Leesville Voters: Yes to Sunday Alcohol Sales

May 6, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

Vernon Parish voters said yes to the two propositions on the ballot that extend the hours of selling alcohol on Sundays.  It has become a hot topic in several Louisiana towns over the past few years and now Leesville voter's made their voices heard.

It's called "The Ready City" and on May 5th, Leesville residents decide if they're ready to allow alcohol sales on Sundays.  Mayor Betty Westerchil says, "This has been brought to the City Council and to me on numerous occasions and we feel that it's our responsibility to allow the people to be able to make that choice."

The first proposition is to allow Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants from noon until midnight and to allow the package sale of liquor in stores during these same hours.

The second proposition allows alcohol-selling establishments in Leesville to stay open until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  "The major cities around us are now selling alcohol on Sundays," says Westerchil, "Some major chains have come in - restaurants especially - and this is one of the issues that always comes up."

Linda Collins is the manager of one Leesville Shop Rite.  Collins says extending the hours of alcohol sales on the weekends would be a welcome change.  In fact, she says each weekend customers come to the convenience store trying to buy the alcohol, even though it is currently illegal to purchase on Sundays.  "Well, they just don't really understand," says Collins, "they somehow think that we should somehow continue to sell all the time."

Not all residents, though, agree.  Leesville resident John Cole says, "I don't think so. No."

One major negative issue behind extending the hours for alcohol sales is a possible increase in impaired drivers on the weekend.  But, Leesville Police Chief Bobby Hickman says the department has studied reports from neighboring towns and they have not seen a major increase in alcohol-related crashes.