WHEN I SPOTTED A UNIQUE STATEMENT on a downtown La Crosse, Wisc., bar recently, I considered the slogan creative genius. I haven’t changed my opinion. The“If Mom calls, tell her I’m at The Library!” excuse is sure to appeal to the college-age crowd that frequents the bars along Third Street South just blocks from the Mississippi River. I mean, who can lie to their mom?
With a scholarly interior atmosphere—I’m told, I didn’t go inside the bar—The Library Bar! certainly presents a new spin on “going to the library.”
Study the book spines on the decorative awning and you’ll find Call of the Wild, Webster’s Drinktionary, Our Two-Party System (and they’re not talking politics), Wildlife of North America, The Boston Ale Party, The Power of Positive Drinking and more. Clearly, this bar targets college students. Why wouldn’t they?
If La Crosse didn’t have so many alcohol-related river drownings, I probably would maintain my light-hearted attitude toward partying in this town. I have no issues with responsible bars or with responsible drinking.
But it’s tough to ignore that since 1997, nine young white males have drowned here in the Mississippi, most of them after a night of too much imbibing.
Those men were on my mind when I walked through Riverside Park in La Crosse. I wish they hadn’t been, but they were. As I admired sculptures, watched boats zip by, talked to an old man fishing for walleye, peered over the river wall at six fledgling ducklings in the dark, murky waters far below, I couldn’t push from my thoughts that this river has become a watery grave for too many.
© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling