Neighbors consider alcohol license for Jackson Avenue wings restaurant

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Three adjacent neighborhoods — the Coliseum Square Association, the Irish Channel and River Gardens — are considering a request for a liquor license at the Finger Lick’n Wings restaurant on Jackson Avenue.

The owner of the restaurant, Marlon Horton — also known as the bounce artist 10th Ward Buck — told members of the Coliseum Square Association on Monday night that his restaurant is like a “ghost town” on game days because he can’t serve alcohol with his chicken wings. He hopes to apply for a full alcohol license, but primarily wants to be able to serve beer on tap, and pledged to personally prevent any alcohol from leaving the premises.

“People think of alcohol as a bad thing,” Horton says. “It only gets worse when the owner doesn’t pay attention to his business.”

His request drew a range of reactions at Monday’s meeting. Most residents were simply curious about his plans, asking about the restaurant’s hours, its seating capacity, and other details, without expressing a strong opinion.

Some, however, were apprehensive about the prospect of another liquor license in an area where corner stores already seem to be a magnet for troublemakers, and others worried about trash the restaurant would generate. Eric Iglesias of HRI Properties, the developer of the River Garden neighborhood, said his company plans to oppose the project.

“Our development company is not in support for any more liquor licenses on the perimeter of our mixed-income property,” Iglesias said.

Other residents, however, said the restaurant should be treated the same as anywhere else in New Orleans.

“I don’t see what the big deal is. We’re in a city where everyone’s on the street drinking all the time.” said resident Karon Reese. “We’re saying poor people can’t have a liquor license?”

Board members of both Coliseum Square and Irish Channel have already met with Horton, and association secretary Kathy Falwell said he seemed receptive to a good neighbor agreement that mimics the conditions recently imposed on several Maple Street bars to minimize the effect of the alcohol sales on the neighborhood. With several board members saying that such an agreement held the potential for a good compromise, the board voted to defer a decision on Horton’s request for a month so that they could continue working on the details with the Irish Channel and to hear the River Garden residents’ concerns.

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In a separate action, the board voted to have its zoning committee study all the proposed changes in the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and report back to the full association next month about any potential “hot spots” that need attention, such as the zoning of the old Robert’s grocery store and the open areas near the convention center.

The board also voted to send a letter to the Alcohol Beverage Control board condemning what they described as the evolution of the Precinct restaurant into a three-story special-events lounge. The establishment is set for a hearing before the alcohol board today (Tuesday, Oct. 18).

Finally, the association also listened to a resident’s complaints that the bass music emanating from the Eiffel Society has become too loud on several occasions in recent weeks, and encouraged her to work with the NOPD Sixth District quality of life issues to make sure the volume stays at acceptable levels.

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