Seventeen-year-old Sanai Butler is a graduate of Warren Easton Charter School in New Orleans. To celebrate her achievement, she wore a bikini top that matched her leggings and customized graduation stole and mortarboard to an eating establishment called Lula Restaurant Distillery.
Apparently, the owner’s wife, Erin Bourgeois, took offense to the bikini top, perhaps she thought it was too “sexy” for her restaurant, and tried to have the honor student arrested, The Times-Picayune reported.
Butler rolled into Lula with 28 relatives and friends, including her mother, all of whom are Black people.
At one point, Butler decided to use the bathroom, and that was when Bourgeois confronted her and told the minor that she was dressed “inappropriately” at “her restaurant.”
When Butler returned to her table, her party noticed she was visibly upset. She explained what went down in the bathroom, which caused her mother to become enraged.
“This is a child at the end of the day—if you had something to say about her outfit, you could’ve approached me as her mother,” La Shawn Butler said.
Bourgeois approached the table to address Butler again about her outfit. From what the police report indicated, “three disruptive” occurred between “adult patrons engaged with another table of patrons, and one of the female owners of Lula.”
Management released a statement saying that it apologizes to those who witnessed and felt discriminated against but it failed to mention how Bourgeois instigated the verbal altercation, which she told the family that she can say whatever she wanted.
Bourgeois’ misuse of the police was felt throughout the restaurant, including a new employee who said that she quit her job because she, just like the Butler family, thought the owner’s wife’s motivations were racial.
“It didn’t have to get to that point,” the employee said.
The misuse of 911 also reminded the Butlers of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis man whose death followed after a store cashier unwittingly accused him of using a fake $20 bill. Former officer Derek Chauvin applied his knee on his back and neck in a prone position, killing him. His death was rule a homicide by medical examiners.
“That could’ve gone so many different ways,” Butler’s mother, La Shawn said.
The young graduate’s night at the restaurant was ruined, but on the other hand, she was accepted to attend Talladega College in Alabama.