The city council of Alexandria, Louisiana, has chosen to join other municipalities that are bravely fighting against the greatest scourge of our day, namely the problem of people wearing low-riding pants that do not conceal all of their undergarments. On August 28, the council met to, among other things, address this agenda item:
To consider final adoption of an ordinance adding Section 15-128 to the Alexandria City Code relative to appropriate dress for persons in certain public places; to prohibit public exposure in certain attire; to provide for fines and civil penalties.
The measure passed unanimously.
The text is not available yet on the council's website, but if it is anything like the other ordinances on this popping up around the country, it criminalizes the wearing of pants that hang a certain distance below the waist and/or expose any portion of the wearer's undergarments. Marshall said that the law imposes fines that begin at 25 dollars and go "up every time the pants go down." It will appear in Chapter 15 (the criminal code) just after 15-127, which bans fortune-telling, palmistry, phrenology, or any "activities of a similar nature," even if no fee is charged. This important chapter also criminalizes, among other things, the use within city limits of "'silly string' or any product which, upon activation, makes a string-like substance by means of a propellant" (Section 15-101(c)), again showing that the city council has its priorities firmly in the right order.
Council member Louis Marshall told reporters that "[w]e unanimously passed the legislation because we have had so many complaints from citizens who don't want to see young men with pants hanging so low, showing their underwear and, in some cases, their posterior." He insisted that "[t]he legislation is gender neutral: we wouldn't want to see young ladies walking down the street showing their underwear either," he said. "Dressing like that -- it's just not right or decent."
In Shreveport, council member Calvin Lester agreed, adding three other adjectives to the list: "unsightly, unseemly and disrespectful." The Shreveport council passed a similar law, though only by a 4-3 vote. The mayor must still approve the law in Shreveport but has reportedly said he will do so.
Added to the existing ordinance in Delcambre, Louisiana, which punishes low pants by up to $500 or six months in jail (presumably for exceptionally low pants), Louisiana is developing a de facto Decency Corridor roughly stretching along Interstate Highway 49:
A refuge, possibly, for those who can no longer live in an America besieged by unseemly and disrespectful undergarments.