Tatonut closes doors in protest; Owners talk about 'intimidating - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tatonut closes doors in protest; Owners talk about 'intimidating environment' downtown

Ocean Springs leaders promote the city as a vibrant and eclectic arts community, but downtown business owners David and Theresa Mohler are comparing Government Street to a mini Bourbon Street. (Photo source: WLOX) Ocean Springs leaders promote the city as a vibrant and eclectic arts community, but downtown business owners David and Theresa Mohler are comparing Government Street to a mini Bourbon Street. (Photo source: WLOX)
On Friday morning barricades were put along Government Street in preparation for the parade Saturday afternoon. The Mohlers were upset there was no communication and customers didn't have anywhere to park. (Photo source: Facebook) On Friday morning barricades were put along Government Street in preparation for the parade Saturday afternoon. The Mohlers were upset there was no communication and customers didn't have anywhere to park. (Photo source: Facebook)
That's when they decided to close on Saturday and put a sign in their door that said, "Closed due to intimidating environment." (Photo source: WLOX) That's when they decided to close on Saturday and put a sign in their door that said, "Closed due to intimidating environment." (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Ocean Springs leaders promote the city as a vibrant and eclectic arts community, but owners of a popular donut shop are comparing Government Street to a mini Bourbon Street.

"We have had two different... public art displays that have been taken or destroyed," TatoNut owner David Mohler said. "We have had a person robbed at gunpoint on the back street here, issues that shouldn't be going on in downtown Ocean Springs."

David and Theresa Mohler come to work early in the morning and say they have seen people urinating on their building, fighting, and just last week someone running down the street with a chair from a bar.

"All that ends with a lot more police presence. And if you were going to think that's a good idea to promote that and want your town to go in that direction, you would have to have policemen to control it," David Mohler said. "The police say they can't afford it. They don't have the resources. That's the city's fault. So you can't yell at them, but the city tells us that's not true, so who is telling us the truth?"

On Friday morning barricades were put along Government Street in preparation for the parade Saturday afternoon. The Mohlers were upset there was no communication and customers didn't have anywhere to park. That's when they decided to close on Saturday and put a sign in their door that said, "Closed due to intimidating environment."

"We were very upset about needing to make that decision. It was not an easy decision to make, but just really felt like the straw that broke the camel's back," Theresa Mohler said.

"A customer came in and asked us where they should take their family to watch the parade without being intimidated by drunkenness in the street," David Mohler said.

The Mohlers hope they can talk with city officials to find a way to make Ocean Springs enjoyable and safe for everyone.

WLOX News reached out to Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran who said bar owners complain they are losing customers because of too much police presence. The mayor also said the barricades Friday were placed along the sidewalk, and did not block parking places.

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