City's focus on live music meets resistance at meeting

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 26 at 10:41 PM

Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News
Email: dwoltering@wwltv.com | Twitter: @dwoltering

NEW ORLEANS -- The city's crackdown has silenced live music at Mimi's in the Marigny and at several other clubs, including the Circle Bar and Siberia.

“You got people riled up and pissed off and were not going to take it,” said one speaker.

At a meeting with angry club operators and musicians at Kermit Ruffins' club, the mayor's cultural economy adviser tried to explain the city's position.

‘The government does three things: We permit, we protect and we enforce. That’s what we do,” said Scott Hutcheson, the mayor’s cultural economy adviser.

Hutcheson said the issue involves a zoning permit, not a music permit.

“If you read the code, it means every choir in the church, every store, every athletic event that’s not specifically permitted should also be aggressively enforced,” he said.

Why, some asked, has the city attacked live music clubs with a crackdown before giving them a fast process to comply with the law?

“On the one hand you are promoting the culture to the world in order to beef up our economy, and other hand you are punishing culture bearers,” said one speaker. “That is insanity.”

“We have been talking about a grace period a moratorium for the live entertainment permit,” Hutcheson said.

He said the city's coming out with a guide to defining zoning issues and solutions.

 

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