Garden District, Broadmoor, St. Charles Avenue and Maple Street groups support stronger noise ordinance

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Four Uptown neighborhood groups — the Broadmoor Improvement Association, the Garden District Association, Maple Area Residents Inc. and St. Charles Avenue Association — are among 13 petitioning city officials to strengthen the city’s noise ordinance, arguing for measures such as designating a specific individual with enforcing it and measuring sound levels from venues’ property lines.

For details of the requests, see the news release issued by the Brylski Company public-relations firm:

Neighborhoods Outline “Seven Essesntial Items” to Make Noise Ordinance Work for New Orleans

Thirteen neighborhood organization leaders from every corner of the city encouraged the City Council to finish a four-year process to fix the city’s currently flawed noise ordinance.

After numerous meetings and studies, and spurred on by increasing expansion of festivals and unregulated neighborhood clubs, the coalition of neighborhoods say they want to be sure music and culture is protected, and the assault from unregulated, amplified noise is contained.

“A noise regulation system that is fair and functional is actually pro music,” said Coalition Chair Nathan Chapman, a local businessman who 20 years ago moved his residence because of chronic noise problems. “It protects the health and hearing of our musicians and it allows a higher quality, more enjoyable listening experience.”

Taking it upon themselves to organize, the neighborhood organizations agreed on seven essential items to fix the city’s noise ordinance and presented them to the Council leaders.

Neighborhood representatives from the Algiers Presidents Council, the Broadmoor Improvement Association, the Eastern New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission (ENONAC), Esplanade Ridge/Treme Civic Association, Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, French Quarter Citizens, Garden District Association, Lake Vista Property Owners Association, Maple Area Residents Inc., Neighbors First for Bywater, St. Charles Avenue Association, Vieux Carre Property Owners and Residents Association (VCPORA), and Warehouse District Neighborhood Association presented the following action items to Councilmembers Jackie Clarkson, Stacy Head and Kristin G. Palmer, because of their consistent leadership on this issue.


1. Establishments that offer live entertainment must take reasonable measures to assure compliance with the requirements of the noise ordinance. Such measures include, but are not limited to, developing and implementing a sound control program and documenting sound level measurements to be kept on file at the premises.

2. Appoint a full time person who will have the authority and affirmative duty to administer and enforce the ordinances, and who shall have the full backing of NOPD and Health Department, and who shall establish and maintain a publicly accessible (via interactive website) centralized record-keeping system to track complaints, enforcement and compliance efforts.

3. Amend ordinance to clarify that all measurements of sound emanating from private or public property in all zoning districts will be taken at the property line of the source of the sound.

4. In order to impose penalties that will deter repeat offenses for abuse of sound ordinance standards, pass state legislation to allow higher or unlimited fines. In the absence of this legislation, consider other deterrents such as limited operating hours or complete shut down of the offending establishment.

5. Make significant revisions to the Mayoralty permitting process to ensure advance public notification and opportunities for public comment prior to granting a mayoralty permit authorizing a sound-producing land-use to the requesting establishment.

6. (Would pertain only to French Quarter) Return decibel levels in Vieux Carré Commercial (VCC) and Vieux Carré Residential (VCR) districts to the following levels which existed in 1989 in the French Quarter and which still currently exist in the Marigny.
7am-10pm-L1060 Lmax70
10pm-7am-L1055 Lmax60
7am-10pm-L1065 Lmax75
10pm-7am-L1060 Lmax65

7. (Would pertain only to French Quarter) Enforce a maximum of 85 Lmax in the VCE for sound protruding into the public space. This maximum helps ensure that citizens and involuntary listeners won’t be exposed to sound beyond acceptable industrial levels. Also, maintain ambient as the standard in the VCE but use as “db level 10 above ambient noise level, not to exceed Lmax 85 db.”

At the present time, there is no noise control program in the City of New Orleans; noise control and monitoring programs are not funded; the police department, assigned to respond to noise complaints, lacks necessary equipment and training; and the Safety and Permits Department has been reprimanded by the Council for approving illegal live entertainment permits in the name of city revenue, say the neighborhood leaders.

Illegal noise in New Orleans is not a new problem, but it has proliferated since Hurricane Katrina, as unlicensed music venues set up shop in neighborhoods from Marigny to Touro Bouligny, in violation of city zoning ordinances. One police officer ended up in Municipal Court over a citation he issued to a Bourbon Street bar because the he could not hear his police radio due to unregulated noise in New Orleans.

Residents have hired experts to document that there is zero enforcement of the city’s noise ordinance by the police department, few trained officers in noise enforcement outside the Quarter, and worse, no working noise monitors on most nights.

“As New Orleanians, music is part of our DNA. We respect the spontaneity of a secondline and treasure our homegrown musicians. But serious musicians, event organizers and club owners work hard to reward us with wonderful melodies at sensible times with proper volumes, because their talent depends on being able to hear,” said President Val Exnicios, Algiers Neighborhood Presidents Council.

“The City must demonstrate a rigorous responsibility for proper event permitting and noise enforcement, so that our quality of life ordinances are not completely obliterated,” said Carol Allen, VCPORA.

