City Council to vote Thursday on newly drafted sound ordinance

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans City Council is scheduled to a vote on a newly drafted sound ordinance Thursday.

This time around it's been narrowed down mostly to Bourbon Street. However, the proposed legislation is still causing controversy in a process that has been years in the making.

"Narrowing the conversation down to Bourbon Street allowed for a much more specific and productive discussion," said Hannah Kreiger-Benson with the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MACCNO).

Music is what continues to draw tourists and locals alike to the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods.

On Thursday, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a newly revised sound ordinance targeting mainly Bourbon Street.

If passed the proposed ordinance would set lower limits for decibel levels outside bars and clubs on bourbon street and neighboring blocks; decriminalize noise violations by only imposing fines; turn enforcement over to the city's Health Department; and remove time restrictions for street performers citywide.

But, not everyone is on-board.

"I just can't see this ordinance, as proposed, helping anybody but the devil and people in favor of loud noise," said Dr. Brobson Lutz, who wrote a letter to city officials opposing the new draft.

Critics of the newly drafted legislation include VCPORA -- a residents assocation -- and Lutz, who is a former city health director.

Lutz said excessive noise is not only a public health concern. He believes the city's health department is ill-equipped to track down violators.

"It takes the enforcement completely out of the municipal court, completely away from the police department it puts enforcement in the health department which is no longer, I believe, capable of functioning for much of anything," Lutz said.

However, groups like MACCNO who helped draft these latest rules say critics are misinformed. The group says this time around the outcome is beneficial to the entire city.

"They [critics] were on a ship that they weren't steering, so they jumped off of it and they don't like where it's gone. Though it's gone somewhere much better than anything that's come before it in this process," said Kreiger-Benson.

The ordinance is scheduled to go before the City Council on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

 

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