Here’s the stupid thing. I could put an umbrella out there that says ‘Kiss My A _ _ and that wouldn’t be illegal. But because it says ‘Bud,’ we gotta get rid of it.”
He doesn’t understand — just doesn’t get it. Seeing “Kiss My A _ _” wouldn’t make anyone drink so it doesn’t harm society.
We can all sleep better now, at least in Louisiana.