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Legal Drinking Age

BRADLEY, ILLINOIS
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139 posts
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Legal Drinking Age

We`re bringing our 19 year-old grandson to New Orleans for his first trip. (after YEARS of hearing the tales of our visits) We want him to experience the magic that is truly New Orleans.

I`ve read that under 21`s can be served alcohol with parents at the table, but is it legal? He`s excited at the prospect of sharing a drink with us, but I don`t want anyone winding up in the "hoosegow"!

Bound Brook, New...
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1. Re: Legal Drinking Age

Yes, it is legal. We're going back soon with our 19-year-old daughter. When we took her last year, at 18, she was able to drink in most places if we ordered the drink for her. There are some places where you have to be 21, however, but they will let you know. Most of the restaurants we ate dinner at allowed it and she sipped a drink in the evening while strolling down Bourbon Street. Somewhere on this board, I did see a post where someone put the actual law, so try doing a search to ease your fears.

Blenheim, Canada
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2. Re: Legal Drinking Age

This is from frenchquarter.com:

What are the drinking laws in the French Quarter?

The city of New Orleans is not required to close its bars at any particular time. This means that a bar may stay open around-the-clock, 24 hours a day, and many in the French Quarter do just that. Not all bars serve all night, many close at 2 a.m., 4 a.m. or 6 a.m., or simply whenever the last customer finally staggers home. Most bars enforce an “18 to enter, 21 to drink” law at the door, although many choose to require all patrons to be 21 to enter. Each particular establishment reserves the right to close whenever they choose, and refuse service to those underage or already intoxicated.

This is from nopdonline.com:

New Orleans is a 24 hour city with an open container law. The drinking age is 21. The police are tolerant of drinking in public in the French Quarter as long as you do not have an open can or glass container. Bars and restaurants will give you a plastic "go cup" when you leave their establishment.

-New Orleans Police Department online NOPDOnline.com

Edited: 9:42 am, February 05, 2011
Destination Expert
for New Orleans
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127 reviews
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3. Re: Legal Drinking Age

I know that Pat O'Brien's is very strict about enforcing their age 21 rules, even to enter the premises. As far as under 21 being allowed to drink if their parents purchase the alcohol, I don't know. The legal drinking age is 21 everywhere in the US as far as I know. I would imagine that in New Orleans it is just overlooked, but not necessarily legal for under 21 to drink alcohol purchased by a parent.

Nashville, Tennessee
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4. Re: Legal Drinking Age

While we were there in October with our 19 year old son my husband and I ordered drinks with dinner. My son told the waitress he also wanted a drink, he was joking with her. She said that is no problem as long as your parents are here. That was the first I had heard of this. She told us it was legal and we asked at another restaurant to see if we got the same answer and we did. All the places we went to were willing to serve him as long as we were there.

Baton Rouge
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for Baton Rouge
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5. Re: Legal Drinking Age

Yep, it is totally legal here in Louisiana. Once a child reaches age 18, a parent/guardian can purchase an alcoholic drink for his child. This puts the responsibility on the parent. Another quirky Louisiana law is that kids can enter bars at 18 but, of course, cannot legally drink here until 21. They find "older" friends with fake i.d.'s who will purchase the drinks. So you see, not much has changed here since the law was increased to age 21.

We were so used to doing this on special occasions with our daughter that when we tried to order for her in New York and San Francisco, the wait staff thought that we as parents had absolutely lost our minds. We then explained that we were from Louisiana so they understood!!!!!

Bossier City, LA
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6. Re: Legal Drinking Age

Also, if you are between 18 and 20 and your spouse is 21 or older you can drink legally as long as you are with your spouse. But, all of these laws are subject to the bar/restaurant choosing to serve you.

Blenheim, Canada
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7. Re: Legal Drinking Age

some more interesting interpertations! from procon.org regarding Louisiana law:

The law states that "public possession" of alcohol includes at a club, which is "de facto open to the public." Underage public possession and consumption of alcohol is not prohibited if the underage person is accompanied by a parent or guardian who is at least 21 years old.

This from www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=78725

Louisiana State Legislature Laws: (see 2.a.ii)

4. UNLAWFUL SALE, PURCHASE, AND POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

§93.10. Definitions

For purposes of R.S. 14:93.10 through 93.14, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) "Purchase" means acquisition by the payment of money or other consideration. Purchase does not include such acquisition for medical purposes either when purchased as over the counter medication or when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital, or medical institution.

(2) "Public possession" means the possession of any alcoholic beverage for any reason, including consumption, on any street or highway or in any public place or any place open to the public, including a club which is de facto open to the public. "Public possession" does not include the following:

(a) The possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage:

(i) For an established religious purpose.

(ii) When a person under twenty-one years of age is accompanied by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian twenty-one years of age or older.

(iii) For medical purposes when purchased as an over the counter medication, or when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital, or medical institution.

(iv) In private residences.

(b) The sale, handling, transport, or service in dispensing of any alcoholic beverage pursuant to lawful ownership of an establishment or to lawful employment of a person under twenty-one years of age by a duly licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of beverage alcohol.

(3) "Alcoholic beverage" means beer, distilled spirits, and wine containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume. Beer includes but is not limited to ale, lager, porter, stout, sake, and other similar fermented beverages brewed or produced from malt wholly or in part or from any substitute therefor. Distilled spirits include alcohol, ethanol, or spirits or wine in any form, including all dilutions and mixtures thereof from whatever process produced.

Acts 1995, No. 639, §1; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 78, §1.

Destination Expert
for New Orleans
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8. Re: Legal Drinking Age

Our grandson is 23 and is engaged to a 20 year old. If we bring them to NO, will one of us be allowed to buy her a drink (we aren't her legal guardians of course)...or will they just not question it? I don't want to get caught in a sticky situation. Of course, by the time we are able to get back to NO again, she might have turned 21 and this will all be moot!

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Legal Drinking Age

Good info, herm. Please allow me to make a couple of comments and/or observations.

You'll notice that there is no minimum age stated for consumption of alcohol when a parent or guardian over the age of 21 has purchased the alcohol. In Louisiana, parents or guardians over the age of 21 can purchase alcohol for their children/wards, regardless of the age of the children/wards. Not sayin' that it's a good idea if the children are very young. I'm just restating the law.

One of the other quirks regarding the sale/serving of alcohol in our state is that someone can get a bar card when they're 18. It's common practice for clubs to have servers and bartenders between the ages of 18 and 21. They can serve it but they can't drink it.

And, as bcla pointed out, even though the law permits parents and guardians to purchase and serve alcohol to their children/wards under the age of 21, the final arbiters in clubs and bars are the owners of the establishments.

Blenheim, Canada
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10. Re: Legal Drinking Age

excellent clairifactions, Rod! No, it's not a good idea for the very young! Now to jlr...technically, you would be breaking the law, since you are not parents/legal guardians and your grandson is not the spouse! You'll have to wait till she's 21 or they get married! :) Some places wont question it--but others may....