Competing sets of proposals for a new ordinance outlining how sound and noise issues should be enforced in New Orleans were discussed Thursday evening before a Carrollton neighborhood group, but the presentations from each group were so gently put that neighbors wondered where the actual controversy lies.
Carol Allen and Meg Lousteau of the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents, and Associates appeared before the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association on Thursday to present the “Seven Essentials of a Fair and Enforceable Noise Ordinance” crafted by a coalition of members of neighborhood groups around the city. Also on the agenda was Hannah Kreiger-Benson, a representative of the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, which has developed five different principles they would like to see made part of a noise ordinance.
The “Seven Essentials” presented by Lousteau and Allen include: soundproofing requirements for music venues, a full-time enforcement officer, sound readings taken from the venue’s property lines, higher fines, more public notice about mayoralty permits and lower decibel levels in the French Quarter.
The Music and Culture Coalition’s principles are more general, Kreiger-Benson said. They want to see regulations specific to each neighborhood, mediation before fines, “professional” enforcement and education about the laws, “clarity” on street-performance rules and protection for cultural traditions. They also want to make sure that fines apply to businesses, not individual artists, she said.
The presentations were made so genially — Lousteau and Allen began by complimenting MaCCNO on their work, and Benson-Kreiger emphasized that they don’t like to be characterized as opposing “sides” — that one of the first questions was where they actually disagree. To that, Kreiger-Benson said they are concerned that the French Quarter decibel levels are too low to be realistic, and Allen said they worry that mediation might be a way for rogue businesses to avoid enforcement.
Ultimately, the neighborhood association took no votes on the issue and really discussed it very little other than asking questions of the presenters. Association president Martin Huber said Thursday’s meeting was intended primarily for fact-finding, and any decision will come later.
Other items discussed Thursday:
- Councilwoman Susan Guidry gave brief updates on neighborhood issues and invited residents to a Carrollton town hall at 5:30 p.m. Monday at St. Matthew’s church, where she and representatives of various city agencies will make presentations.
- The association voted to support the request of a nail salon at 1000 South Carrollton to be able to stay open an hour later than currently allowed, at 7 p.m.
- Katherine Winters of Oak Wine Bar presented plans to expand the establishment into a courtyard and building next door and invited the association to attend an open-house meeting at the bar, 8124 Oak, at 5:30 p.m. next Thursday.
- The association voted to create a donation fund for installing anti-crime cameras around the neighborhood.
To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below: