Councilmembers upset over BUKU fest permitting process

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 4:28 PM

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

NEW ORLEANS -- Inside La Citron Bistro, Owner David Baird says the walls shook as music blared from BUKU Music + Art Project about 1,000 feet away.

The Lower Garden District business says the noise, litter and lack of parking for patrons prompted it to shut its doors over the weekend.

Baird's biggest concern was the safety of staff and patrons.

"There were no policemen down in this area, and the whole area was just filled with hundreds and hundreds of kids unsupervised,” Baird said.

The festival marked its second anniversary inside Mardi Gras World. Booming music could reportedly be heard across town.

“This is an issue I don't think residents should just live with. We all love music. We live here for that very reason,” said Councilwoman Kristin Palmer. “We also live here for decent quality of life.”

Palmer's office continues to field complaints. Palmer said she reached out to the owners on Friday of Mardi Gras World, who she said were uncooperative.

Moving forward, Palmer said, the City Council needs to be part of the permitting process like it is for other events.

“This event did not receive a special events permit,” Palmer said. “No councilmember signed off on this actual event.”

Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell made a personal trip to Mardi Gras World on Friday. Cantrell says the noise appeared to get louder its second night.

“We did on Friday evening get them to pull it in earlier than expected around 11:30 p.m.,” Cantrell said.

"Looking at any permitting for next year, slim to none coming from my office, particularly without an ordinance that sets some points in terms of the decibel level,” Cantrell said.

As BUKU sets its sights on a third year, one neighbor says do it right.

"We'd like to see people succeed in this city. We're not here to close everybody down,” Baird said. “I think the big thing is the fest needs to work with its neighbors and neighboring businesses."

A spokesman with BUKU sent the following statement:

"In only our second year, the BUKU Music + Art Project attracted a sold-out crowd, from all 50 states, to Mardi Gras World for an exciting weekend of music, art and entertainment. In advance consideration of the area's residents, we made sure that the main outdoor stage was shut down each night by 12 a.m. We are aware of noise complaints from residents and apologize for any inconvenience they may have experienced.

"It is the BUKU Music + Art Project's intention to create a dynamic and creative space for musicians, artists and fans while continuing to make a positive economic impact on our community. We are listening to the New Orleans community to do our best to make adjustments for the future."

Video of BUKU fest courtesy Gerald Gruenig

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