The local food and drink blog networks have been all abuzz lately with hyperbole, rushes to judgment, uninformed opinions, emotions run amuck, and conclusions reached based on thin information and evidence. In other words, it’s all been relatively normal.

One of the topics of great emotion and sudden timeliness is the “banning of go-cups by the City.” That is, and let’s get this out early in this discussion, not true.

What has happened, with increasing frequency of late, is that for those business owners applying for a license to dispense alcohol, and those dispensing establishments who possess a license to serve alcohol but have violated some term of that license, one of the terms of the new licensing rules can be that the establishment will not be allowed to offer go-cups to its patrons.

Another possible ruling from the City can demand that for those establishments who serve go-cups, the establishment’s name and logo must be printed on the cup.

There have been a pretty fair number of rulings from the City when granting or reinstating an alcohol-service permit, the permission for use of go-cups is not automatically bestowed. In some cases the City has noted that the alcohol permit does not allow off-premise service of alcoholic beverages, and they, the City, interpret go-cups as off-premise service.

Several clubs in the Marigny, and most famously Jimmy’s Uptown, are not allowed with their alcohol service license to dispense alcohol in go-cups. These have been recent rulings, and the limiting conditions seem to be happening more frequently.

There are even instances, I have read but not witnessed, where patrons could not get a go-cup for iced tea because the establishment was not allowed to offer go-cups for alcohol so why have any go-cups on the premises, lest some staff person be tempted to provide alcohol go cup service to a demanding patron?

I am of the mind that if these rulings from the City are happening with any frequency, more noise from a thirsty public needs to be made. In some cases, it seems, neighbors are using the “litter reduction” scenario as the reason for demanding no go-cup service. If that’s the case, every fast food drive-thru restaurant in town should be shut down.

I also hate to see two classes of neighborhood bars develop, some with full privileges and others who would operate at a competitive disadvantage.

As I have stated in this column many times, go-cups are one of New Orleans’ great cultural contributions to a civilized society. I hope we don’t take one of our unique institutions and use it as a sledge hammer against small business owners who are paying taxes and hiring local employees.

But again, maybe this is not happening, and is merely a tempest in a go-cup so a few online writers can rail against a perceived injustice. Or, maybe the bureaucrats in City Hall have another unspoken agenda. We will just have to keep watching. 

And we will.

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