Johnsonville Bar has been in business at its location on La. 111 in eastern Vernon Parish for decades, a hidden oasis to those who work there and those who regularly frequent it. It is among businesses threatened by the alcohol sales vote Saturday in District5.

Whether to permit low- and/or high-alcoholic beverage sales for package and/or on-site consumption will be on the ballot.

“I don’t exactly see how this is a constitutional vote,” said Kimberly Jaques “ Because Walmart took Beauregard Parish before the state supreme court several years ago and it was ruled by the supreme court of the state of Louisiana that it is unconstitutional for a portion of a parish to be wet and another portion to be dry, as in the case with with Beauregard Parish because DeRidder proper had always been dry and Merryville had always been wet. Walmart and their attorneys nixed that.”

According to Jaques, Johnsonville Bar has been in her family for years and she doesn’t understand

how this could be going on now.

“How are they going to shut us down when we’ve been open for over 30 years selling alcohol?” she expressed. “No one had a problem with it before.”

People at the bar continued to voice their opinions and concerns. For many of them this is not just a bar, but their home and their way of life.

“If they close the bar the younger crowd is still gonna want to drink,” said Sarah Deason. “ And it’s gonna be more dangerous for them driving all the way to Leesville when they have a place close to home that’s much safer for them. Not to mention this is my only source of income. If they take it away what am I going to do? My Grandma Opie Deason is in the Rosepine nursing home and this job works with my schedule if I have to go to her.”

Bea’s Place, a family owned and operated little country bar out in the middle of nowhere, has been serving some of the coldest beer around, and wine, for more than 40 years. Everyone in the area knows Ms. Bea, if not from the bar it would be because she was born and raised and has lived here most of her 94 years.

In the year 2010 on behalf of the state of Louisiana, Sen. Frank Howard presented Ms. Bea a certificate of dedication and accomplishment for being the oldest woman business owner/operator in the state. When asked when she plans on giving up the bar business, Ms. Bea simply says,”I’m kinda like George Jones, not until the grass grows over me.”

Ms. Bea says everyone who comes to her bar is like family to her. “Most everyone calls me Aunt Bea, Grandma or Momma,” she smiled sadly. “I don’t know what I would do without the bar. I don’t want them to close it, but if they vote it out they vote it out. What can I do?”

Other people are glad to have a voice when it comes to alcohol in their district. Pastor Clyde O. Dowden of Simmons Mill Pentecostal Church in Pitkin is against alcohol.

“I am against alcohol 100 percent,”stated Dowden. “ It should never of been allowed in Pitkin in the first place. This was a dry town.”

He says that he will be at the polls on Saturday to vote against alcohol in the district.

During its final meeting of the year last year, the Vernon Parish Police Jury adopted a resolution ordering and calling for a special election in District 5, which includes Pitkin, Fullerton, Cravens and Johnsonville, the result of a petition submitted to the Registrar of Voters seeking the vote.

In accordance with RS 26:585, notice was given in December of 2015 by the Registrar of Voters of the filing of a local option petition by at least 25 per cent of the registered voters in the district.

This election will allow voters to consider local option alcoholic sales propositions.

By law, there are five propositions to vote on, including the following:

1. Shall the sale of beverages of alcoholic content not more than six percent alcohol by volume be permitted by package only and not for consumption on theses premises;

2. Shall the sale of beverages of alcoholic content not more than six percent alcohol by volume for consumption on the premises be permitted;

3. Shall the sale of beverage alcohol containing one-half of one percent of alcohol by volume and above for consumption on these premises be permitted;

4. Shall the sale of beverage alcohol content containing one-half of one percent by alcohol by volume and above be permitted by package only and not for consumption on the premises;

5. Shall the sale of beverages of high and low alcoholic content be permitted only on the premises of restaurant establishments which have been issued and “R” permit as defined by law?

Whatever your stance is on this issue your voice will not be heard without going to the polls and voting on Saturday.