Judge Clears Way For Glow Sticks At New Orleans Rave

Theater had been required to ban them under plea bargain reached with DEA.

Ravers found an unlikely hero on Thursday in a U.S. District Court judge who cleared the way for glow sticks at a New Orleans rave.

Promoters at New Orleans' State Palace Theater had been prohibited from allowing glow sticks, pacifiers, handheld massagers and chill rooms at their events under a plea bargain reached with the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA sued them in January under the federal "crack house" law for holding raves at which Ecstasy allegedly was consumed.

But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the U.S. attorney's office from enforcing the plea bargain. The move follows a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union that claims such a ban violates ravers' First Amendment right to free speech and Fourth Amendment right against unlawful seizure of legal property (see "ACLU Sues To Help Ravers Get Their Glow Sticks Back").

Porteous set a hearing in the case for December, according to ACLU spokesperson Emily Whitfield. Whitfield said the civil-rights organization is concerned that the U.S. attorney's office and the DEA are using the New Orleans case to discourage raves elsewhere in the country.

"We believe the government intends for it to have a chilling effect," she said.

Spokespersons for the district court and the U.S. attorney's office could not be reached for comment.