Police investigating student druggings at Uptown bars

An+LUPD+police+car+drives+down+Calhoun+St%2C+Wednesday%2C+Mar.+17%2C+2021.+The+New+Orleans+Police+Department+arrested+18-year-old+Jonas+Amaya+on+campus+Oct.+7+on+charges+of+simple+battery+and+MDMA.+File+Photo.

An LUPD police car drives down Calhoun St, Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021. The New Orleans Police Department arrested 18-year-old Jonas Amaya on campus Oct. 7 on charges of simple battery and MDMA. File Photo.

Madeline Taliancich, News Editor

Since the beginning of the semester, Loyola Police Chief Todd Warren noticed a pattern forming at Uptown bars.

Eight students, including several freshmen, who had been out at TJ Quills ended up heading to the hospital. 

Although they’d been out drinking, they told Warren that they were much drunker than they should have been considering how much they had to drink. Some students told him they thought they’d been drugged. 

These suspected druggings led to a raid of the Uptown bar Friday, Oct. 1, according to Warren. He said they weren’t looking for minors in possession of alcohol; they were looking for evidence of these suspected druggings and other violations. 

Thomas J. Barbera, the lawyer representing TJ Quills, said in a statement that the bar is cooperating with police and has strict policies in place to make sure customers are safe.

Barbera went on to say no one is “more interested in getting to the bottom of these allegations than the management and ownership of TJ Quills.” 

The investigation into the druggings has been a joint effort between NOPD’s Second District, Loyola’s and Tulane’s police departments, as well as the Alcohol and Tobacco Control and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal.

Warren said he spoke with the second district commander of NOPD who had been hearing similar things about druggings at bars. 

“They agreed there was a concerning pattern,” he said. 

Police didn’t make any arrests during the raid and no students were cited. 

Since the search, both Loyola and Tulane have released safety guidance to students, advising them to exercise caution when going out to bars in the area. Although the safety email from Warren mentioned the raid at TJ Quills, he said he wanted to “make clear that this danger is not limited to any single bar” in the email. 

Warren said he hopes media coverage will make victims who had not reported being drugged feel more comfortable coming forward as the investigation continues.