Truth Lounge, if catering to a younger, rowdy crowd, should locate elsewhere

Published 10:51 pm Saturday, December 16, 2023

It’s good news that neighbors have had few if any problems to complain about recently at the Truth Lounge. Few complaints of noise or fighting have been made to the city police department since the lounge owners and the city struck a deal and legal action was dropped in Sixth District Circuit Court.

The lounge, located at 719 Franklin St., has been the source of loud music that reportedly has disturbed until early morning hours numerous neighbors, particularly in the summer and fall of this year. The lounge has attracted numbers of cars and loiterers to the already congested area. While many of those people perhaps haven’t entered the Truth Lounge, they are apparently using the outside area as a gathering place.

An October fight that law enforcement officers said threatened to overwhelm them resulted in the mayor calling a special meeting of the board of aldermen and a vote to close the lounge.

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The bar’s owners and city attorney Bryan Callaway quickly struck a deal to reopen the lounge shortly thereafter, but it had to close at 1 a.m.

Recently, the owners of the lounge filed suit against the city and a separate suit against the city’s mayor and 15 other as yet unnamed defendants over the issue.

While the recent agreement with the city ended that lawsuit, the one against the mayor is ongoing.

When owners Rickey Banks and David Haywood presented their case to the Natchez Planning Commission to gain a special exception to city ordinances to open their nightclub, they described it as something that would offer live music and drinks to a mature crowd. They said they were particularly interested in drawing tourists, and would make certain there was no spillover of partying onto the city’s streets.

Obviously, that’s not what we have at the Truth Lounge. Anyone who saw the video footage of the fight that took place inside the Truth Lounge, which took law enforcement more than 20 minutes to end, would have a hard time describing the patrons as mature. And we certainly hope no tourists to our city were there that night. It was an embarrassment.

Banks and Haywood are free to operate any kind of establishment they want, as long as it falls within the guidance of its special exception to operate. However, apparently, the two have found they can make more of a profit by catering to customers who want to drink and party between 1 a.m. and into the early morning hours. If so, Truth Lounge needs to relocate to some place more appropriate.

Right now, bed and breakfast and short-term rental property owners are saying they have lost thousands of dollars in revenue because of the noise and chaos generated by Truth Lounge. We can only imagine the owners of the lounge will face numerous lawsuits from owners of those establishments should that noise and chaos outside continue.

That type of nightclub certainly has its place, but not where it is located now. Someplace with ample parking and not in the middle of so many residents would make a much better location.