Jennings City Council OKs liquor permit week after initial request

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Jennings City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a local beer and liquor permit for Hebert’s Boudin and Cracklins.

The decision comes a week after the council failed to second a motion by Councilman Anthony LeBlanc to grant the permit to Lynwood and Lisa Hebert doing business as Hebert’s Boudin and Cracklins at 1822 Lake Arthur Ave.

The couple plans to open the business in early May. It will employ nearly 40 local residents.

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Councilman Johnny Armentor apologized for the council’s action, but said the council did not deny the liquor license last week, but had delayed its decision to seek more information.

“We just didn’t second the motion to talk about it for the simple reason it was thrown to us at the last minute,” Armentor said. “If it would have been in the March meeting it probably would have got motioned and seconded way back then.”

In reconsidering the vote Tuesday, Armentor and LeBlanc, along with council members Carolyn Simon and President Steve Van Hook agreed to grant the license. Councilman Clifton Lejeune was traveling out-of-country and was unable to attend.

Mayor Henry Guinn was also absent in order to attend a Jeff Davis Parish Landfill Commission meeting to vote on the renewal of a multi-million contract for methane operations at the landfill near Welsh.

Hebert, who has invested $8 million in building the new convenience store, restaurant and gas station, is seeking the Class B permit to allow for retail sales with off premise drinking. The store will sell fuel, convenience items and specialty Cajun foods including freshly made boudin and cracklins.

Hebert, who operates six other stores, said he has liquor licenses in four parishes and this is the first time he has had to go before a council meeting for approval. The city permit is needed before he seeks his state license on April 22.

City Attorney Wendell Miller said Hebert had met all the requirements of seeking the permit including passing a background check, paying fees and properly posting notices of his intentions.

Armentor and Simon said previous discussions did not refer to the business as a convenience store. It was always referred to as a boudin and cracklin business, he said.

A glitch in the city’s system prevented some council members from receiving emails with plans for the business showing it was a restaurant, convenience store and fueling station, according to the pair.

Simon said her impression was it would be a meat market with boudin and cracklins. She did not realize until recently it was a convenience store.

“I did not receive an email in reference to the full picture of what your boudin, cracklins/convenience store/restaurant would be,” she told the Heberts. “I referred back to the president, who provided us with that documentation. When I realized that there was a glitch in the system I did consult with (City Clerk) Chad Crochet…..Here we are today. By no means were we trying to make you suffer the consequences because of other things. We wanted a clear picture of what was going on at your establishment. We’re here to assist and grow our city through economic development, so we want to be able to know exactly what is going on and not have any gray areas.”

Hebert said plans for the business were submitted to the city as early as 2022. The plans called for half the business to be a restaurant with the other half being a convenience store with fueling stations. He said the business will cater to families, especially those traveling I-10, to “come eat real quick and fuel up.”

“Everything was like that from day one,”Hebert said. “Nothing has changed, so if you didn’t get the information, I apologize, but the council, the mayor and economic development have those plans.”

He said the business will be his largest venture and is the only one located on an interstate.

Van Hook thanked the Heberts for their large investment in the city with financial resources, time and energy. He also apologized for any inconveniences which may have occurred by delaying the permit.