As an organization, we are perhaps best known for our January 2014 ‘Save Our Sound’ protest and secondline into City Council chambers to oppose a noise ordinance proposal crafted in secret and introduced under the cover of the holiday season. You can read more about that protest here. The ordinance was written specifically to limit live music, and would have been devastating to the culture of the city. We were successful in getting it withdrawn, but that is just one piece of the story.
New Orleans current noise ordinance—yes, we do actually have one—was originally written in the 1950’s, updated in the early 1980’s, and contains provisions that are both essentially unenforceable and unconstitutional. While we protested a proposal that would have been devastating to live music, small businesses, and other cultural activity, we also support a community led, culturally appropriate updating of the ordinance (the most recent attempt to update a largely Bourbon St specific version of the ordinance, which we supported, failed on a close vote several years ago).
We remain committed to ensuring updates to the noise ordinance follow those we have outlined in our ‘Noise Ordinance For All New Orleanians’. A new ordinance must:
1. Be culturally appropriate and be developed in conjunction with musicians, venue owners, and the traditional cultural community.
2. The unconstitutional 8PM street musicians curfew must be permanently removed.
3. Traditional indigenous practices such as second line parades, jazz funerals, and Mardi Gras/Black Masking Indian rituals must be exempt.
4. Violations to the ordinance should be treated as civil, not criminal, offenses.
We will continue to work for the passage of a workable, culturally appropriate, ordinance.