Feb 212013

The owner of Jimmy’s Music Club may be taking his fight to reopen his renowned club straight to City Hall, but a group of Carrollton neighborhood residents told him Thursday night that they aren’t his problem.

In fact, the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association said, they’d like to sit down and try to figure out a way to support him.

Caught by the city’s ban on new alcohol establishments opening in the Carrollton area without explicit permission from the City Council, Jimmy Anselmo is seeking to appeal the denial of his application for a liquor license — in effect, asking the Alcohol Beverage Control board to overrule the City Council. Many of Anselmo’s supporters who showed up at the Thursday-night meeting of the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association said the group should join Anselmo in demanding that ban be rescinded.

Neighborhood resident and Jimmy’s supporter Drew Ward said the ban allows the association to force prospective businesses into agreements that put them at a competitive disadvantage.

“Nobody should be bullied into something,” Ward said.

Association members, however, said their role in the discussion has been misconstrued. They never requested the moratorium, they said, but while it has been in place they have used it to work with a number of businesses — such as Oak Wine Bar, Cowbell, Tru Burger and the upcoming Mellow Mushroom — toward reasonable limits on noise, trash and hours.

“Just because somebody says they want to discuss something does not mean they want to stop you from opening your business,” said outgoing association president Ann Wolfe.

The association members — and even some neighbors there to support Jimmy’s reopening — said they had their own concern, that the bar wouldn’t become a repeat of the Frat House. They described horror stories of obnoxious Frat House patrons vandalizing homes similar to those recently described by Councilwoman Susan Guidry, and said they were wary because Anselmo owned the property while that was going on.

The new operators, Ted Cuccia and Bradley Vega, replied that they felt their project was suffering from unfair preconceptions perhaps in a similar way that CRNA feels. Every time they turn around, they have to answer for that bar, they said, when what they plan will be a 21-and-up music venue that caters to an older, more responsible crowd.

“It’s not the Frat House anymore,” Anselmo said.

Ultimately, CRNA members said, even if they were to oppose the moratorium, other neighborhood groups in the Carrollton area support it much more strongly and would fight to keep it in place. Meanwhile, they asked, won’t the legal fight against the moratorium be more time-consuming and costly than just working within it?

Anselmo and the new proprietors replied that time was their greatest enemy, that they had first applied for their liquor license last summer, had already waited six months for it to be denied, and now understand that seeking a moratorium waiver will take another six months.

To that, the association members promised to act. First, they said, they will inquire of Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s office if the process can be expedited. Second, both groups agreed that more input from immediate neighbors was needed, and promised to hold a special meeting on the topic.

Finally, the association said they’ll work swiftly to draft a good-neighbor agreement they could support, getting it finalized in 30 days so that the association is not the roadblock.

To read live coverage of the meeting, see below.

  • ksvb3

    IF the neighborhood association, the property owner and the business owner can come to an agreement that would be a start.
    Some of the comments I have read on this subject make me wonder where the writers live and why they don’t seem to care about the Quality of Life of the residents/neighbors?
    Please remember that the City of New Orleans is first comprised of its people and then the culture of the different groups , the food and then music. After all you are not going to have music if there are no citizens to play or hear and what kind of music would there be if the citizens were hungry? After all it is Life, Liberty and then the pursuit of Happiness.

    • kmsoap

      This falls under liberty, ksvb3. The owners are attempting to restore a property that they own to its prior use as a music venue. They are people, people who have made a significant investment and should be at liberty to pursue their chosen occupation on their privately owned property.
      If you want to control everything that goes on in your neighborhood, I suggest you purchase every piece of property that you find objectionable. Anselmo’s liberty comes before your happiness.

      • ksvb3

        Mr. Anselmo lost his what you are erroniously calling “Liberty” when his ABO PERMIT ( permitted with conditions by the City) was revoked because of his tenant, The Frat House. What is strange is that he said in one of his posts that he was not aware of his loss until last summer. What a businessman? Remember this is not a residential piece of property, but the problems it caused infringed upon the residents,their lives and their investments & their places of residence.

        Anselmo’s “happiness” regarding this piece of property will only come to him when he sits down with the neighborhood association & neighbors crafts a deal.

        • kmsoap

          Mr. Anselmo’s permit was not revoked. The Frat House permit is also still intact. The reason nobody wants to take over the Frat House permit, which is how other establishments have beat the moratorium, is because there is still pending litigation attached to the corporation that owns it. The Frat House was no better tenant than they were neighbor.
          None of this, of course, changes the fact that the “moratorium ad nauseum” is illegal.

          • NotYaMamma

            Bottom line: If The Frat House litigation isn’t settled by their owners, the liability will fall on the landlord who IS responsible for what his tenants are doing (and they didn’t do much to contribute to any quality of life in the neighborhood, just nuisance and crime.

      • NotYaMamma

        He lost that ‘liberty’ when he did NOTHING to stop the crime(s) of his tenant, The Frat House.

  • Dauphine’s House

    I attended the meeting and have some small corrections: The Blight Committee Report the property on Cambronne (1321 Cambronne) had already been abated and remolded. It is currently for sale, with the current owner / flipper stating that once he has sold it that he would then proceed to abate and build a new home on the blighted property adjacent to it.

    Second, a representative from Guidry’s office was present at this meeting but did not speak.

    Finally, when Jimmy asked if we were sure that the patrons that were urinating on our lawns were from the Frat House, more than one resident responded with a “Yes!”

  • A friend just received this correspondence from Kelly Butler: “As part of the research into whether a new moratorium was warranted, Councilmember Guidry sought the opinions of the relevant neighborhood associations. Based on neighborhood input our office received, including an e-mail from the Carrollton/Riverbend Neighborhood Association stating there was an overwhelming response to creating a moratorium and the need for review of each ABO application for the area, the Councilmember made the decision to create the Carrollton/Riverbend Moratorium.”

  • Move to harahan Susan Guidry.

  • ksvb3, you just don’t get it. THE FRAT HOUSE DID NOT HAVE THEIR LICENSE REVOKED. And if you read the minutes above, the board members did not request this moratorium as Ms. Guidry said. Our immediate neighbors were at the meeting and are giving us their support. This moratorium was drawn up and placed over basically the same area and in force for 4 years which is illegal by our City Charter. The city does NOT inform you of the moratorium because it is meant to be a temporary ban which only lasts a year.

    • NotYaMamma

      Whose immediate neighbors? You live in Jefferson Parish.