Apr 302017

Pro-monument protestors can be seen in front of the Jefferson Davis monument across from The Holy Ground bar.

By Claire Byun

A popular Mid-City Bar is at the center of controversy after pro-monument protestors say they were refused service by bar staff. The bar’s staff, however, said they haven’t refused anyone, but have been barraged with negative reviews by those supporting the Confederate flag.

The Holy Ground, a popular local bar on the corner of Canal Street and South Jefferson Davis Parkway, has received poor online reviews from pro-monument protestors camping out at the Jefferson Davis Monument, staff say. Those protestors say the bar has refused them service and “trash talks” them while “liquoring up the enemy.”

Anny Poirier, long-time patron of Holy Ground, said the bar hasn’t refused service to anyone but does require customers to purchase something before using the restroom. She also acknowledged there are some patrons – not regulars – who stand outside the bar and “egg on” the protestors.

“I understand [the protestors] are frustrated that people are yelling at them,” Poirier said. “It’s not us – not the staff or the regulars – it’s just a public space, and anyone can be an a**hole.”

Protestors, on the other hand, said the bar’s staff have refused to serve monument supporters who have attempted to purchase food or drink. There’s no public bathrooms near the monument, so protestors said they attempted to purchase a drink at the bar to later use the restroom.

Arlene Barnum, from Oklahoma, said Holy Ground staff shooed the protestors away.

“They said we weren’t welcome here,” Barnum said.

John Latour, Holy Grounds manager, said the staff haven’t received any verbal threats and are making their best efforts to treat everyone the same, regardless of their positions on the monument. Latour said the bar is trying to serve everyone equally and keep everyone inside the bar safe, while operating business as usual.

A sign on the bar’s bathroom policy hangs on the door of The Holy Ground.

Barnum said she “knows the rules,” and understands everyone must be a paying customer to use the bathrooms. That’s why she attempted to purchase a Coke, but was refused by staff, Barnum said. She said she was surprised by the refusal, since she expected the business to remain neutral.

Porier reiterated that staff have never refused service to anyone, and welcomed a group from the pro-monument protests earlier this week.

“We know there are people who sit over there and don’t like us, but we never thought it would be staff,” Barnum said.

“It’s just upsetting, coming from people who don’t even know us or this place,” Poirier said.

Cleo Jenkins, a protestor from New Orleans, said she wasn’t surprised by the alleged refusal. She said the protest group doesn’t venture across the street near Holy Ground and has found other restrooms to use, if necessary.

Jenkins encouraged other protestors to refrain from drinking during their stay in front of the monument, since mixing alcohol and protests “never leads to anything good.” Barnum said while none of the protestors go to Holy Ground anymore, the alleged refusal is a civil rights concern.

“It’s something that needs to be addressed,” Barnum said.

Holy Ground’s Yelp page has noted at least three bad reviews over the past few days bemoaning drunk regulars, bad food and “discrimination against the public.” A post of the “We Support the Confederate Flag” Facebook page – which has posted live videos from the Jeff Davis protest, urges followers to “Crush [Holy Ground] on Yelp now to kill their business.”

A post from the We Support the Confederate Flag group’s Facebook page.

“F*** them if they aren’t going to take our money (which I’m against, boycott, but sometimes convenience is a necessity), deny us service, liquor up the enemy while trash talking us, and being the home base for the anti-fa at Davis Monument,” the post goes on to say.

But locals have counteracted those bad reviews with positive posts of their own. One reviewer warns readers to not let “the out-of-town Confederate Flag-lovin’ entitled snowflake protestors fool you.”

A Yelp review urging readers to ignore poor reviewers from the Jefferson Davis protestors.

Holy Grounds staff deactivated the bar’s Facebook page early Sunday morning due to the influx of negative posts from people out of town, Latour said. The bar’s staff haven’t refused anyone service, Latour reiterated, and regular patrons haven’t threatened those supporting the monument. The bar hasn’t taken a position on the monument controversy and staff said they just want everything to return to usual.

“We just want the peace, we just want to not be part of this anymore,” Poirier said. “We’re just unfortunately situated near it.”

  27 Responses to “Mid-City bar attacked on social media; Jeff Davis protestors say they were refused service”

  1. Prytania Bar’s owner defended Holy Ground on Facebook which led to protesters attacking his bar on social media as well. People who have never been there leaving 1-star reviews.

    • The fact is, there ARE people form the Holy Ground who did go over to the monument numerous times to instigate and threaten the monument protectors.

      The article should interview both sides equally for the truth,

      • “People” does not necessarily mean “staff.” The article clearly states : “She also acknowledged there are some patrons – not regulars – who stand outside the bar and “egg on” the protestors.” Bars are not responsible for the behavior of their patrons. It further states: ““It’s not us – not the staff or the regulars – it’s just a public space, and anyone can be an a**hole.” The article quotes two people from both sides, John LaTour (manager) and Annie Poirier (regular patron) and Cleo Jenkins and Arlene Barnum from the protest side. Two for two. How is that not equal?

      • You are correct. The comments weren’t made to their page before they refused them access, but after that and after the instigating drunks from the bar came to the monument supporters to harass. Look at videos and you will see for yourselves.

      • No, the bar should not treat inbred racists who are perpetuating hate the same as decent folk who don’t worship traitors to the Republic. The bar is being far too polite to the racists ‘defending’ a monument to a slave owner and a traitor.

