Load `em up, bartenders: Louisiana's drinking age fell back down to 18 Friday when the state Supreme Court struck down laws making it illegal for people under 21 to buy or consume alcohol.

Friday's 4-3 ruling, effective immediately, makes Louisiana the only state in the nation where the drinking age is under 21.Despite the national trend toward a higher drinking age, Louisiana lawmakers have long resisted raising it above 18. In 1985, Louisiana became the last state in the nation to raise the drinking age to 21 - and only after the federal government threatened to cut transportation money to the state.

However, the 1985 law came with a loophole: It made it illegal for anyone ages 18-to-20 to buy or drink liquor, but it was legal to sell it to them.

After 10 years of lobbying by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, lawmakers voted last August to include criminal penalties for the sale of alcohol to 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds.

But in a 4-3 ruling, the justices struck down the 1995 law as unconstitutional age discrimination.