On the evening of Sunday, December 14 a patron of the Sea Cave Arcade and Bar in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans allegedly began covering a vintage arcade cabinet with stickers from a supermarket price gun. When arcade owner Judah Lea asked him to leave, the customer responded by asking if he was “interested in dying.” That was the beginning of a really fucked-up night at the Sea Cave.
As reported by Nola.com, the customer, who goes by the name “The Wolf,” was a relatively new member of the Sea Cave who had already developed a reputation for being rude and making other patrons uncomfortable. After the initial confrontation, Lea refunded The Wolf’s membership fee and kicked him out. Out in the parking lot, The Wolf brandished a butterfly knife—the official knife of someone trying to look cool—and mentioned owning an assault rifle before leaving at around 7:30 p.m.
A half-hour later he returned and allegedly locked the arcade’s front doors with a bicycle lock, trapping customers and employees inside. Then he started smashing windows, sending glass flying everywhere.
The employees and customers escaped through the back door. They called police, but by the time they arrived, The Wolf had already fled.
Later that night, according to owner Lea, the vandal came back. Lea says he watched on security cameras from his home as The Wolf vandalized the arcade with an axe inside and out. Again Lea called the cops, again they arrived too late. Between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. The Wolf smashed every monitor, arcade machine, television, and window in the Sea Cave.
Lea estimates the total damage between $30,000 and $50,000. The photos, which you can see in full at the Sea Cave’s Facebook page, are heartbreaking.
But wait, there’s more. Monday evening at around 10 p.m. a group of employees and regular patrons were helping clean up the mess when The Wolf allegedly returned, this time brandishing a handgun. According to arcade goer Matt Ray, the group were taping up busted windows when The Wolf ran up behind them, gun in hand, and shouted, “Tell them to shut it down, I’m cartel.” The group fled and The Wolf ran off.
New Orleans police arrested The Wolf at 11:45 p.m. on Monday night, but have yet to release further details. In the meantime, the arcade is safe.
Now owner Lea, who launched the barcade in its original location back in 2016, is looking for help getting the Sea Cave back into gaming shape. Not a single one of his hand-painted arcade machines escaped the incidents without damage. Vintage TVs hooked to older consoles were smashed. Lea has set up a GoFundme campaign to help take care of damages not covered by insurance and to keep his employees paid during the downtime.
Hopefully the Sea Cave will be back in business shortly, serving snacks, drinks, and a place to safely enjoy video games, arcade and otherwise. We need more places for people to play together and fewer people referring to themselves with corny nicknames and acting like maniacs.