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Decision coming soon on outdoor entertainment ordinance

The city council relaxed zoning during the pandemic that restricted venues from having outdoor entertainment.

NEW ORLEANS — The deadline is approaching for the New Orleans City Council to pass an ordinance that would allow live outdoor performances. 

The City relaxed zoning during the pandemic that restricted venues from having outdoor entertainment. 

When COVID had its grip on New Orleans, giving venues that option became a lifeline.

Local musician, Arsene DeLay, said she has asthma. 

“I’ve been playing for quite some time," DeLay said, "That changed during the pandemic because I have a preexisting condition.”  

DeLay said the safest way for musicians to make money is playing outside. 

That's why the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans wants the option to remain.

"This is music, but it also includes theater, dance, standup comedy, DJs," Ethan Ellestad said, "All those are included and would potentially not be able to be allowed outside as these move forward.” 

However, some want there to be restrictions and enforcement. 

“It wouldn’t just be you have music and you’re doing it outdoors all the time," Ellestad said, "You would have to go through an approval process that would allow people to have input. There would also be cutoff times as well so you couldn’t have music past probably around 10pm.”  

Councilmembers and their staff met with folks in St. Roch on Wednesday afternoon. 

They explained the ordinance will be location and time specific. Meaning, your neighborhood will determine how many days a week and how late outdoor performances could go. 

“Whatever laws you put into place you need to have some enforcement mechanism in place to make sure that everything’s followed," Glade Bilby, President of French Quarter Citizens said. 

People at the meeting seemed to be in agreement entertainment should stay, but it's when and where that's yet to be defined. 

Other French Quarter residents shared their concerns about sound. 

“We want the music, we need the music, and we also need the tourists," Bilby said, "But the residents are the lifeblood of the neighborhood.”  

“They always want to put it like culture versus quality of life, when in actuality, in New Orleans, culture is quality of life," DeLay said. 

The deadline for the council to decide is August 4, but the decision could come as early as next week at the council's regular meeting on July 21. 

The Music and Culture Coalition is hosting its own community meeting to discuss the ordinance Thursday evening from 5:30-7:00 at Zony Mash on South Broad. 

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