Residents in the Marigny recently fought back in the court system to regain their rights to protect their neighborhoods and homes, and won.

“We’ll all win when the rules are clear, consistent and enforced,” Ms. Allen added.

12 thoughts on “Garden District, Broadmoor, St. Charles Avenue and Maple Street groups support stronger noise ordinance

  1. It seems rather odd that the Brylski Company public-relations firm wrote the press release published on Stuart Smith’s website while the actual neighborhood associations have not been posting very man press releases or statements. VCPORA went so far as to cancel the press planned for conference today.

    Could an Uptown resident direct me to the appropriate contact info for the St. Charles Avenue Association? It’s hard to tell if this association has held a public meeting since it does not seem to have a website.

    Maple Area Residents Inc appears to have a website, but it redirects to a Facebook page that has not been updated for some time.

    Do people who live in these neighborhoods know that these associations have joined the Coalition to support VCPORA’s 7 Point Plan?

    We are currently trying to reach out to residents living in any neighborhoods with organizations that have joined the Coalition because we are curious as to whether the community has had any input in other neighborhoods.


    Bywater Rising.

    • There is no live music allowed on Maple street. But, don’t worry you will hear from MARI soon. They complain about everything when it comes to business on that street. They complained about Drew Brees Jimmy Johns because of its ban on chain restaurants. Brees had to go in front of the city council to get it passed.

  2. Not all neighbourhood organisations would support this…most likely why it’s not been presented to many of us in the first place.

    As worded, this thing’s a nightmare. For one thing, the decibel levels it proposes are absurd. Observe these common comparisons:

    Weakest sound heard

    Whisper Quiet Library at 6′

    Normal conversation at 3′

    Telephone dial tone

    City Traffic (inside car)

    So let’s get this straight: people who have decided to move to New Orleans and buy a place IN the French Quarter, now that they’re hear, expect Bourbon Street and the rest to never exceed the sound level of noise you’d hear INSIDE your car with the windows up and the radio off?? Really people? Move back to your home states. Maybe it’s quieter there.

    “Illegal noise” has not “proliferated since Katrina”, annoying carpetbaggers who want to live in a New Orleans that is of their own design rather than being a part of the city they’ve chosen to move to have proliferated since Katrina. If you don’t like us for what we are, maybe you shouldn’t be here (hint hint).

    This is just yet another example of a very few annoying newcomers trying to rewrite local history and take everything New Orleans out of our city and doing so whilst parading as the voice of the neighbourhoods they’ve invaded.

    Sadly, the city council will likely move on their behalf rather than the overwhelming will of locals who want nothing to do with this nonsense.

    • I too find this “movement” to be extremely obnoxious and find that it is mostly put into motion by newcomers/carpetbaggers. You know, I used to live on Maple Street. When I got older and the noise was too loud (people drinking, not live music), you know what I did? I MOVED AWAY. The Maple Street Neighborhood Association is particularly obnoxious with this movement. People, if you don’t want to be around the live music/noise in places like the FQ and Marigny, then DON’T BUY PROPERTY THERE. You know that’s part of the deal in these neighborhoods… People trying to move into these places and change them need to move out to the suburbs because we don’t want you here trying to reshape Nola into something that suits you.

      • Drew, I saw your post on the wall for Nathan Chapman’s recent article, where you said VCPRO approached your neighborhood association, got the ok from one of its members, then falsely claimed support from the entire NA. You mentioned you had heard the same from other NA’s. I’d love to find out the names of these NA.s, as I intend to somehow expose the fraud that is this so-called neighborhood coalition. It’s one thing to be above water, whatever your goal. It’s another to deliberately mislead the press and the general public in order to further your goal and give yourself a legitimacy you don’t have and don’t deserve. Thanks…

    • Yes, Lenora, there is. MACCNO is doing a great job offering resources/support for musicians, live music venues, etc, and Bywater Rising is focused more on neighborhood association over-reach and the culture of NOLA being stripped away when often the community doesn’t really have a say in the process, or the process happens behind closed doors.

  3. I suspect most of these “groups” have 1-2 members, and quite possibly share membership with the other “groups.” They tend to have facebook pages without any legitimate web presence or contact info. Have any of them even named a real, live spokesperson? I’d encourage them to release a list of their members so we can see just how many people are actually opposed to live music in the city. Unless of course, they prefer to operate under strict secrecy.

  4. somebody really needs to do some research on who these so-called’ neighborhood groups’ ARE. I mean ‘citizens for a better Bywater’?

  5. I think you really hit it on the nose. i’m seeing more and more phantom ‘neighborhood’ ‘grassroots’ organisations spring up who exist ONLY to add legitimacy to somebody’s pet peeve crusade.

  6. The Broadmoor Improvement Association just let me know through a message on their facebook wall that they are NOT in favor of this proposal. Here is their reply to a question I posted on their wall: “Hey Phil, one of our members mistakenly gave their consent to include BIA in this proposal, but our board never voted on it, so we have requested that the BIA endorsement be removed from their materials. Thanks bringing it to our attention.”

    Here is their FB page, my post and their reply is in the ‘comments’ section:

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