A squabble over legislation turned physical late Tuesday night, when two Louisiana lawmakers held a fistfight inside a downtown Baton Rouge bar.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette) said Sen. Norby Chabert (R-Houma) hit him multiple times during the dust-up at the River Room on Laurel Street. Bishop did not return any punches. The fight was first reported by the USA Today Network.
“We had a gentleman’s disagreement and settled it with our hands,” Bishop told the outlet. “He’s not happy with me over a bill.”
Chabert, who leads the Senate Natural Resources Committee, said he was upset at Bishop over coastal policy. Bishop is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“We feel very passionate about the issues we both have fought so hard for,” Chabert told Senators on the floor Wednesday. “Every now and then, like brothers, you go to a place you shouldn’t go. We’re both better men than that.”
Police were called to the bar, but no arrests were made.
Bishop apologized for the altercation Wednesday morning on the House floor.
“The integrity of this body is one thing I cherish and hold dear,” he said. “If I embarrassed any of you, I truly apologize.”
The representative jokingly added, “The next time, it will just be dueling guns.”
On his monthly-call in radio show, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he expects Bishop and Chabert will remain friends following the exchange.
“Every now and then, people get too passionate, and things get out of hand,” he said. “It doesn’t exactly reflect well on the House or Senate or state government, but I think it’s something we can all get past.”
Lawmakers have been poking fun at the fisticuffs. Bishop’s fellow House members wrapped crime scene tape around his desk in jest. Senate President John Alario suggested that House and Senate members cancel their annual basketball game, in exchange for a boxing match.