NEW ORLEANS -- State authorities raided a popular New Orleans nightclub this weekend and cited it for selling liquor to underage drinkers, among other violations.
Troy Hebert, head of the state's Alcohol Tobacco Control agency, said his office had been investigating Club Ampersand in the Central Business District for weeks.
Undercover agents found the club selling liquor to minors on two recent occasions.
And on Saturday night, Hebert's agents and members of the State Fire Marshal's office crashed the club, interrupting a neon black light party, with foam on the dance floor and DJs spinning dance music.
“Obviously they didn't have it under control, nor did they have the proper security and they certainly were selling alcohol to minors,” Hebert said.
The fire marshal also found numerous violations, such as blocked exits, covered sprinklers and propane tanks that were stored inside.
The club is allowed to have 203 people inside. But the marshal's office said they counted 316 people in the club, with another 50 outside.
A call to Ampersand was not returned this afternoon.
The fire marshal is working with club management to remedy the myriad issues. The marshal is scheduled to re-inspect the club Friday before it reopens.
"Should we find any problems with the facility, we can very well order a cease and desist,” said Deputy Chief Brant Thompson of the marshal’s office.
The club's owner will have to appear at a hearing in May, where the state can choose to fine him, or suspend or revoke the club's liquor license, according to Hebert.
“That particular club is definitely on our radar,” he added.
An anonymous tip to Hebert’s telephone complaint line sparked the state investigation.
“To sell alcohol in Louisiana is a privilege, not a right,” Hebert said.