New proposal would lift ban on loudspeakers in French Quarter


Posted on June 28, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 28 at 10:21 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- It Is a battle that has been going on for years and once again how to regulate noise in the French Quarter is the topic of discussion among city leaders.

Music has become apart of the experience in the French Quarter. Some love and some hate it, especially those that live near the center of all. 

"The noise can get pretty bad at night, especially when you have an infant," said Kenneth Johnson who just feet from Bourbon Street.

The loud and constant noise has been the center of debate for years. Businesses in entertainment districts simply don't think music of any kind should be prohibited.
"Just enforce the noise ordinance. If you enforce the ordinance you don't need a prohibition on outdoor speakers or don't need a prohibition on anything," argues Chris Young who represent several bars and businesses against the new proposal.
Yet city leaders still think some regulation is needed, which is why they are working on yet another ordinance specifically aimed at outdoor loudspeakers.
"It is very redundant and it is really ridiculous," said Charlie Bateman, vice president of operations at Pat O'Briens.
Right now exterior loudspeakers are prohibited, but the hope is that this new ordinance, which would allow loudspeakers through a permit process, will create a compromise. Still, many businesses do not like the idea.
"There is nothing that will satisfy them, they just do not want an outdoor speaker ordinance," said Young at the most recent public meeting regarding the proposal.
In the newly proposed ordinance, businesses would be allowed to have loudspeakers outdoors if they pay $250 for a permit, with an annual renewal fee of $200.
"It is steep when you couple that with the state licensing and local licensing fees, then it becomes excessive," said Young.
But others say the price of the fee does not bother them as much as where the money will go.
"If there is a permit for businesses to have amplified music in the French Quarter then I think that money should go to the French Quarter," said Bateman. 
The French Quarter Management District has until Monday to get the final draft of the proposed ordinance to city council members, then it will be up to council members to decide.