BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge has erected a tall fence to try to keep Louisiana State University students from crossing through a construction zone to reach a stretch of popular bars near campus, but students continue to ignore the barriers as they seek the shortest route to the booze.
The Advocate reports the city-parish erected the 7-foot (2.13-meter) barrier late Wednesday, alarmed at social media posts showing students trying to scale what was left of a concrete bridge over Bayou Fountain to reach the Tigerland entertainment district.
But that hasn’t stopped people from crossing the area. Matthew Westerfield, an LSU student who works at The House Bar, said he’s seen people jumping across the gap and walking in the water to cross the bayou.
“The fence is just cut off right there, so people could easily just walk around it if they wanted to,” Westerfield said.ADVERTISEMENT
Road crews shut the five decades-old bridge in late November and hope to have a new span in place by summer. Drivers must take a 2-mile (3.22-kilometer) detour to reach the bars.
Rather than take the longer route, some pedestrians have tried to cross the chasm by whatever means. The Advocate reports some have succeeded, while others have failed and hurt themselves.
Several LSU students at the bars said they had either crossed the river themselves or had seen it happen in videos on social media. Some said a barricade had been placed down on its side to help people cross.
“There were people jumping from the other side and all the girls were going down to two guys who were helping people up,” said Gabby Harvey.
Mark Armstrong, a spokesman for the city-parish, said a response stronger than a fence may be necessary to protect students unwilling to take the detour.
“The city-parish is considering strengthening security measures for the site including additional barricades, signage and additional police presence to enforce local laws with regard to trespassing and construction zones,” Armstrong said.
Marc Fraioli, the owner of Fred’s Bar & Grill in Tigerland, tried to negotiate with the city for a temporary bridge, but details couldn’t be worked out.
“We told people when they did this that a situation like that was going to take place,” he said. “I don’t mind seeing people making bad choices, I just don’t like seeing anybody get hurt from them. That’s really the gist of why we’re concerned.”