Pajamas in Public a Real Crime?

Shreveport already has a law against sagging pants, now sleepwear is the target

Some would say wearing pajama pants out of the house should be reported to the fashion police, but one Louisiana parish wants to make it a real crime to wear PJs in public.

Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Williams said a recent shopping experience inspired him to propose a ban.

"I observed a couple of young men in loose fitting PJs on, probably with their private parts about to come out and no underwear," he said.

Williams said he's working with the parish attorney on the ordinance wording and he'll soon present it to the commission.

"The moral fiber in our community is dwindling," Williams said. "If not now, when? Because it's pajama pants today, next it will be underwear tomorrow."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana says it will fight for the right of Louisiana residents to wear pajamas wherever they please. The ACLU sent an open letter to Williams saying "clothing is a form of expression protected under the Constitution of the United States."

"I'm not going to entertain what the ACLU is talking about," said Williams. "It's a violation to walk around with your body loose, and law-abiding citizens also should be protected."

Shreveport is the seat of Caddo Parish and already has a no-sagging law to stop residents from wearing their pants below their waist in public, but there is concern how to enforce the ban and what constitutes pajamas.

Williams told the Shreveport Times garments sold in the sleepwear section of department stores could be considered pajamas. While he hasn't drafted his proposed ban yet, he told the newspaper he thinks violators should not go to jail but perform community service.

Residents of Caddo Parish seem to side with the ACLU.

"To me, somebody who's in the military, fighting for somebody to be able to go around wearing whatever they want to -- then, they should be able to do that," said Shreveport resident Chris Kennedy.

Williams said he hopes to introduce the ordinance after he talks to his fellow commissioners in Februrary.

A similar campaign was held in Dallas in 2010 when Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway waged a battle against sagging -- the intentional drooping of pants below the waistline designed to expose one's underpants.

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