Civic Center loitering ban will be 10 p.m. to 6 a.m

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Lake Charles City Council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance Wednesday that will prohibit loitering at night at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

It was adopted with two amendments. The original ordinance stated that prohibited hours would be between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. The Council moved to adjust the hours to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for all parking lots adjacent to Bord du Lac Drive.

Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said that the ordinance does not apply to the boardwalk, the marina or parking along Shell Beach Drive. He also made it clear that the prohibited hours only apply to loitering.

Email newsletter signup

“If you have business at the Civic Center, if you’re attending a Mardi Gras ball or any sanctioned function at the Civic Center, this doesn’t apply. … If you are just hanging out in the Civic Center Parking lot, that could be considered loitering and you could be cited for that.

“It is not our goal, if someone is out there someone enjoying it or they’re at the gazebo or they’re walking their dog, to go and cause them adieu. “It’s to prevent some of the problems that we have been experiencing throughout the city about certain people, or different groups of people, congregating and begin doing unlawful acts.”

The ordinance gives LCPD the authority to address loitering concerns.

“We just want to be able to be in front of that so that we can take a proactive approach to it, instead of a reactive approach. We don’t want to have to wait until somebody gets hurt before we can actually go in and prevent these things.”

The City and LCPD began the effort to give LCPD this power after an event that took place in mid-June in which a large group began to gather in the Civic Center parking lot just after 10:30 p.m., he said. This event resulted in an individual being shot.

With curfew hours in place, LCPD will be able to ensure those enjoying the amenities at the Civic Center can do so safely.

“We just want to make sure families have the ability to enjoy them, and law enforcement has the ability to prevent someone from coming in and trying to do something that would disturb someone from enjoying those points.”

He stated the police will use discretion when addressing loitering concerns in parking lots adjacent to Bord du Lac Dr.