Agents eyeing underage drinking at BR St. Patrick's Day parade

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge bars hope to cash in on the green ale this weekend as crowds from the St. Patrick's Day parade ring up sales.  But Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents say they'll be watching for anyone serving those who should be sober.

Agents with ATC are already on patrol, checking bottles at bars, talking with owners, checking supplies and making sure bars are properly licensed.

"We're going to be out on St. Patrick's Day," said Jeffrey Barthelemy, and agent with ATC.

The lunch rush at Ivar's on Perkins Road is slow, compared to the bank busting business expected this weekend.  Workers will be serving up more alcohol in one day than they do all year long.

"We do need a lot of help.  So many people out there," said Pat Quigley, owner of Ivar's.

Quigley says there will be as many as 12,000 people outside the front door.  And this year, to keep a handle on things he's brought in a barricade to keep the crowd under control.

"We're putting up a 600 foot fence around here.  Keep coolers out of here, keep underage out of here, minimize incidents in past years," he said.

Agents say in previous years around the Perkins Overpass are, there have been problems with people pulling coolers around, giving alcohol access to those under 21.  This year, the ATC has decided to have agents walk the parade route and flood the area with their presence.  To make sure that does not happen.

"It's a college town.  Right around campus of LSU, people under 21 will attempt to drink," said Barthelemy.

Quigley says he plans to have several checkpoints to ensure no one underage comes close to the spirits.  ATC says the crowds can still celebrate, but do so safely.

The 27th annual Wearin' of the Green parade rolls down Hundred Oaks Boulevard, Saturday morning at 10.