        The South fought a disgraceful and treasonous war to preserve the disgusting practice of keeping other humans as slaves, and were completely defeated by the only American heroes in that war, the Union Army. Jefferson Davis was a disgrace to America, and only scrum call him anything nicer.

  2. “Arlene Barnum, from Oklahoma…”
    Surely there is something she can protest at home.
    Or perhaps she is one of the paid Confederate flag-waving protesters from out of town.
    Please go home, y’all!
    People who don’t agree with you are not “the enemy.”
    Nor is the Holy Ground bar your enemy.
    You will not “Crush them” or “kill their business.”
    The Holy Ground is a decent, friendly, good neighbor kind of a place.
    Myself and many folks I know are planning to go there after all of this is over to toast the departure of y’all and the ridiculous disruption you and your rebel flags have caused in our normally peaceful neighborhood.

    • She was born and raised in louisiana

    • Ms Barnum is originally from Louisiana and has an interesting family history. Like many of us whose ancestors came to this country by way of the New Orleans she is passionate about preserving history for future generations.

    • If anyone was paid it was the instigators standing along Canal St.. Paid by Landrieu, no doubt.

  3. sure they were found out so now its deny, deny ,deny, I noticed you also left out thefact that the person who you spoke to for the monument is a black lady., so maybe they denied her service because of her color of her skin instead?

  4. The Holy Grounds manager did refuse service. As for the yelling, if its not the staff or the regulars, then the staff needs to do a better job of policing their own area. Young adults loitering out in front of their business for hours, yelling and cursing at the protesters, and at times coming across the street and threatening the people at the monument. Over the last few nights they’ve been threatened with broken beer bottles, several have been assaulted by patrons from the bar, and Ms. Barnum was attacked and her cellphone smashed by people hanging near the bar. And unlike having to take the bar’s word for it, we have video of all these events. Maybe MidCityMessenger needs to do a bit more fact checking before they write an article.

  5. The Holy Ground bar is one of the most decent bars in New Orleans. I have been going there since it’s inseption. There has never been a problem there until these people protecting the statue came. The bar is very laid back and maybe these people going in for a drink to use the bathroom were in a hurry. That is not the attitude of the Holy Ground we are all friends. All I can say is that the Statue belongs in a museum it is a fine piece of art.

    • Yes the monument supporters all seven nondrinking of them, not hundred self hating liberal drunks. That sat outside and broke bottles ,threw eggs and maced people with wasp spray. You guys in black with your soap dodging ability are amazing.

    • If people are so offended by the Confederate Monuments and want them removed then are we to remove every Monument across the country that has anything to do with any and all conflicts this country has endured? Where does the line get drawn? Why is it what one side supports is any more right or wrong than the other side? Imagine the United States of America without the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Monument or Mount Rushmore and Chief Crazy Horse to name a few. I hope you are getting an idea of what the good ‘ol USA is beginning to look like because when all is said and done she will be nothing more than a barren landscape.

  6. There is no civil rights case here. There is no law that prohibits discrimination base discrimination on political affiliation. Such a law does not exist.

    • Tell those people that would not bake a cake for out of state lesbians…

      • That was a violation of the state law. Sexual orientation is protected in that state. It wouldn’t be a violation in Louisiana where it is not protected. State’s rights.

    • She was black

      • And yet it is being said that she was denied due to her political affiliation, so her race is not relevant. As I watched several Black people get served when I was there for lunch, that seems an unproductive line of defense.

  7. Best Business practice would be to remain silent on your stance during controversy, no business would be loss… they have allowed themselves to be dragged into the drama & now they’re upset,

    • Did the bar make an official statement denouncing protestors? If not, then they have remained silent on their stance. “One drink minimum” is a fairly standard practice and that seems to be all the bar itself has enforced.

  8. Miss you guys at The Holy Ground! Wish I could be there watching the pot get stirred.

  9. “Barnum said while none of the protestors go to Holy Ground anymore, the alleged refusal is a civil rights concern.” Am I the only one catching the hilarity in that quote? This from a woman promoting a confederate era monument of racism? Ya know, from the Civil War? Apparently, only her civil rights matter. And for those spouting other hilariously ignorant quotes like, “the bar is liquoring up the enemy” WHOA there soldier, the war ended a long time ago, and sorry to be the barer of bad news but it ended badly for the confederacy. Get a grip on reality and join us in making great strides in a modern age of equality, education and brotherhood. If it’s an “enemy” you’re looking for, please direct all that angry energy towards ISIS or North Korea, m’kay?

  10. I have been there with My Uncle. Good Cold Beer I have to say, but the Owner is really a jackass who thinks he knows everything..

  11. I know this bar, I’ve been to this bar, and I know some of the staff there personally. Though I haven’t been there while these protests are in progress, I find it a difficult stretch to believe the staff of THE HOLY GROUND is guilty of any unprofessional impropriety. I’ve never witness any sort of trouble stemming from this bar, and if there’s trouble a’brewin’ there now, I can only imagine that it’s being instigated by self-entitled non-locals, most likely looking for a free ride (or piss, whichever the case may be).
    THE HOLY GROUND is located in the Mid-City area of New Orleans, where I lived for fourteen years pre-Katrina. I still consider it my neighborhood. It’s an area that’s a huge part of my life, and indeed, my own personal heritage. Fact is, THE HOLY GROUND is a great little neighborhood watering hole, so go there, have a drink or two (or three or four), tell John that I sent you, and ENJOY!

  12. The reality is that there never has been any issues at the HG until the out of town Confederates decided to show up.

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