The state of Louisiana does not have a true statewide curfew law, however the state does prohibit juveniles under 17 from driving during certain periods. That being said, each parish has the sovereignty to establish its own curfews for juveniles or for all residents in cases of emergency. The parish has a lot of discretion when deciding the details of a curfew, including deciding when to implement these laws, who they will affect and what time the curfew will begin or end.
Louisiana Nighttime Teen Driving Laws
Teens can get their licenses after turning 16 in Louisiana as long as they've had a learner's permit for 180 days. If they are not yet 17 though, they can only obtain an intermediate license. This license allows them to drive alone, but they cannot drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a licensed driver aged 21 or older, or an 18-year-old licensed sibling is in the car with them. Also, they cannot drive with more than one nonfamily member under the age of 21 in the car between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed adult 21 or older.
Jefferson Parish Juvenile Curfew
Jefferson Parish has a year-round curfew for minors under 17 prohibiting them from being out between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Monday through Thursday, and between midnight and 5 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They can be excepted from these curfews for sanctioned school events, and the curfew does not apply if the juvenile is accompanied by an adult who has custody over him, such as a parent. Places of entertainment, refreshment or amusement, such as bowling alleys, restaurants or movie theaters must not allow minors to stay on the premises after curfew starts unless the minor is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Juveniles who are out during these hours can be held and questioned by law enforcement. Parents who let their children violate curfew laws, and those who operate places of entertainment, refreshment or amusement and continue to serve minors after curfew starts can be sentenced to up to six months in jail or fined up to $500.
New Orleans Juvenile Curfew
New Orleans has a summer-only curfew that applies to those under 17. These prohibit minors from being out between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays. A stricter curfew applies to the French Quarter that prohibits unaccompanied minors from being out between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Minors cannot drive during the curfew period.
Juveniles under the age of 10 found outside without a parent or guardian during curfew hours will be taken into protective custody. If a minor under 17 is brought in for curfew violations three times in a calendar year, a summons to juvenile court will be issued, and the parent will face penalties for letting their child out after curfew.
Emergency Curfews in Louisiana
In the aftermath of dangerous emergencies, such as tornadoes or hurricanes, affected parishes may institute curfews. The hours of the curfew may vary, but generally start at some point at or after dusk until sometime before 6 a.m. Depending on the situation, the parish may or may not allow drivers to go to and from work during curfew hours. The purpose of these curfews is to keep the public safe for a variety of important reasons, including:
- Reducing instances of looting.
- Keeping people indoors where they have shelter.
- Leaving the roads open for first responder vehicles.
- Preventing injuries and other risks in areas with no power.
- Keeping sightseers and adventure seekers from clotting up areas of danger.