The restrictions on bars, restaurants and gathering in groups don’t sit well with some

Updated: Mar. 18, 2020 at 8:47 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Tuesday night, which was St. Paddy’s Day, some folks appeared downright defiant about the idea of losing access to their favorite watering hole...

Despite the governor’s order closing bars Tuesday night there were patrons at Pappy’s determined to stay.

Lake Charles Police were notified that Pappy’s was still operating as normal and gave them a warning around 7 p.m.

Sgt. Brenda Desormeaux says another call came in about two hours later. So officers went back.

We're told patrons chanted "We won't go," before police cleared the bar and the establishment closed.

Violations of the governor's order may not bring stiff penalties.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso says they are still looking into that.

"We're navigating through it and trying to figure out the best practices. We're going to go there and tell them that they're violating the governor's orders. And then we're going to leave and if they don't comply and we have to back and figure out from there," said Mancuso.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, himself a restaurant owner, says those who require licenses to operate might want to think twice before ignoring directives.

"I encourage businesses to remember that they have ATC (Alcohol, Tobacco Control) licenses, they have video poker licenses, they have Health Department licenses, all of which are administered by state government. I have some of those licenses and I would not want to be defying a decree of the governor at this moment in time," said Hunter.

But for the most part, Calcasieu officials appear pleased with the cooperation they're getting from citizens and businesses during these trying times.

We tried to reach Pappy's for a comment, but did not hear back.

The sheriff and mayor were among those at the daily briefing at the Calcasieu Emergency Operations center, held daily at 11:30 in the morning. KPLC carries it live at and the mobile app. To watch the Wednesday briefing click here.

Here’s a list of some of the other information provided at Wednesday’s briefing:

-Calcasieu Parish OHSEP Dick Gremillion says they are primarily in a preparation mode. Gremillion says 645 people in Calcasieu Parish have already applied for unemployment.

-Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh is the Regional Medical Director of the State Office of Public Health. She gave an update on the latest case numbers saying, as of 9:30 a.m., Louisiana had 240 cases of confirmed COVID-19. She said most of those are centered around New Orleans and Shreveport areas. Still, she says they have no confirmed cases within Southwest Louisiana. Cavanaugh says the state lab has continued to ramp up testing substantially, and that 597 tests had been run across the state, at the state lab. She says they are now able to break down the cases by age group. She says 13 parishes across the state now have at least one case and have now, unfortunately, increased to five deaths in Louisiana.

Cavanaugh says they are now developing a way to collect information about negative tests and positive tests from from private labs. That, she says, will help provide important information about how many in the community are tested. Cavanaugh explains the treatment for a mild case of COVID-19 is really the same whether a person tests positive, or just has the symptoms and is advised to go home and isolate one’s self, because there is no test available.

“You don’t get any different treatment if there is not a test immediately available,” she said.

But she says the supply of tests available will catch up to the demand.

Cavanaugh again discussed the importance of social distancing.

“That social distancing is our protection. That is our action. That is what we are doing, not only for ourselves, to keep ourselves healthy, but for our community. And so, be strong. I know that it is challenging," she said.

"If at the end of the day, if it ends up not being as bad as what everyone is talking about, I think that’s great. Because what that means is that the things that we’re doing now how worked, " said Cavanaugh.

-Chief Medical Officer from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Dr. Manley Jordan, discussed the need to help our health care delivery system functioning. He quoted the U.S. Surgeon General explaining that we have a two week window to either follow the experience of countries that have had bad outcomes or countries that have not.

He says three things in particular need to be put into practice.

“First and foremost, social distancing, that six feet rule. Second, hand hygiene. Can’t say that enough. And last, wiping down common surfaces that we all come in contact with, so disinfecting and sanitizing those surfaces we all come in contact with,” he said.

Jordan says testing in the community is still limited and they are basing testing on clinical decision making by primary care physicians. He says even though testing is being done by private labs, there is still a three or four day turn around time.

Tanya McGee with the Imperial Calcasieu Human Service Authority also spoke about behavioral health services, saying everyone has experienced extreme stress and anxiety. She says services are fully functioning, but limiting face-to-fact contact. She says they are trying to get Medicaid authority for phone therapy and more tele-medicine and tele-help.

She encourages those already receiving behavioral health services to reach out to their providers and prescribers to plan ahead, in case they would have to be isolated. In the general public she suggests people recognize the heightened anxiety they may be experiencing and watch out for each other.

And finally, on the health team, with the Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services, Jayvon Muhammad said they can offer an opportunity for those who do not have a primary care provider to have one through their organization. She says call 337-439-9983. She said it does not guarantee testing but will assist a patient in going to the next level of care.

In wrapping up the health part of the briefing, Cavanaugh urged people to be confident what we are doing now will help save lives.

United Way President and CEO Denise Durel reminded people 211 is still the non-emergency hotline for questions dealing with the coronavirus. She says operators are working 24/7 to provide information. She says call 211 on a landline or text 898 211. She says so far 7000 people have talked to a United Way 211 operator and she says more than 15,000 people have used a device to text in to be linked to the Department of Health or CDC.

Police Jury President Tony Guillory announced despite some closings, that the solid waste convenience centers, parish parks, boat launches, RV and tent camping facilities are all open. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury meetings have been cancelled until further notice. He says waste management and garbage services are running according to schedule. He says updates will be posted on their web site and Facebook page.

The next briefing is at 11:30 a.m. Thursday morning and is streamed live on or the kplc mobile app.

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