Truth Lounge back on planning commission’s agenda

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ — The city’s planning commission again will reconsider its issuance of a special exception for the Truth Lounge to operate as a nightclub inside the city’s historic district.

City Planner Frankie Legaux said members of the planning commission asked that Truth Lounge’s consideration of special exception to operate be put back on its agenda for the commission meeting on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 115 S. Pearl St., across from City Hall.

The move stems from the most recent shooting in a parking lot near Truth Lounge, which is alleged to have begun as an altercation inside the nightclub in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday, police said. Truth Lounge owners Rickey Banks and David Haywood deny that the altercation began in Truth Lounge.

Email newsletter signup

Video captured on a security camera located across the street from Truth Lounge shows a crowd of people arguing in the street outside the business. Then gunshots can be heard on the video, which shows the crowd running from the scene.

The lounge was closed after a similar brawl on Oct. 23, during which law enforcement officers said they were nearly overwhelmed by an unruly crowd outside the lounge that blocked the roadway on Franklin and MLK streets. That incident allegedly stemmed from a brawl inside the bar that law enforcement said took 20 minutes to quell after their arrival. In a special meeting, the next day, the mayor and aldermen voted to close the bar. Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell signed off on an agreement between the city and the city’s attorney to allow it to reopen but with stipulations that directed it to close at a certain time, earlier than it typically closed.

Truth Lounge owners sued the city and city staffers, and the city and owners came to an agreement that it could reopen without stipulations. After a public hearing on Feb. 15, the planning commission agreed it could continue to operate without stipulations.