NEW ORLEANS - The owner of a Carrollton bar is charged with attempted arson.
He says it was just a prank, but the owner of the former Jimmy's Music Club isn't laughing.
Business surveillance video shows a man holding a smoking, flammable device, eventually shoving it into the door of the former Jimmy's Music Club, now the Willow, then walking away, the device still smoking.
That man is Michael Miller, owner of the Carrollton Station bar next door. He posted a photo of himself on Facebook last week, admitting in a comment he stuck a lit ear wax candle into the door of the club.
When building owner Jimmy Anselmo saw the Facebook post Monday, he called police. Miller was arrested and charged with attempted simple arson.
“This is arson. They could have burned my building down,” Anselmo said.
Miller said over the phone he has no problems with the club, there was no damage and the incident was a harmless joke.
He said he lit the device at his business during a Jan. 12 football game, thinking it would be good luck. When he learned the device was meant to suck wax out of of ears, he brought it to the Willow to, "suck out all the bad mojo," because he said the club has had a hard time getting business since it opened.
Anselmo doesn't see it that way.
“We are good neighbors and this is what we get?” said Anselmo. “These are not good neighbors, trying to burn my building down.”
Anselmo believes this latest incident stems from multiple noise complaints from neighbors, and what he calls attacks on Facebook, all of which he says are unfounded.
“It's not too loud. It's sound proof now,” said Anselmo. “They're just trying to put us out of business.”
But one neighbor says the club is so loud during late night shows, he can't sleep. When the neighbor agreed to go on camera, Anselmo walked over and grew angry, calling him a “Jimmy hater” and a liar. The neighbor then opted not to do an interview.
The Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association says it's working with the music club to address complaints.
The police investigation into the alleged attempted arson continues.
The neighborhood association is meeting with club owners on Thursday as part of their "good neighbor agreement."
Anselmo fought a long battle to get a liquor license and open the club due to a liquor moratorium in the neighborhood, in which businesses can only get a liquor license if they agree to cooperate with neighbors.